Many of us have fond memories of snuggling up before bed with our parents and getting lost in a captivating story. Whether it was a tale of a princess or astronauts lost in outer space, most people have a favourite fictional fantasy from when they were little - and it’s an important part of childhood. Reading opens up the minds of children, while they are young and their impressions and views of the world are still malleable. So here are a few tips to ensure your little ones don’t miss out on the valuable experience of getting lost in a world of make believe, and develop their reading skills at a young age:
Honestly, reading doesn’t come naturally for everyone! For those of us who catch the reading bug at a young age it can be hard to put down a book we are in the middle of. However, for others it’s difficult to get started! Chances are once you get your little ones started and they get into the groove of reading, they’ll start to enjoy it - but it’s getting them going that presents a challenge.
One way to start out might be to say, “let’s read one chapter and then you can go play on the jumping castle for a bit”! For more long term goals, you could say that once your child completes 10 books, they get that new kids ride on car they’ve been eyeing, or a new inflatable water slide for the backyard. No matter the incentive, big or small, you’ll find that this gets your little one excited about reading. Soon enough, the joy of reading itself will be incentive enough! With tons of different kids toys online, you’ll easily find little knick-knacks to be a part of your reward-based system.
Try Out Audio Books
Not all kids learn the same, and that’s just a fact of life. So if reading doesn’t seem to be your cup of tea, why not introduce your kids to the love of stories through audio books first! Allison Greenland, the owner of Leap into Literacy in Sydney, has a PhD dissertation focused on reading comprehension skills in students and has focused on the importance of reading in much of her research.
She has a passion for developing a love of literacy in children and decided to open her own creative workshops that help students of all levels reach their highest potential. She explains why audio books are a great idea:
“One tip that I use to help get primary age students reading is to introduce the audio book first. Once they have listened to a chapter or two, then read a chapter together from the hard copy. Have them then read a chapter or two on their own, then switch back and forth between the audio book, reading together, and on their own. Many children find getting started difficult, but once they are interested in the book already and want to find out more, they are more likely to continue reading. We use a lot of audio books in our classes to do just this, and we never go past the first chapter so that if students enjoy it, they can continue at home!”
Make Reading Fun!
Children are basically inclined to do whatever they think of of as fun and exciting - which really doesn’t change much when we’re adults, come to think of it! If you make reading a time of day that they look forward to and are excited about, they will no doubt become bookworms in a flash.
Lucy Good, who works with hundreds of single mothers through offering an online course and her Facebook group, is a blogger, podcaster and mentor. She elaborates more on how she made reading with her two mini-me daughters, aged 10 and 13, an enjoyable experience.
“1) ALWAYS, absolutely push for the bedtime story. At first this is really just a cuddle time, then a picture book, then short stories, until before you know it you’re heading down the corridors of Hogwarts together.
2) Make reading a ‘treat time’ rather than a chore. Before my girls started to read I might say ‘where are you off to now’ and ask them where their book is taking them.
3) The tricky bit is when you’re too old for you to read to them, and they need to read by themselves. I overcame this by allowing them to read for 15 minutes. I will then hop into bed with them for a cuddle while they tell me in vivid detail what they have read. This helps them recapture what they have read and tell it from their own perspective.”
Lucy also speaks regularly on a local radio station, writes articles for the online parenting community and continually hunts down resources of benefits to single mothers.
Make Use Of Travel Time
Whether you’re on a bus, train, or plane - anytime you have downtime while travelling, make the most of it and bring a book along. If you’re child is at the stage where they are reading on their own, keep a few books in the car so that they can read out loud to practice (just make sure they aren’t distracting you from the task at hand: driving!)
Even if you’re kid refuses to engage in this activity, if they see you reading while travelling from destination A to B, they are more likely to eventually pick up this habit themselves. Not to mention, you are keeping yourself from wasting precious hours in the day, particularly if you have a long commute. It really is the perfect way to get the little ones to cultivate a new habit, as you essentially have them trapped in a confined area where they can’t run off and play - great for focus and learning a new skill!
Be A Role Model For Your Children
Kids pick up most of their behaviour from seeing what their parents do, so if you’d like to get your kids reading - you better be as well! Gaby Company has a few tips to make sure you’re setting the right examples for your little ones:
“1) Be a Role Model - Kids need to see the parents reading and enjoying the reading.
2) Be a Family Member of your local library - Borrow books that your kids enjoy reading.
3) Have a journal of the books your kids are reading. Write the name of the book and the Author’s name.
4) Set a special place for entertaining and another area for reading. We have set up a special area for my son to work on his school commitments and reading. My son called this area: His Office.”
For more where that came from, check out International Success Blueprint website and Facebook page! Also check out her blog, The Dreaming Show blog, Facebook and Twitter. You can also find Gaby Company on Linkedin.
So there you have it, some fun and effortless ways to get your kids into reading. Don’t you want them to experience the joys of disappearing into a world where the impossible is possible?