Does your child read every evening, not because it’s assigned, but just for fun? Instilling a love of reading is giving children a gift of dreams, imagination, escape, and connection. From the earliest of days, parents/nannies can foster a love of reading and reading readiness skills in the children by following few simple tips:
Start Early. Believe it or not, by the time babies reach their first birthday they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. Hearing words helps to build a rich network of words in a baby's brain. Kids whose parents/caregivers frequently talk and read to them know more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to. Buy board books and cloth books as some of child's first toys. Create "cozy time," a ritual of connection in which you both associate love and cuddling with reading. Working with children early and often on the basics, like the alphabet and what each letter “sounds like” can help dramatically when the time comes for reading. You can support reading readiness by simply naming and pointing out things, singing songs with children, teaching them the alphabet or spelling their name. All of these activities support vocabulary building and help children connect words to objects, which are essential for reading.
Reading to children is the single most effective way to help them acquire an early and strong love for books. The more stories you read aloud, the more words they will be exposed to and the better he or she will be able to talk. Reading time should be a part of the children’s daily routine. Kids who associate reading with the affection they get before bedtime or at mid-morning, will begin to look forward to these story times. As the anticipation of attention and affection grows, so will their love for the books themselves. Any time either of you needs a break, grab a book and read to the child. Post tantrum, during lunch, after school, any time can be “cozy time”.
You can use books to coach kids through milestones. For virtually every situation and milestone that most children will encounter, there is a children’s book written specifically to help them make sense of it. Using books to help during potty training, with the first day of school, and to deal with bullies’ trains kids to see books as the source of information and entertainment that they are. As questions continue to arise, they’ll continue to turn to books for the answers. Re-read favourite books, find new ones that illustrate concepts you’re trying to teach, and keep kids’ literary diet diverse. Try your best to give them quality literatue and never lose sight of the big goal: to get kids reading good, big books with big ideas and big feelings.
Role model. If children don't see you read, why should they? Discuss what you're all reading at the dinner table. Institutionalize family reading time, when a parent/nanny reads to the whole family. As kids get older, they can take over the role of a reader, or the book can be passed around the circle.
Ask questions as you read along. When children are encouraged to talk about how a book makes them feel and what they noticed about the story, they’re engaging in an equal dialogue with you and feel accepted as more of an individual with their own ideas. Reading to younger children can be a challenge, as their short attention spans are often directly opposed to sitting still and being quiet while you read to them, asking questions about the plot and illustrations can gently direct attention that may be wandering back to the task at hand.
You should let the kids read to you. Even tiny tots, who are pre-readers, can accomplish this task. They just have to know the book by heart, and that means you’ve read it to them about a million times!:) We all know there are benefits to repeated reading, including boosted comprehension and simple pleasure and comfort. But one of the benefits is memorization. Memorization allows the child to sit down and read the book to you, instead of you reading it to them. This fosters a feeling of pride and mastery. Even once kids are older, asking them to read to you promotes family bonding and gives them a feeling of satisfaction, especially as you praise them.
Read Enthusiastically. Reading aloud with dramatic voices, showy gestures and a general enthusiasm for the process helps keep kids engaged in the story and excited about what comes next; it also helps them to see reading as a fun and interactive adventure, rather than a dull and tedious chore.
Take a day trips to the library and make it an adventure! Making a trip to the library as an exciting outing is a matter of presentation and enthusiasm on your part. When picking out a new book is the highlight of a week, that book becomes a treasure. Local libraries and children’s centers often offer story hours and other reading programs directed at kids of all ages and reading levels. These programs are among the most valuable resources at a caregiver or parent’s disposal regarding children and their blossoming love of reading.
Start a club! All it takes is two people reading the same book. Pick a deadline and a meeting place, and bring a few discussion questions to get things going (best part, favorite character, ideas for an alternate ending). Reading is a social activity, and book clubs are a great way to share the experience with friends, classmates or family!
Treasure books. Give books as gifts. Get books as gifts. Collect series of books. Even if you don’t love to read, act like you do. The child should see you reading and enjoying it, remember actions speak louder than words! Pick some favourites or tell children about your favourite book characters from childhood.
Make a fun place to read. Don’t have space? Set up one on special occasions, such as rainy days. Cover a table with a sheet and make a reading fort or a tent when the children can have their fun and read!
Use technology. If you have a child who is bent toward things with screens - let him read that way. Using a Kindle or an iPad to read a book can excite those who love gadgets! Apps can be a great way to build reading skills without kids even knowing that is the goal.
Keep your bookshelves clean! Organized shelves, with all the books pointing the right way, preferably organized into categories, means that your child can easily locate books they want to read. Kids are also more likely to be excited about books that they’ve picked out themselves, so allowing children past toddlerhood to choose their own books can help them to look forward to reading them, with or without your assistance.
Don’t make reading a chore. Forcing older kids to read a certain number of pages each day or to spend a certain amount of their time reading when they absolutely do not want to, will not help them learn to read; it will actually help them learn to despise it. Help children find books that spark passion in their heart. There are so many books to read. Don’t box them into a list. Also, don’t force kids to read only one genre or media type.
Also make sure you don’t ignore the audiobooks. They are great for road trips or settling down before bed. Get classics from the local library or ask relatives to purchase them as gifts!:)
Last but not least - keep it always light & fun!