Encouraging a Love of Reading in Children
Instilling a love of reading in your child from an early age is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Not only does reading foster language development, creativity, and critical thinking skills, but it also opens doors to new worlds and endless possibilities.
Here are some tips and strategies to foster a love of reading in your children:
Make reading a part of your daily routine
Establishing a predictable reading routine helps create a sense of stability for your little one.
Set aside dedicated reading time daily and make it a special part of your daily routine.
Consider reading together before bedtime, nap time or during some quiet times.
Create a cosy reading corner at home for you and your child to enjoy books together and have easy access to them independently.
Surround them with books
Create an environment that encourages reading by making books accessible and visible throughout your home.
Set up a bookshelf in your child's room with various books suitable for their age.
Choose a comfortable spot, and add a bean bag, pillows or cushions. Keep books in baskets and set them up on your little one's reach to encourage independence.
Setting up a cosy reading corner in your home can help create a positive association with reading.
Be an excited reading role model
Children often mirror their parents and carers' behaviour, so let your love for reading shine through.
Be an enthusiastic reading role model by showcasing your passion for books. When reading, add gestures, expressions and fun sounds, describe the pictures and ask open questions to engage your little one's thinking skills.
Let your child see you reading for leisure; share stories about the stories you love and those you loved as a child!
This shared experience will enhance their enjoyment of literature.
Engage multiple senses
Engaging multiple senses during reading can make the experience more memorable and enjoyable for children.
Use different materials to engage their creativity and imagination. Add sensory materials to bring the story to life; for example, you could try crinkling foil or paper to represent the rain, patting for footsteps, and knocking something for a knock on the door.
Get some puppets to go along with the story. Or the puppet can tell the tale!
Use funny voices for characters and sing songs.
Encourage your little one to turn the pages and to touch and feel textures in sensory books.
Introduce books with flaps and different sensory additions.
Connect books to real-life experiences
By linking stories to everyday experiences, you can make reading more relatable and engaging for your child. Choose books with characters experiencing similar situations as your child. After reading:
Discuss the story.
Give examples of when those situations happen in real life and relate them to their own experiences.
Describe moments in your life when you went through something similar and talk about how you felt to encourage your little one to talk about their emotions.
Encourage creative expression
Reading sparks creativity, so foster your child's imagination by providing opportunities to express their thoughts and feelings about the books they read.
Encourage them to draw a picture inspired by a story, whether a character, object, landscape or scene. Set up an area with paper and mark-making, drawing materials, and place some favourite stories for your little one to get inspired by.
Provide them with storytelling props such as puppets, animals, stuffed toys etc., to act out favourite parts or to tell the story with you.
Act out scenes or even narrate their own stories.
Use technology to your advantage
While technology can be a distraction, it can also be used to encourage reading.
Use interactive e-books, audiobooks, or apps that can make reading fun and engaging.
Visit your local library
A trip to the library can be a great way to encourage reading in your child.
Get your child a library card so they can have their own "important card" and make weekly trips to the library.
Let your child be in charge of checking out books with your support.
Let your little ones choose their books and allow them to explore their interests.
Check with your local library; some libraries run storytelling, story and singing sessions, which help make reading fun and engaging.
Take reading outside
Reading outside creates a more enjoyable learning experience for your child. Not only encouraging a love for reading but also nurturing their curiosity and sense of wonder.
Take a blanket and some favourite stories to your garden, balcony, or the park.
Being outdoors offers fresh air and natural light, making it a healthier alternative to sitting indoors. Additionally, being in nature helps reduce stress and promotes relaxation, improving concentration and focus on your little one.
Outdoor reading allows for exploration, as children can discover new sights, sounds, and textures while engaging with their books, getting inspired by the surroundings and asking questions, supporting their language skills and building on their vocabulary.
Mix it up
Encourage your little one to read different reading materials such as picture books, comics, magazines and chapter books. Let them choose what they would like to read, as it can help them to feel more involved in the reading process.
Some children take longer to develop an interest in reading than others.
By making reading a cherished part of daily life, providing a stimulating environment, and nurturing their creativity, you can help them embark on a lovely literary journey.
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