By: Emily Watson
Teaching reading skills is a wonderful gift that you can bestow to your child. In today's fast paced technological age, reading as a hobby and for pleasure has taken a backseat. Children are so involved with television programs, extracurricular activities, friends and computer games that they hardly have any time for exercising their reading skills. Now, even if there is no harm is watching television or being engrossed with computer games, they don't come anywhere near reading in terms of the benefits that it imparts to your child. Reading has the potential to open up a whole new world for your child and by indulging in this activity, your child will have an active imagination, great vocabulary, identification and empathy with other cultures and a broader vision of life.
If the merits of reading are so manifold, shouldn't you as a parent be taking a more serious interest in teaching reading skills to your child? Many parents are cognizant of the important part that reading plays in the personal development of their children but have no clue about the ways of inculcating the reading habit in their kids. This article will provide suggestions and tips that you can use to make reading a very attractive option for your child. By doing so, you will be ensuring that your child is never lonely and has trusted friends (in the form of books) to guide and illuminate him throughout his life.
It is never too early to plan the development of reading habits in your child and a great way of teaching reading skills is to start when your child is merely a toddler. At this stage, your child is not equipped with the ability to read, but you should never let this be a drawback and come in the way of your child's enjoyment with reading. Reading out to your child can help in enhancing his language skills at a very tender age. Even if your child does not understand everything that you read out, she will enjoy hearing your voice. If you combine this with interesting and exaggerated facial gestures as well as a nice range of voice modulation, your child will look forward to reading time with you.
With very young kids and toddlers, buying books with beautiful pictures is a way of capturing their interest. So, when you read out to your child, she will have the added pleasure of gazing at the pictures to her heart's content. As your child grows up, you can start reading together since this is a great method of teaching reading skills. You do not have to restrict reading time to the home, but can also extend it to other places. So, rather than getting bored while waiting for your appointment with the doctor or waiting for your order in a restaurant, you could resort to reading with your child. This will not only help improve communication skills and thinking abilities, but it will also make your child feel as if she is sharing a secret pact with you. After all, how many people do you usually find reading in public?
Reading time with your child should be kept flexible so that your child can air her opinions or thoughts about the characters in the book when you are actually involved with the process of reading. You could also contribute by asking pertinent questions that set your child thinking about the book from a different perspective. Teaching reading skills in such a scenario will present no problems and will come very easy to your child. If you make this routine a part of your daily activity, your relationship with your child will also improve along with her reading skills. Another reason for the importance of regular reading is that children who take large breaks find it difficult to return to the reading hobby.
However, this does not mean that you force your child to read. There will be times when your child is a voracious reader while at other times; he will be totally disinterested in reading. You need to respect the different phases that your child goes through rather than being critical about his lowered pleasure in reading or the kind of books that are being read. What you can do is to have books lying at strategic points in the house, so that he is tempted to pick one and start reading. To do so, you do not necessarily have to spend a fortune in buying books as second-hand bookstores and yard sales will give you plenty of opportunity of buying good books at affordable prices.
If your child has an extremely busy schedule that allows no time to read, you could pick up collections of short stories or other magazines which do not take too long to peruse and ensure that the reading habit does not die down. An innovative way of teaching reading skills is to find taped books that can be listened to when you are driving your child to school or some other activity. Taking a trip to the library once a week along with your child is another way of introducing him to the world of books. You could even direct him to a book series meant for kids of his age since children usually get addicted to the characters that inhabit such a series.
Apart from this, you could also let him have a monthly allowance for books in addition to his pocket money. Teaching reading skills by doing so will be money well spent and your child will start building a list of books that he wants to buy each month. By arousing this kind of an interest in your child, you are ensuring that the reading habit will be a life-long one rather than short-lived and sporadic. Gifting books on birthdays and other special occasions is again something that you can do for obtaining the desired results.
Every child likes to have his/her own room in the house. If you extend this idea and create a small and exclusive reading area for him in the house, you efforts will be truly appreciated. Making this space special by arranging all your child's favorite books and posters in an attractive way will enhance the appeal of this place for your child. Teaching reading skills could be reinforced by allowing your child to read late into the night on a Friday or a Saturday and dispensing with the bedtime rules on this particular day. Most children will lap up this chance as it is a deviation from their normal and boring routine.
Finally, you need to communicate to your child the enormous amount of pleasure that you yourself derive from reading. A child who sees his parents reading frequently and for fun will do so himself without too much persuasion on your part. So, teaching reading skills will be a lot easier for the parent who is an avid reader. In other words, make reading an integral part of your lifestyle and you will have an intelligent child who is bitten by the reading bug.
About the Author
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(ArticlesBase SC #898707)