There are many benefits of being a reader. Academically, children who are read to, and who love reading tend to have a higher vocabulary, better mental skills, and a longer attention span. Long term, being a reader decreases the chance of dementia, reduces stress, and enhances your analytical thinking skills.
What are some ways we can encourage reading in our children, so they can reap the rewards of being a reader? How do we raise a reader?
Put Books in Their Hands at a Young Age
Babies love board books! Encourage your child to play with and look at books from infancy. Parents can read to their babies and toddlers, point at pictures, and even follow the words with their fingers. This shows young children that books are telling us something, and shows them that those funny symbols mean something.
Reading aloud can start from day one, or even in utero. Babies are calmed by the sound of a book being read out loud. Once your child is a little older, let him select which book to read to give him ownership in the activity.
Many children love to hear the same story over and over again. Parents can tire quickly from this habit. However, children will learn more through repetition.
Reading aloud does not have to stop after a child is an independent reader. Parents can move on to reading nonfiction books, or meaty classics like Alice in Wonderland or Anne of Green Gables through middle school and high school.Choose a curriculum includes a healthy dose of read alouds.
Take Them to the Library
Libraries are a great place to nurture a love of reading. Many libraries start story times at the toddler age, which puts books into their hands from the beginning.
Library time can become part of your family routine. Pick one day a week, a month or whatever works for you, and make it library day. Let your child get their own card; make a big deal out of the responsibility. Let your older children join an age appropriate book club. Help all ages learn to manage library books well to avoid fines.
Get to know your librarians. Ask their help and advice; most librarians are eager to help precocious children and their parents! Give small Christmas gifts or back to school gifts to your librarians so your children learn to appreciate their valuable role in their education.
Let Them See You Reading
Want to raise a reader? Lead by example and create a family atmosphere of reading! If your child never sees you pick up a book, chances are they will never have the desire to pick one up themselves.
Whether you enjoy reading books, magazines, or the newspaper, let your child join you. When your child is young, you can place books in her hands while you read. When they are older, let them sit with you and read themselves. Have a set time each day for independent reading and then model that hobby. This shows them that reading is important to you and gives them an excellent example to follow.
By providing these opportunities for your children you are laying an excellent foundation and before you know it you will have raised a reader!