Motivating Children To Read
Living is a life-long learning, and reading – is the best teacher. Together with reading, it is important to maintain the quality of what children are reading.
In the course of an average day we are bombarded with so much information which we read – bills, labels, tags, instructions, coupons, menus etc. However, these don’t amount to learning. Hence reading as an activity must be defined primarily by what can be gained by it, and that is also its purpose. For our children to live well, they must become a life-long learner. The habit of reading must therefore be consciously cultivated as early as possible.
Here are a few ways you can motivate your children to read:
- Set the example - A parent who does not read can never make his child read. And the opposite, it true as well. Children do what the parents do. The starting point therefore has to be you.
- Familiarize – The best way to initiate children to books is by introducing to the author, like one introduces a friend. Speak with children about the author’s life and how he came to write the book. It not just heightens the interest; it makes the child familiar to the setting of the book as well.
- Organize related activities – Depending on what your child is most perceptive of, and interested in, you can plan an activity around the central theme of the book or some event featuring in it. This helps the child to experience the idea. For example, painting the garden fence or old furniture along with reading Tom Sawyer (which has a famous fence painting sequence) is simple and fun.
- Make a trip – If your children read history, take them on a trip to historical monuments. Seeing and experiencing the description of the book is a memory of a lifetime. You can see the difference in their attitude towards the subject as well. If there is a science museum or planetarium or botanical garden in your city, try to combine the trip with what they read.
- Enact and relive – A good way to cultivate love for reading and literature is to make an attempt to adapt the story into a play and perform it. Your child will surely enjoy watching the story come alive. Involve the neighborhood children or your child’s friends if possible.
- Let books replace toys – It may sound a little ‘disciplining’ to do so, but here is the fundamental question – why should books not be seen as a source of enjoyment as toys are? When you travel, instead of toys, carry a book. When your child’s friend comes to play, let them share the joy of reading a book.
- Let your child choose – Take the child to buy a book for himself. It is equally important to allow your child to develop his own taste of reading. Supervise, but try not to stifle the child’s interest.
- Create the atmosphere – If you want your child to read, try to give him an environment where reading can be comfortable – by turning down the television, taking the telephonic conversation to the other room. Many children feel sleepy while reading. Make sure they have comfortable seating and adequate light. Never allow the child to read in poor posture or dim light.
- Visit the library – When a child sees people reading sincerely and also how deeply engrossing the activity is, his inclination to read will surely come about. After all, we all learn what we see. Libraries often have interesting activities and workshop for children during vacations which further inculcates the reading habit.
- Teach reading other than English – Always strive to introduce the child to reading in the mother-tongue and your regional language. With each generation the number of readers of English surely increases; but reading Hindi and other regional language is on a sharp and sad decline. Each language is a rich legacy of culture and wisdom which can be learnt only by reading in that language.
Tags: books for children, children and reading, children books, kids reading, reading and children, reading for children, reading habits, reading motivation, reading skills, reading with children, teaching reading, the children
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