It has been well established in the literature that reading to children from an early age can have a significant lasting impact on a child’s development of language, vocabulary, and reading skills. Since reading is fundamental to a child’s success in school, parents often wonder how they can promote and encourage a love for reading in their children. Here are a few tips to foster a genuine love for reading in your children.
- Begin reading to your child as early possible. Research shows that reading to children from infancy helps develop positive lifelong attitudes about reading and improves reading success. If children have positive experiences with reading, they are more likely to develop an interest in reading and be motivated to read independently as they get older. Furthermore, if a child has a strong interest in reading, they are more likely to engage in reading activities and thus have better reading skill development.
- Have books all around- in a child’s bedroom, the living room, play-room, in the car, in backpacks/diaper bags etc. The more that books surround your child, the more they will become noticed. Try to expose your child to reading material in all different formats- hard cover, soft cover, magazines, comics, electronic books. Remember that reading does not just happen at a desk or at the library!
- Children are intrinsically motivated to read about topics or characters that interest them. Try to have available different books that tap into your child’s particular interests. If your child loves dinosaurs, read about dinosaurs. If you child loves Dora the Explorer, read books featuring Dora the Explorer.
- Embrace repetition! Young children tend to LOVE reading and re-reading the same book over and over again. While this can be particularly boring for a parent, repetition is important for speech and language development, vocabulary development, memorization, and reading comprehension.
- Be a strong role model. Read everything around you- signs, recipes, books for pleasure, newspaper articles etc.
- Make a fun reading corner and have your children help design it. You may include a special chair (e.g., beanbag chair, reclining chair etc.), a reading light/lamp, or make a fun reading “fort”.
It is undeniable that reading has many positive effects on a childs’ developing brain and that fostering a genuine love for reading in children may be the first step to paving the way for future academic success.