Almost every interview to the latest maverick or young business prodigy is likely to include a statement about loving books or knowledge. As parents, it’s hard to ignore how much easier it is for children who actually enjoy reading to excel academically. From consistently better grades to wider vocabularies and an easier time communicating and empathizing with others, a good reading habit has a lifelong positive impact on kids.
However, when it comes to children, getting them to love a new activity is rarely simple. Their experiences while first learning to read, as well as their parents’ attitude towards reading, will be crucial. If you want to give your child a gentle nudge on the bookworm’s path, consider the following strategies.
Positive Feedback Is Best
Children are very prone to imprinting, so it’s important to make their early encounters with the world of books as positive as possible. This is a process that starts before even learning to read: the habit of reading stories aloud to them should be perceived as a fun time of bonding, rather than a demand they make to postpone bedtime.
A good way to make reading pleasant is to avoid early frustration. Keep books that fit their reading and developmental level around, and try to upgrade them as soon as possible. This will keep them from becoming discouraged from a story that’s just too complex for their stage, and will also prevent boredom from books that just don’t interest them or are have grown too simple for them.
Teach by Example First
Children always go through a stage in which they want to rebel against their parents and their habits. Fortunately, this will most likely happen many years after first grade. At the age in which they are tasked with learning to read, children are much more open to emulating their parents whenever possible. The more they see you read for fun, the more likely they will be to think of reading as a fun grown up activity.
Bring The Knowledge to Their World
A common problem in instilling a reading habit for highly-active kids is managing to capture their attention for long enough to become engrossed in the story. This is extra hard for kinesthetic learners, who need to do stuff rather than hear about it or see it.
You can help make reading interesting by showing how books can help you do things better. Find books about traveling before a family vacation, or look for a story where the main character enjoys the same kind of hobby—be it pets, building Lego models, or playing dress up.
Research Any Underlying Problems
As hard as you try at home, getting your child to enjoy reading may be impossible if there is a deeper issue at hand. From dyslexia to a mortifying experience reading at school, there are many reading problems that can develop outside the home and that may be beyond your scope. In such cases, acting fast is key to ensure the child is not left with a lifelong distaste for books; from tutoring to special classes, there are many ways to overcome reading problems.
If you need an extra hand in developing your child’s reading skills, contact Read Smart learning today and ask for a free reading evaluation.