Children nowadays can get entertained by so many things, that they may no longer find books appealing. If you try to examine your practices at home, are you providing opportunities for your child to develop an interest in books? Does your child have access to picture books, and any other age-appropriate books in your home? If reading is not encouraged, a child would much rather spend the day watching television, or playing computer games.
According to studies, if parents began to read to children at an early age, they had better language comprehension and cognitive development. This is very significant because around 35% of American children begin kindergarten, without language skills necessary, for them to learn how to read.
In order to prepare your child for a more formal education later on, you can help by reading to your child at an early age. And it may help if you try to understand your child’s abilities at different stages of development:
– Babies – They may not yet understand words, but they love to hear a familiar voice. You can get your baby’s attention by your facial expressions, or the tone of your voice.
– 1 year old children – A child’s interest in his environment grows, and he may explore the book as an object.
– 2 year old children – He may already identify some objects in the book.
– 3 year old children – A child at this age can already participate during story telling time. Encourage your child to describe some events in the story.
– 4- year old children – A child may already know how to tell a simple story. They may also include reading and writing in their play.
– 5 year old children – A child may already know the alphabet sounds, and may start to identify letters and words on books.
– 6 and 7 year old children – Most children at these ages have already learned how to read.
As a parent, you are one of your child’s first teachers. It may help if you include reading in your child’s daily routine. Try to make the activity fun for your child, and allow him to set his own pace. When reading a book, you may use animal sounds to make the activity more enjoyable. Take your time, and encourage your child to participate. You can also ask your child to name objects in the book, and explain to him how these are related to the story. Encourage your child to ask questions, so you can better explain some things to him.
Since play will always be an integral part of a child’s life, try to incorporate reading with games and other activities. Try to engage in make believe play, and have your child act out his favorite stories. You can encourage your child to be creative, and make use of his toys and other objects as materials for the play. This is a fun way to develop your child’s imaginative thinking. You can also make games out of letters, numbers, or even words. It is important to remember, that a fun activity is more likely to hold your child’s attention.
If your child has started to read, ask him to read aloud. This will allow you to monitor his progress, so you can help him on things he may need help on. Try to be supportive, and observe for signs that your child may have had enough. Do not force your child to work way beyond his limits because this may lead to frustration. It is also very important that you praise your child, for the progress that he is making. You can spice it up by giving him award stickers for his accomplishments.
Make a big deal out of family visits to the library, and make sure that books are as accessible as your child’s toys in your home. This will give him choices, whether he wants to play with his toys, or he’d rather flip pages on a book. It is also important for parents to remember that learning doesn’t have to be boring. After all, kids tend to show interest in activities that they find enjoyable. If you can make it really fun for your child, perhaps he may look forward to your next reading time.