Guest post by Sam Evans, edited by Jeff Campbell
Forget Baby Einstein.
Research shows that reading to children and discussing the book as you read may be the single most important way to improve your baby’s IQ and instill a love of reading.
Does your child read each night, not because it’s assigned, but simply for fun?
School performance correlates more directly with children’s reading scores than any other single indicator. Children who elect to read independently become better readers score higher on achievement tests in all subject areas, while having broader content knowledge compared to those who don’t.
Most parents buy board books for their babies and say they hope they’re going to love reading. And yet, by middle school, most kids stop reading books that aren’t assigned in school.
In the united states, an alarming 65 percent of fourth graders in public schools were at a reading level below the proficient level in 2015 (Study by Annie E. Casey Foundation).
What are the results?
The practice of reading gets ingrained in childhood. Our kids love leafing through books as toddlers, taking a look at the pictures. They might even enjoy reading as early elementary schoolers. But reading books takes time and effort, and life offers so many other techniques to entertain themselves that early reading often seems a lot more like work than play.
How Do You Inspire A Lasting Love of Reading?
1. Read to Your Baby From the Beginning
And not only at bedtime.
Buy board books and cloth books as a number of your kid’s first toys. Carry them around with snacks in the diaper bag.
Create “cozy time,” a ritual of connection where you both associate love and cuddling with reading. Any moment either of you needs some slack, grab a book and read to your youngster. During lunch, after school, as you have your coffee on Sunday, any moment is a great time. Sam from Moving Babies, suggests popping a couple of books in their stroller when you go out for a walk.
2. Begin Going to The Library Regularly
By the time your child is two, they may well prefer reading to any other activity. Utilize the time in the library to read to your child in addition to picking books.
Supervising a toddler and perusing bookshelves is always a challenge; it helps when you can develop a list of authors and books to help you find good ones easily. Librarians usually have a listing of favorite books for various ages, along with other parents and kids will always an excellent way to obtain suggestions.
Find some series you would like and share your child’s excitement whenever you find another book by a favorite author.
3. Read to Your Baby as Often as You Can
Before my children could really take part in the conversation at mealtimes, reading to them during lunch or an earlier dinner (when the other parent is not yet home from work) entertains them enough to keep them seated.
The distraction is often enough that they are much more likely to test the foods put in front of them with the diversion of a book.
This is very different from putting kids in front of a screen while they eat. Then, they stare at the screen while they unconsciously put things within their mouth. Being read to is more like listening to the radio; they could look at their food and savor it as they listen, glancing occasionally at the pictures you hold up.
4. Do Not Push Your Child To Be Able To Read
Most children learn to read naturally when they develop the preliminary skills.
Your aim is certainly not to aid them to sound out words but to encourage a love of books, both pictures, and stories.
Teaching them can take all of the fun out of reading. In the event that you push your child, they will feel put on the spot, in which they’ll feel dumb. That feeling will last his experience of living, plus it won’t help him like reading.
Some children do not learn how to read until they are over seven years of age.
Don’t worry. They’ll quickly catch up with people who started at 4 or 5. There is no benefit to pushing your youngster to read through “early,” and there are numerous drawbacks. It’s a little like whether a kid learns to walk at nine months or 16 months.
Who cares as long as they learn to walk…
If you realize that your child has a hard time recognizing letters, or confuses letters, or can’t sound out words, or cannot recognize words that he has seen many times before, it is possible that he has a learning difficulty such as dyslexia.
Discuss your concerns with your kid’s school and then speak to their learning specialist, who should be experienced in the diagnosis and early intervention.
5. Don’t Stop Reading to Them Once They Learn to Read
Read to them every step of the way, as long as they will allow you to.
Continuing to read through to them keeps them interested as their skills develop. And it gives you lots of ideas for conversations about values and choices.
There is often the issue where children CAN read, but simply don’t seem to want to read.
The child’s problem, of course, is the fact that they can read simple books, but their imagination craves more developed plots and characters. Those books are harder work, with too many words they don’t know.
The effort distracts them from the story. The clear answer? These kids need their parents to continue reading to them; to help keep them captivated by the secrets of books.
That’s what will motivate this child to accomplish the hard work to become a proficient reader.
At this vulnerable stage, it really is definitely worth the extra time to track down books they can read and can find exciting.
Picture books with lots of words work very well, since the child is able to use the pictures to help them to stay interested and help them with the words. Soon, through with the work in school, along with the books they pick up at home, the kid’s reading skills will match up with their excitement for books.
Within a couple of months, they’ll have the ability to handle simple chapter books. When this occurs, seek out series books, which often lure kids about the next book in addition to next.
6. Ritualize A Daily Reading Time
Set aside a reading time every day.
This could be after school, or after lunch, or a wind-down time at the end of the day. It’s amazing how motivated kids are to read through if this allows them to keep up a little later.
Some children are exhausted by the end of the afternoon, such that reading is too much work with them then.
Until your youngster is ready for bedtime reading, try setting up their reading time as you make dinner, after homework. The only downside to it is you will need to carve out 15 minutes to start them off at what is probably your busiest time of the day.
7. Help Them Tackle the Next Level
Pick a novel your child can read, but that’s a bit harder than she might choose on their own; an easy chapter book, rather than a photo book, for example.
Read together until you have to answer the phone or start dinner, but a minimum of a quarter of this book, so that your child is hooked.
Then tell them it is read-alone time. Keep suggesting engrossing, slightly harder books.
8. Try Comics For Reluctant Readers
Some kids get a good jump begin with comics or graphic novels, which are less intimidating to them than chapter books.
Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes as well as the Tin Tin series, are examples of kid pleasers with sophisticated vocabulary and concepts.
9. Never Stop Reading to Them
Why give up such an important time for you to relate to each other emotionally?
Why call it quits on the opportunity to read books that trigger good discussions about values and choices and hardships and hope?
Do not stop till they tell you to.
10. Read Yourself
You’re their role model.
When they don’t see you read, why would they? Discuss what you are all reading over dinner. Institutionalize family reading time, where a parent reads to the whole family.
As children get older, they can take turns as the role of the reader, or the book could be passed around taking turns.
11. Limit Technology
It is impossible a novel can contend with TV or computer.
Most kids, given the choice, just won’t choose the book often enough to ensure it is a habit.
Limiting or even banning screen usage until the reading is well-established will be the most important thing you can do to encourage reading.
Something as simple as giving them a couple of books in the car for them to look at while they are in the their car seat is a much better option than installing an ipad for them to watch.
About the author of this post.
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Did we cover everything you wanted to know about how to motivate your child to read?
Any tips, suggestions or questions?