Tips for Raising Confident Readers
Start early, even infants love exploring bright colorful pages of touch and feel books. It is never too early to introduce your child to books. (And never too late either! Start now, if you haven’t already)
Read aloud, often. Repetition helps children to learn and grasp new words. Even if your child makes you read the same book seven times a day, don’t get discouraged. This is their way of bonding with you and enjoying the concept of books.
Add context to what you read. Children’s imaginations develop when you leave them with open-ended questions. “Where do you think the boy was coming from?” or “Isn’t this a nice room, what would you like your toy room to be like?”
Be enthusiastic. Don’t just read the lines in a book dryly. Make rhymes, songs, actions. See how your child is reacting and talk to them about what they have read.
Upgrade your book list as your child grows up. He may love the Gruffalo as a 2-year-old, but will certainly need more challenging reading as he turns 4.
Keep books handy. The more books you have accessible to kids, the more likely they are to read. Age appropriate books in the house, on accessible shelves for the little ones encourages them to read more.
Have your child read to you. Reading in front of a classroom can be stressful, so help them by doing practice runs at home. If you have older children, encourage them to read to siblings.
Make a daily habit of reading. Whether it is around meal times, or bed time, or a specific time of the day, get your child to associate some specific period of the day as “reading time.”
Don’t quiz them on the books they read. While occasional questions are ok, don’t make them feel like they have to answer a lot of questions when they’re done. Reading has to be associated with fun.
Celebrate the printed word. In your daily conversations with your child, try and bring in elements of books you’ve read. “See how that fish is swimming just like the one in that book we read”. This reinforces the importance of books as a way to understand the world around them.
Find reading opportunities. Words are everywhere, from roadside hoardings to restaurant menus. Encourage your child to read wherever you go so they can get a better command over words.
Mix up their reading material. Don’t limit the types of books they read to the types of books you like. Let them explore and pick out their own books. The wider the variety they are exposed to, the more likely they are to find something they love.
Encourage book-gifts. Tell your friends and family the list of books that your child wants and let them buy these instead of toys and clothes. A gifted book tends to be cherished more and is more likely to be read with joy.
Don’t push for independent reading too early. Every child has their own age when they can start to read independently. And even once they reach that stage, don’t take away the comfort of reading to them once in a while.
Check with their teachers. This will help you understand your child’s reading habits better. But don’t get nervous if your child is at a different level than her peers.
And last, but not the least, lead by example. If your child sees you in front of a screen every free minute you get, then they’re less likely to think of reading as a recreational activity. Read physical books in front of them and let them see it as a pleasurable activity. They’re sure to grow up loving the world of books.
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