A child starts learning as early as 6 months old. They learn through all their senses, such as touch, feel, and sound. The sounds around them, the blanket they are on, the voices of their parents, and so on. Their curiosity begins to unfold and how!
This is where the parents play a crucial role by introducing the concepts to develop their babies’ skills in their initial formative years. Things like colors, pictures, words, textures, characters, illustrations, and numbers, and the one-stop solution that covers them all are BOOKS!
Reading sparks creativity, curiosity, and language skills in young children. Parents such as you are looking for ways to inculcate the habit of reading books in their kids as it improves a child’s focus, memory, empathy, and communication skills. Knowing the innumerable benefits of reading, it is only reasonable that parents introduce their kids to books as early as possible, rather than getting them to watch videos for engagement and convenience.
But sadly, in today’s generation, kids prefer to watch television or play video games rather than read a book, and even parents sometimes fall behind in encouraging their kids to read. Helping a child develop reading skills can be a tough task but it isn’t an impossible one if we try the right techniques.
1. Start Early
Reading books to babies from an early stage is very important when you want to get them into reading. You can start with books with big images like animals, birds, and alphabets, High Contrast Cards for good visual stimulation for the kid and you can start the bedtime stories for your child from an early age like when they are 1 year old.
You can choose from cloth books, bath books, sensory books, or even musical ones for them to understand new textures and sounds. This is going to lay a strong foundation for their love for books and also their interest to refer to books to learn anything new.
2. Read for them
Until the kids start reading by themselves, read for kids every day and make it a ritual. You can include reading time in your daily routine as they become comfortable and accept reading in daily life.
To keep the child interested in the story, read with expressions. Putting voice modulations, and changing the tone according to the situation would keep the kid intrigued by the story and it is a fun way to engage kids.
Usually anytime is good for reading, but bedtime would be ideal. Reading stories just before sleeping can, later on, be converted into a routine and this is highly beneficial for the kid to develop cognitive and social skills.
3. Create a reading corner at home
A child that grows around a wide variety of books learns to love reading. Setting up a designated space for reading is going to make a huge difference.
Fill this space with books for you and your child. You can even get bookshelves at an accessible height for your child to be able to pick up a book when they feel like it. It also helps your child develop independent reading. This can be a calm environment where both kids and adults can sit together and make it a family activity. You can keep the décor subtle and less stimulating for this area and later this can turn out to be their comfort space. Schedule a regular time for reading and slowly make it a routine.
4. Choose the right books
Choosing the right books for your kids has to be done consciously as books are not just for engagement, they have to be easy to understand and fun. Picture books for toddlers, short stories for younger kids, adventure or mystery stories for older kids, and so on. Age-appropriate books are designed for a child’s growth and will also help you in the journey of developing the reading habit in your kid.
Keep updating your kid’s bookshelf with new collections and mixed genres. Let them get a variety of options like books on science, transport, travel, and history. Keep a separate section for newspapers, magazines, comics and audio books too.
Some of our favorite book recommendations for infants are Goodnight Moon and books from the Peekaboo book range.
Pro tip: Go for sturdy board books, so that they can endure as your baby learns how to handle a book.
5. Practice what you preach
Kids learn the most from what they see and listen to. They are going to copy all the mannerisms they see and if you want to inculcate the habit of reading in your kid, start reading them yourselves. Read every day, like a newspaper, magazine, or even a comic book. Be the best role model for them and let them know that you love books and learning new things through books.
Showing them your interest in reading has the power to get a reluctant reader to pursue reading. Make books part of your everyday life.
Though we rely the maximum on mobile phones for knowledge nowadays, we should be mindful enough to not overdo it, especially in front of our kids.
Books are the backbone for development and growth in children and getting the healthy habit of reading is going to make them self-reliable, creative, and innovative. Make reading habit a day-to-day ritual in your life. Get them easy access to books. Rent books from the library, take subscriptions for informative magazines, and comics, or just borrow books from friends.
Reading experience is a great practice for the growth of a child and as parents, we need to make sure that they get all the exposure that is essential.