Q: How can I establish an everyday reading routine with my child?
Establishing an everyday reading routine with your child is just like asking the child to make his bed everyday, as soon as he gets up. For him to take you seriously, you have to lead by example. You can’t just tell him to read if he rarely sees you reading. You don’t have to read an encyclopaedia everyday but you can read brief articles in magazines, newspapers or leaf through your recipe book in search of what to have for dinner. You can even read on your iPad.
For parents with toddlers, picture books can trigger their reading inclinations. Interact with your child and ask her what the book is about from the pictures. Use any topic she brings up as a springboard for further conversation. This way, you not only encourage a reading habit in your child but you also improve her ability to articulate what she sees and understands. It allows you to spend quality time with your child and promote openness.
It also helps to have reading materials around your house. You may stack magazines in your living room, recipe books in your kitchen or create a section for a mini library within your home. The library should have reference books, novels, digests and of course, books that your child can read or look at. Some online organizations also offer free ebooks - Project Gutenberg.
If you don’t have many books or reading materials and your budget prevents you from buying any, your local library is your best option. You can bring a visit to the library up as a weekend treat that your child can look forward to. Aside from serving as pure libraries, they also function as Learning Centres. Young ones can stay in the corners or lounges and pore through their chosen reading materials. There could even be a story-telling time that encourages children to choose books on any subject they are interested in – like animals, robots, fruits, vegetables, locomotives, etc.
More importantly, make sure that your children do not watch TV unless they have spent some time during the day reading. In no time, reading will have become a daily habit for them.
In summary, practise these:
- Create a reading area to encourage reading in the home.
- Set a time for everyone to read a book if the kids are old enough to read on their own. If your kids are still young, read to them for at least 15 minutes everyday so that they can get used to it.
- For younger kids, make reading time fun and use different voices for the characters in the books so that it’s fun for them.
- After each reading session, talk about what you’ve read and discuss the lessons learnt.
- Teach your child through rhymes, poems and songs so that they can start appreciating the importance of spoken and written words.
- Ensure that there are lots of reading materials around the house that the children can pick up and read on the go.
- Take your kids to the library so they can pick up books that interest them.
- Give your children genuine praise for their efforts when they are making progress. This will encourage them to show more interest in reading and do better as a result.
Reading with children can help to improve their vocabulary very quickly while giving parents the opportunity to bond with them. Children who learn to read early also learn better when they are much older.
"Little Girl Reading Book" by David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net