‘The more that you read, the more you know. The more that you learn, the more places you go.’ These wise words of Dr Seuss say it all about the benefits of reading. Reading, when not done as an extension of homework and done more to relax and enjoy; the activity has an invigorating effect, it opens up the mind and also improves general well-being. From manuscripts to the new age digital pages all have given mankind the knowledge and wisdom to imagine and innovate. The fables, scientific facts, stories of bravery and suffering, stories of Gods and demons all have contributed to how we live, engage and innovate. Our emotional intelligence increases when we read and understand a range of perspectives and motivations. Introduction to reading in an early stage is a good way to embark on the journey of discovering the world and things that make the world. Below are few tips to enrich the interest in reading, but, before doing that it’s always good to prepare a pre-schooler for reading.
Preparing your pre-schooler for reading
Pre-reading skills, when developed before and during pre-school eases the stress and difficulty of learning to read. Pre-reading skills include introducing a child to print, books, words and their sounds. To start with, parents should read in front of their children, let them see the letters, words, pictures in front of them. Whether it’s your grocery list or an email it doesn’t matter, let them see the words/ pictures. Show your children that you enjoy reading. Children in their early stage love to copy adults. They do what we do – open fridge, open drawers, talk on the phone, water the plants, dust the table, and when we read they would read too. Therefore, read with your child every day. Read with a natural, but cheerful voice. Allowing children to handle a book and helping them to recognize which way to hold a book and how to turn a page encourages them to notice and understand print. These skills, when practised daily, will establish a habit of reading in pre-schoolers.
Things to do when the habit of reading is established
Once the reading habit is established the attention should be shifted to maintaining that good habit of reading. Having a bookshelf full of books at home, with few shelves dedicated to the child’s interest, frequent visits to the local bookstore or local library helps children to look and feel books, and be aware of the variety of genres available. Secondly, letting them choose what they want to read allows them to experiment and identify their interest. Helping children with difficult words and their meanings will keep the interest in reading intact. Refrain from asking book reviews, let children read for pleasure. The other effective way to maintain a child’s interest in reading is by borrowing and lending books, gifting books, and always carrying a book wherever you go. Create a quiet and comfortable reading area at home where you and your child can curl up with a book with no television or computer in the vicinity.
Developing the habit of reading is one of the best things you can do for your child. Books have the power to transform lives, hence, the sooner reading becomes a habit the better it gets.