The second edition of Bar-A-Thon has started. It is a fortnight-long blogging marathon for bloggers everywhere.
You can read all about Bar-A-Thon here.
For Day 1, I have chosen to write using the theme 7 and it is on a topic closest to my heart – 7 ways to make your child fall in love with books and reading.
A child is never too young to be introduced to books
For babies, there are board books and cloth books available which do not get damaged or torn with rough handling. Then there are “Touch and Feel” books
to expose babies to different textures and patterns. For toddlers and preschoolers, one can begin read aloud sessions with the books of their interests. For my car and truck crazy son, I began with books about cars and trucks and then graduated him to books on other means of transportation, dinosaurs and other animals.
The first five years of a child’s life are crucial for development
Start by reading aloud to them for about 20 minutes everyday, preferably at a fixed time when both you and the child are in a relaxed state. Ask questions and discuss the story, the characters and the illustrations with the child.
Do not decline requests for repeated reading of a book
If your child repeatedly asks you to read the same book to him or her, always oblige. Do not suggest a new book if the child wants the same old book to be read. We may feel that it is getting monotonous but the child is learning something new from it with each reading. You can infuse a bit of creativity by reading the dialogues of the characters in different voice pitches each time. One may also be surprised how many different interpretations a child can come up with every time the same book is read.
Support the child’s early literacy needs
Support the child’s early literacy needs by making them join phonics classes which lay emphasis on sound recognition and blending letter sounds for reading words instead of the traditional “look, memorize and read” method. The techniques adopted in such classes comprise of learning through audio/visual techniques, fun games and related activities. It is about making learning fun.
Role of Bookstores and Libraries
While buying books online is great, especially for the discounts, make it a point to visit bookstores with your children once in a while so that they are surrounded by books and in the midst of other book lovers. Get a library membership for your child and visit it regularly with him. Let your child choose the books himself.
Exposure to literary activities
Take your child to storytelling sessions and literary activities organised by bookstores or libraries. Subscribe to book-lists to discover relevant reads for their age group and reading levels. There are many online communities which offer such book-lists.
Be a role model and keep reading aloud
Children learn their early life lessons by emulating their parents. So be a worthy role model to them. If your child sees you reading often and enjoying it, she will start to think of it as a pleasurable experience.
Continue reading aloud to your children even after they start reading independently as children love the relaxed and cozy feeling of their parents reading to them. This keeps their interest in reading alive.
These 7 points were first published as a part of my article ‘Here’s how you can get your child to enjoy reading’ in the Complete Wellbeing magazine. You can read the full article here.
Linking this post to Day 1 of second edition of Bar-A-Thon