Experts assert that children develop the skills they need to be good readers starting at birth and throughout infancy. Between ages 3 and 5 is an essential time for your children to develop the skills they need to be good readers, and many parents look for ways to make the most of their time reading.
Not only is reading great for your child’s intellectual pursuits, but it is also proven to be beneficial for the family as a whole. As your child begins to learn new words, you can supplement their vocabulary with reading activities to further enhance their mental capabilities and get them prepared for school. Keep reading to find out some top tips for helping your child develop a lifelong love of reading.
Make Reading a Priority
One of the easiest ways to help your child get acquainted with reading and actually enjoy it is to make reading a priority.
Set aside some time to read with your child each day. Reading time can be just before bed or during a break in the day. Avoid trying to cram too many activities into an already tight schedule, as this can make reading seem like a tedious effort versus an enjoyable pressure-free pursuit.
Always be sure to dedicate a specific time to reading aloud to your child, and look for books that have a combination of interesting and colorful illustrations along with engaging stories that speak to your child’s interests. As your child enters school, continue reading aloud with your child to help them develop a broader vocabulary and improve their storytelling ability.
Make It Fun
One of the easiest ways to help kids get excited about reading is to make it fun. Reading is not all about structure, but rather finding opportunities to make reading exciting. For example, children riding in the car can develop better reading habits when parents encourage them to read road signs or map directions along the way. At home, children can help out in the kitchen by reading recipes during meal prep.
Making reading fun is not only a way to keep children engaged, but it also helps them understand that reading is literally a part of every facet of life. It is also been proven that children who enjoy an activity will perform this activity more confidently. This is particularly helpful for children entering school, as they will often be asked to read aloud in front of their classmates. Kids who have extensive experience with reading before they get to kindergarten are surer of themselves and less likely to see reading as a chore, viewing it as an exciting activity that opens up a world of possibilities.
Involve the Entire Family
Another way to get children excited about reading is to get the entire family involved. If you have a family with older children, ask them to assist in helping younger kids get excited about reading. This collaboration between older and younger children will not only further develop the younger child’s reading confidence, but it will also foster stronger sibling bonds.
To bridge the gap between adults and kids, choose books that were also made into movies and read them together. Read a book that was turned into a movie, and then hold a family movie night where the child can compare the story in the book to the story told on screen. Tying a written work to something on the big screen is a great way to help children make the connection and become more interested in reading books to see how the stories differ.
Base Reading Choices on Your Child’s Interests
It may go without saying that most people tend to do things that speak to their interests—this is no different for children. Always think about the things that your child is interested in and look for titles based on these interests. Even for the child who is reluctant to read, books that are about things that they love will motivate them to read more regularly. If children don’t feel like reading is a chore, they will be more likely to do it. Feel free to ask questions as you read aloud to help your child develop critical thinking skills, and be sure to focus more on the story versus exact pronunciations
Mix It up
Keeping it interesting is another way to get kids interested in reading. Though many children favor fictional works, don’t be afraid to add other genres into the mix. Consider biographies, cookbooks, or even informational works to get your child interested in reading.
Audiobooks are a great idea as well, as they are perfect for road trips or during your daily commute. In particular, audiobooks give kids a way to understand how to enunciate words and express emotions through written words. Libraries typically offer audio versions of popular children’s books, so be sure to check them out on your next trip there.
Lead by Example
Children often take cues from the adults around them, and their greatest example is their parents and caregivers. If you are an avid reader, it is likely that your child will also develop a love for reading as well. Go beyond letting them see you read a book and explain what type of book you’re reading or relate what you are reading to books that you have read with your children. Showing your children how important reading is to you will encourage them to feel the same.