Parenting 

How to Develop a Reading Habit in Your Child

Having a healthy reading habit is essential to your little one’s wholesome growth. While they will eventually read during school, as parents we can always introduce them to reading materials from a young age. Here are some creative ways to inculcate a reading habit in your little one:

Build a library together: If as a child you were exposed to a number of books, then you would feel extremely excited about making a library for your child. This is indeed a great idea but it would be even more rewarding if you involve your child in this activity. Try making frequent visits to libraries or book shops and let your child explore and spend time surrounded by books. Finally, when you see your child especially interested in a particular title, you can pick it up to add to the library.

Pick the right books: Your child may not always be able to pick up books that are age-appropriate so many times you would have to take the call on what type of book your child should be exposed to. While choosing a book, do consider some key features. Apart from the story, things like the font size, language, illustrations, concepts, etc. are important while picking the right book for your child.

Animated reading: How you read a book to your child for the first time can often be the deciding factor of whether your child will like the book or not. You can use things like tonal variation, hand gestures, emotional reading, timely pauses, etc. to make the experience more engaging for the child. When you show your excitement about the book while reading it the first time, you will find your child going back to the book over and over again. Eventually, when your child knows the storyline and is no longer distracted by the illustrations, you can start skipping some words while reading and ask the child to fill the gaps.

Cliffhangers galore: A sneaky way to make your child curious about reading is to not read the full story. Time and again, pretend like you are too tired/busy to read the entire book and tell your child to wait for the next reading session to know how the story goes. The trick is to stop the reading right when the story is at its climax! This will pique your child’s curiosity and he/she would want to read what happens next. That is when you motivate them to try reading on their own!

Let the world be a reading material: The idea here is to not restrict reading to just books. No matter where you are or what your child is doing, you can bring attention to the written words around you. For instance, if you are in a market, ask your child to read the signs, boards, shop names, etc. You can also ask your child to read the menu and tell you what they want to eat at a restaurant. Everything from food labels, to clothing tags, to car number plates, etc., can be used to develop a reading habit. This will change your child’s attitude towards reading and make them understand that reading is in fact a survival skill.

Don’t seek perfection: When your child is just beginning to read, do not be too hung up on correcting them. Also, do not push them to read quickly. It is important to not rush them and be patient. Let them read and take their time and do it all without worrying about reading the “right” way. Slowly, once they begin to find reading fun, you can slowly start telling them about the correct pronunciation and more.

Learning any type of skill takes time, whether you are a child or an adult. It is important to remember that skills that may seem easy to you may be extremely tough for your little one. However, with enough patience, perseverance, teamwork, and motivation, developing a reading habit can be a fruitful investment for you and your child!

Authored by Bhavna Bhalla, A full-time mother for the last six years and a part-time writer for over a decade with a passion for travelling and engaging in intellectually-stimulating conversations.