A few days back, I wrote a post on How I select books for my kid.
CLICK HERE to read the post.
I got a few messages saying my kid won’t read any books. He/She says I don’t want to hear any story or says I am too tired to read a book. One exhausted parent said one of my kids loves reading and another kid gives excuses. This message made me write this post. Does your kid give the same excuse? If yes, read on to find out how you can raise a reader, too.
We can categorize it into two levels. Babies and Toddlers/Preschoolers.
Babies: You may think reading is for babies? Well, yes, reading is for all humans and it’s their right to read.
Have we ever thought about getting books for a newborn baby? When a baby is born, we get a lot of things for the baby. Be it toys or dresses or diapers or anything special for the baby. Along with the list, try including books as well. Books are a necessity for the baby. Start reading to them from the day you bring them home. Make that a part of the routine. They soon start getting familiarized with the sound of you, and they respond soon.
I remember getting books for Nathan when he was three months and displaying them in front of him. His concentration will amaze me. I read to him aloud and he responded to me very well. We read together as fun and not as a chore.
Research says the number of words a baby is exposed to has a direct impact on language development. So try to read a book daily. If you don’t have a book, you tell a story to your kid. If you want to give a sensory touch along with a story use DIY props for it.
HOW TO READ?
While reading to them, have them in your lap and have eye contact with them. They will smile and respond beautifully when we bring a book to read. After a few months, they make noise as a response to our voices. Don’t stress up if they don’t enjoy the story-time and they chew the books. They will eventually fall in love with them and wait for us to always read.
Around eight months, Nathan loved to lift the flap books and Elmer the Elephant was his favourite book. He makes noises and even points to the animals.
CHOOSE RHYMING BOOKS:
Don’t we all sing a lullaby for our kids? Just like those stories with rhyming words that capture their attention. There are a lot of interactive rhyme books available and we can sing it as a rhyme or read it in a funny way to make it more fun.
TYPES OF BOOKS:
There are books for each month of their growth. For the first three months, read books filled with patterns in black-and-white images. Then slowly introduce touch-and-feel books, lift the flap books, sound books and books with different textures. Usborne books are, best for this age and they have a wide variety of options.
Children are made readers, on the lap of the parent. So read as much as you can when they are a baby. Make it a fun time for the entire family.
You may wonder, my kid is not a baby. He/She crossed that age and now I want to make them a reader. I have a few tips for them, too.
TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS:
Reading to toddlers helps to develop their literacy levels. They talk and a lot of development happens and they also become social and they get to know the surrounding environment. Preschoolers would start talking a lot by now, and they would have a sequential memory to tell things happening around them.
So how can we raise them as readers?
SET A ROUTINE:
Toddlers and preschoolers love routine. Make a routine for reading. Some may prefer to read before bedtime. Some like to read during library time. Some read at any random part of the day. Nathan loves his bedtime reading a lot, and that’s his routine.
DO AN ACTIVITY:
A lot of literacy or bookish activities we can do while reading a book. We can paint the character or create props for the story. This makes kids enjoy their story time. There are lots of printables on the internet. Based on each theme and each story’s character, you can take a print or do your own DIY printable to make it more fun.
READ INTERACTIVE BOOKS:
There are a huge number of interactive board books available in the market. These books pave the way for two-party communication and make reading a fun-filled one. Pull the tab books, sound books, moving parts books lift the flap books are a few options. A few interactive books Nathan loves are Campbell books, Tap the Magic Tree, From Head to Toe by Eric Carle, and Usborne; that’s not my series. These books are also perfect for developing fine motor skills and also their pincer grip. For preschoolers, sticker books are perfect for developing a pincer grip.
ACCESS TO BOOKS:
Surround your house with books. Have it in the bedroom hall, in their play area or even in the car. Have a low-level shelf for their reach. They should be able to pick books according to their choice and bring them to us for reading. Sometimes low-level bookshelves act as an invitation to read, and they may surprise us by changing the pages themselves. Have the main bookshelf anywhere and rotate the books on the small shelf. You can rotate once a week or once a month based on their preference.
PICK BOOKS BASED ON THEIR INTEREST:
Never force your interest in kids. All kids will not like books, which are termed classics or best-sellers. When the kids become more vocal, we know their interests. Some kids love animals. Some love birds. Some love water animals, and some love space. Choose a theme for each week and rotate books based on that. Nathan loves non-fiction books and bright-picture books. Sometimes for a month, we read non-fiction books instead of picture books.
BOOKS AS GIFTS:
When it’s their birthday or any festival gifts we mostly choose are toys. Try getting books for one occasion and see how they react. They may start acknowledging that we will get books also as a gift, and that’s a win-win for us.
NARRATE YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AS A STORY:
Sometimes they may find it difficult to read the same story repeatedly. They give excuses and run away. In that case, we can narrate any random experience we faced related to the story we are reading. This increases their attention and they can start listening. Nathan loves to hear random stories. He loves to hear any incident which happened on a particular day as a story. Sometimes he asks me, can you say the story of me getting an injection or we visiting an aquarium. I consider these small incidents as a story for them. You can even talk to them randomly, saying, “come we can read the book we got that day or the weather is exceptional would you like to hear a story”
BE A READER YOURSELF:
We often forget an important trait: children see what we do and they repeat the same. If we pick the gadgets more or have more screen time, they follow the same pattern. There’s a time limit for everything. Few minutes a day for reading, and a few minutes for television. When we are readers ourselves, they surely follow us and become one ourselves.
Have you noticed kids love to hear us talk in animated voices? Modulation plays an interesting role in storytime. The usage of different voices and expressions makes even a simple story more fun. Have different props while you’re reading and you could even ask them, what’s this bunny doing and you could hear them narrating the entire story.
LESSEN THE SCREEN TIME:
Screen time is not wrong, but when it goes on for hours and hours it hinders their development and their routine. You can make their screen time more informative by playing any documentary or storybook video.
DON’T GIVE UP:
There’s a time for everything to happen, and not everyone can become a reader in a night. Encourage them to read positively and talk to them about story time often. If you have access to the library, take them often and join their story time. We are in a time of epidemics and lots of stories are happening across different social media. Check them out and make storytime a joyful experience.
Love to hear your views on raising a reader. Drop your comments below.
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