How do people become lifelong readers? What motivates children to want to read and read a lot even if there is no reward from their parents, a high grade from their English teacher or no condition for doing so? Parents and teachers play an important role in building lifelong readers but how exactly can they help kids cultivate the love for reading?
Unfortunately, there is no universal program or strategy that can keep children inspired to read. Numerous studies indicate that parents and the home environment are crucial for children’s reading habits and attitudes to reading. Leading literacy experts believe that children’s reading development begins early before they start a kindergarten. So what exactly can parents do to build a strong literacy foundation that is extremely important for the future academic success of their children?
Here are some tips for parents to promote reading motivation.
Read aloud to your children
It’s important to read aloud to your kids every day regardless of their age. Your child will be able to hear examples of how experienced readers read and build fluency skills when hearing patterns of language. It’s best to establish a bedtime story routine and read aloud to your children for 15-20 minutes. You should make story reading interactive and ask open-ended questions as you read. You kids may suggest endings and alternative characters or make predictions based on the images in the book. You should engage your children as active listeners.
Find appropriate reading material
It’s good to have a wide selection of books with pictures on different topics. They can be fictional stories as well as stories about science, history, and math. As your kids grow older, they can read more complicated chapter books, newspapers, and magazines. If you have a lot of different books at home, your children are more likely to find stories they will want to read for themselves. You can tell your children about the books you liked to read when a child and explain why. They may want to read these books too.
Find out what books your kids are interested in and find reading material on that topic. It’s important to help your children select books that are at the appropriate reading level. If the books are too easy, your child may think they are too boring and if the books are too difficult, the children may get frustrated and fail to understand their content.
Promote reading in your home
You should show your kids that you value reading. Create a reading environment at home and fill it with all kinds of books, newspapers, and magazines. You should find articles that you think your kids may like and recommend them in notes or emails. Besides, you should buy a good dictionary to help your children grow their vocabulary when they read books and come across unknown words.
The whole family should be involved in reading. You should demonstrate your kids that you read for pleasure. All the members of the family can discuss the books they are reading or have read and share their impressions. Older children can read aloud to their younger brothers and sisters.
Show your children that you are interested in what books they are reading. Ask them questions about their favorite characters, their impressions, and feelings. You may set a goal for your child to read a certain number of books during a specific period of time and celebrate success with a prize, another book or a favorite meal.
Use fun activities
There are a lot of exciting things you and your children can do together and make reading an enjoyable experience. You should be creative and find an activity that your child is sure to enjoy doing.
For, example, you can start a reading club with other students from your child’s school and their parents. Every club member can take turns to choose a specific book that all members of the club will read on a monthly basis
If your child is fond of music, you can ask him/her to write lyrics to a favorite song. When listening to that song, your child can read the lyrics or sing.
You can also find videos on the specific topic that your kid is interested in and after watching them, find books to read on that or similar topic.