One of the questions asked in the comment section of my post “why some children outpace others academically- secret to top schools- Ivy leagues” as “how do I get my child to like reading”. As a Nigerian, born and bread in Nigeria, we (or should I say I) did not grow up with my parents reading to me every night. I went to a boarding school from an early age of 6 years so I did not have that privilege. I picked the love of reading from watching other children at school and borrowing their books. On the other hand, US (and many other foreign countries) provide free books in the public library and preaches reading to your child every day for at least 20 mins. I practiced this to the letter with my children in their toddler years till they got to 6-7years. I know I should still continue but then, I think the older one gets, the more tiring it is to do some things though I still read a lot with my youngest daughter. Anyways, that was what I did.
There were quite a number of methods I used with my children and I still use some of them till date since they are still pretty young and growing. I sometimes act the part out with my children during a reading session or sometimes play a game of “guess who said this and from which book” in a comical way. I will say a phrase from the book maybe while in the kitchen or driving and ask from where and when it was said? I do this just to create fun around reading and put some life into it. My toddler simply loves this. Now that two of them are a little older, I don’t do this anymore with them even though the teaching is still the same but the problem is that the children are beginning to read more analytical books that require more of my time to read and digest. The teaching is to discuss these books (or magazines/newspaper articles) with them to check their comprehension and ability to summarize. Time, time and time is the factor. But this is the teaching now. Here are few tips I got (and they do work by the way 🙂 )….
Read with your children. Make this a special mother-child time. Share the pleasure of a story without the distractions of TV/telephones/social media.
Have books/magazines/newspapers around the house. Make it like it is part of a daily life.
Have a mini library at home for them. Books they can call their own. A shelf or two. It gives them a sense of independence (children like “this is mine”). Give them the freedom to pick books from their library to read. Children imitate easily and a lot. They are copy cats. Cultivate the habit of reading a lot in their presence. If they see you read and enjoy reading, they will do the same. How you handle books will eventually influence how your kids treat them.
Go to the library with your children. This is such a biggie for us at home. Sometimes due to busy schedule, I am unable to catch up with this but you know the way these children are, they stay on your case until you give them what they want. Library visit can also be used as parent-child bonding time where you get to converse with your child and discuss different issues of life. Knowing which book to choose in the library can be a little confusing at times (I have experienced this so many times), ask the librarians for assistance. School librarian or your child’s language arts teachers are also great resources.
Another suggestion is to limit distractions during the week. Anything that is not academic or extra-curricular. This is the teaching. TV, radio, telephones should be turned off during reading/studying time.
Again structure is another factor that is preached here. Having children read 30mins before bedtime works wonders. If your child doesn’t, maybe you should start by reading with your child. Make this a routine and a lifestyle. Be consistent. After a while, the child will associate going to bed with reading books. I know my children will beg me to read a little before going to bed if it is past their bedtime. These are my little tips. I really hope these help….May God help us raise our children to be the best they can be. Amen.
How have you been able to get your child to love reading? Share your experience and words of wisdom in the comment/reply box below. I always look forward to hearing from you.
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