Before I get into today’s main topic and talk to you about how to build a reading habit in children, I’ll tell you a rather enlightening anecdote in this regard. I have bought a great book. A great, great book. Pure literature. The kind of book you don’t understand a word. But it looks cool under my arm: the book cover matches my shoes.
The other day I was in a waiting room with my daughter Maria. I was pretending to read this great book, while she was browsing through a storybook and practicing her new reading skills. Suddenly, a mother sitting next to me – whose son was abducted by a tablet – looked up from her cell phone and asked me, “How do you get your daughter to read? With a perplexed and sarcastic comment, I pointed to the great book and whispered, “Oh, that’s why I read to the greatest authors. They can tell.” There is no need to tell how the conversation went: the only thing I’ll say is that that lady left the waiting room very grateful and with my great book under her arm. Aha!
How to build a reading habit in children, should not be a difficult question to answer because it is not different from any other habit. The thing is that, in this case, many parents find it hard to lead by example. In homes where the presence of books is merely anecdotal or limited to a handful of dusty volumes that are used to fix a wobbly table, it is not the ideal setting to awaken children’s interest in reading. Reading benefits in children are so many that it is worth the effort to awaken their interest in books!
Building Children’s Reading Habit, the Ultimate Index
- Prologue: Preach by example. Children learn from what they see in their environment and, moreover, copy their parents in everything. It is very important that they perceive that books are always present, that they are part of our everyday life and not just part of the set. Many parents read at night when the child is already asleep and cannot see it. It would be good to change the chip and dedicate some time of the weekend to reading as a family.
- Chapter one: Get them familiar with books from the beginning. It helps to offer children storybooks from the moment they are babies for them to touch and to look at. There are specific stories designed to stimulate senses such as sight, touch, or even hearing through sound. There are also great interactive children’s titles that bring children closer to reading through play. How can you build a reading habit in children? By making books part of their lives from the very beginning.
- Chapter two: Read to them. Before a child is able to read on his or her own with proper understanding, it is very important to read stories to them every day so that they begin to realize the wonderful adventures that books hide. Before bedtime is the ideal time because we can easily incorporate it into the daily routine and it also helps them to sleep.
- Chapter three: Create a library for them. In the age of the hyper-gifted child, the best idea is to buy storybooks, storybooks, and storybooks. Buy a shelf and fill it with storybooks. They don’t necessarily have to be new; you can get lots of books through friends or at thrift stores. The important thing is that the library grows and the child sees a little treasure in it. It is a good idea to leave new titles periodically on a small table within reach so that the child can discover them for him or herself and find pleasure in the surprise.
- Chapter five: Take them to the library. It’s a great, free plan for those looong winter days. The children’s room in many libraries is usually a pleasant space and a place to discover new stories. The idea of borrowing is usually very popular, so take advantage of it.
- Chapter six: Let them choose. You should always pay attention to the recommended reading age of the books, to avoid them being too big or too small, but if the child asks you, let him/her decide what he/she wants to read. How can you build a reading habit in children? By giving them freedom.
- Chapter seven: Never force them to read. If we make the child associate reading with an obligation, reading will be torture for them and they will reject it for the rest of their life. Make sure that in school they are not forced to read titles that are too harsh for their age (as long as you can and with respect for the teachers).
- Chapter eight: Encourage them to read anything. When children learn to read, they are eager to demonstrate their new skills at all times, whether it’s the IKEA catalog or the ingredients in a juice box. This practice will prepare them for longer and leisurely readings.
Epilogue: Offer them stimulating storybooks. Their ability to be surprised will play an important role in their interest in reading, so make time to look in bookstores for stories that are really cool, which are both playful and educational, and that offer an added incentive to reading. For example, Mumablue’s personalized books are a great idea, because the child recognizes him or herself in them and becomes the main character in the story, with his/her name and his/her physical appearance.
After these illustrated tips on how to build a reading habit in children, I’m sure many of you will make your little ones into real book experts. And now I have to leave you, I have bought another great book from the same indecipherable author… and I feel like falling asleep before reading it! You’ll think I’m crazy, but at this point in motherhood, the only thing that matches the shoes is the cover of a book by a very good author.
I’m a mother, but I know how to disguise the mess my style has become under a very hipster bohemian look. And that’s it.