Digital entertainment rules today, but reading books still retains its glory and benefits that are unassailable. Fostering a love for reading in children is one of the best gifts we can give as parents to our kids.
Why foster a love for reading in children?
There are numerous benefits of reading for children. Here are the top ones:
Reading books produces chemicals in the brain that are associated with pleasure and reward. It helps in the positive development of the brain.
Reading allows children to slow down, think deeply, reflect, and understand things from various perspectives, which is not possible through digital media.
Reading books helps children to process the information effectively and gain retention power. Since there are no distractions in books like those on websites, children’s concentration power strengthens, enabling them to process information more effectively.
Here are 10 ways to foster a love for reading in children:
Start developing reading habits early – Even before your child learns to read or hold a book, start reading to them every day so that they develop an emotional connection with books. Additionally, parental reading to children aged 4-5 increases their cognitive ability and visual power. So, the age-old tradition of bedtime reading is a great way to foster a love for reading in children.
Make it a daily routine – As the child grows, set a daily bedtime routine for them to hold a book in hand and read. Start with a shorter reading time of 15 minutes and let it extend when the child naturally develops the habit of bedtime reading. Though every kid might not enjoy the reading habit every night, staying firm and persistent will gradually help in fostering a love for reading in the long run.
Make reading an interactive session – It’s not enough to simply leave the kids alone with books. To foster a lifelong love for reading books, make it an interesting and interactive session for the young ones. Read with them and ask questions like what’s the moral of the story or what they would do if they were certain characters in the book. This two-way interaction will help kids critically analyse and take their interest in reading to the next level.
Participate in library programmes – If there are libraries in your city that hold reading programmes or storytelling sessions, do take your kids to attend such sessions. When they observe other kids reading, their interest in books grows and strengthens over time.
Participate in book exchange programmes – Encourage kids to be part of existing book exchange programmes at school or in the neighbourhood. Alternatively, you can form such a group with other interested parents who want to encourage a love for reading among kids.
Take kids for bookstore visits – Whether kids love books or not, they love the idea of visiting a bookshop. Try to take your kids regularly to bookstores and help them pick their interesting genre.
Create a reading corner – Making a reading corner at home with a bookshelf, table, and chair reinforces the importance of reading. If parents use this reading corner every day to read books, children are bound to follow the pattern in the long run.
Discuss books during family conversations – Talking about books that you or your kids are reading or have recently read fosters a healthy and fruitful discussion, along with strengthening children’s interest in reading and delving deeper into books.
Reward kids with books – ‘Books are the best gift,’ and that is indeed true. So, rather than rewarding your kids always with toys and clothes, choose to offer books. Make them work towards getting special and long-awaited books in the form of rewards or presents.
Allow children to choose what they want to read – All kids might not have similar interests. So, give them the flexibility to choose what genre they desire to read. Some might like classics, while others like sci-fi. To foster a love for reading among kids, they must enjoy what they read.
With these tips at hand, parents can foster a love for reading in children over time and equip them with better imagination, visualisation, articulation, expressiveness, and strong language skills. Kids who grow up with good reading habits turn out to be smarter and successful in life!