If you want to raise a reader, then you must start them as early as infancy. Reading aloud to them creates a special bond between the parent and the child that will further help her with brain and emotional development. If you haven’t started them early, then it’s never too late. I am going to show you some ways you can create an environment in your home that will help you raise a reader. But first! Let’s discuss the how reading helps your child’s mental growth.
Benefits of Raising a Reader
Children who are read to regularly start developing valuable language and literacy skills early on in their development. They are able to grasp abstract concepts easily in their learning process and it is easier for them to apply logic and understand cause and effect. Reading is a form of exercise provided to the brain that boosts its power while enhancing connectivity. It helps reduce stress and enhances imagination.
Books serves both as a mirror and a window to the reader. As a mirror, books let your child see herself reflected through. And when the same books serve as window, they allow a child to know the experiences of people who are different, helping them develop a perspective.
Here are few ways you can help your child love reading.
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Open up their Worlds
Expose them to books that introduce variety of different characters, cultures, ethnicities and family structures.
At young age their minds are flexible and expansive. They do not care if a character is a male or a female, black or white.
Provide them with opportunities to explore books that show boys being nurturing and sensitive and girls being active and assertive, the books that are ethnically and racially diverse. This is going to give them an exposure to experiences that co-exist in real life.
Create a Print Rich Environment for Little Readers
Encourage reading outside the books. This is going to help them discover different way we can communicate through print. This eventually will spur their interest in using writing as a tool for communication.
Expose them to age appropriate board games regularly.
Do letter activities such as making flip books, writing letters with paint.
Make reading and writing material easily available and accessible– for your young ones.
Put colorful magnetic letter on your fridge.
Have their own shelf of books –placed at appropriate height in their room.
Best make a family library – by collecting what you and your kids read over time.
Start them Young
Starting them young is beneficial in your effort to raise a reader. Read them aloud when they are still too young to read. For some kids reading starts around 4 and for others at 6 or 7. Let them make their effort according to their own pace.
At early age, board and play books are your best friends. Start introducing these as early as infancy. Sometimes you can read it to them, and other times just let them play with those play books while they admire the colors and illustration and try to make sense out of them.
Develop a Reading Ritual
Develop a ritual for reading together every day. Majority of parents prefer sitting and reading with their children before they put them to bed. Bedtime story times are best.
You get an opportunity to create a special bond with your child and to make lifetime memories of stories read together as a child and a parent.
Allow your Reader to Choose their own Books
Let them choose their own adventure. This will give them a control over exploring and evolving their reading choices. Picking their own books will help them express what they like about the books they are reading.
Go to the library–regular trips to the library will keep a constantly rotating book menu. This is an excellent opportunity to get them exposed to variety of books in short amount of time.
Focus on enjoying the books-especially for young emerging readers, pictures and illustrations are the best friends. Help them choose age appropriate books with lots of illustrations to maximize the fun that comes along with reading.
Be a Role Model
Share your excitement about the book with your child. Since the little brains are sponges, model everything you want them to do. If you as a parent are busy with your digital devices and expect your child to love reading, then you are not living in the practical world. This simply is not going to happen. To create the environment of reading in your home, you have to be part of it.
Your child needs to see you enjoy reading and writing. This can simply be reading a newspaper or a magazine on your weekend mornings or taking along your favorite book to the park with you while they play, and you read.
Read your books while your child is reading hers. This quiet reading time is the best opportunity for the whole family to read and relax.