As parents, we often focus on teaching our children to read. It is undoubtedly an important skill, but we parents should focus on a more beneficial goal - a love of books. A book lover will voluntarily seek knowledge from books while a book reader may merely read what is gven to them. So how do we as parents raise book lovers?
This is the single most important action a parent must take in order to set their children on the path to reading and loving books. When you read to them, you show them the extraordinary pleasure books can bring to them - history, imaginary worlds, behaviour examples, and more. And of course, it teaches them language, rhymes, phonetics and many other skills that help them read. Set aside a time every day to do this - maybe before going to bed. Start reading early.
Read about topics that interest your child. It does not have to be just books. It can be from newspapers, magazines etc., For example, if kids are interested in car racing, read sports articles about racing from the newspaper.
Buy a wide variety of books that may interest your child, not just books filled with knowledge. Let them experience books that are fun, and imaginative too.
Don't force children to read or listen to you read. Go with the flow. Find the right times and opportunities to read to them. Read to them when they have the inclination to do so.
Newspapers often have interesting reports and pictures. Point them out to your children and read some of the text from around the photo.
Give them surprise gifts of books. Children love surprises and you can get twice the benefit from this.
Store the books in a place where it is easy for your children to get them. As they grow a little older, kids will want to just sit down and thumb though books themselves. Even if they cannot read, they may want to flip the pages. If they have read it many times before, they will recognize the pictures in the books and visually recognize the words.
If you can buy books, then feel free to do so. But it may also teach your children a valuable lesson about economics if you also joined a library. With the library, you can keep refreshing the boks your children have access to. You can also get more value by buying used books.
When you read books to your children, discuss the books you read. Discuss what alternatives could have happened. Talk about some of the interesting points in the books. If there are situations where you can provide more information, do so.
Also, talk in general with your children about reading. Tell them about what you are reading - books, newspapers etc.,
Tell them about books you have read. Talk about authors like Shakespeare, Tagore, Mark Twain etc., Paint a picture about these authors and the amazing ways in which they came up with their creations. Talk about interesting characters they created.
There is no better example for your child than you. Let them watch you read books, newspapers, magazines. It can even be a cookbook to find recipes. As they see you read and enjoy books, they will learn very quickly that reading is something that is beneficial and they will follow your lead.
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