In this day and age, there’s no doubt reading is a very important skill to learn, especially while young. Reading opens up a lot of opportunities for your child. It’s not just an academic skill, but a life skill. Reading also sharpens the mind and allows your child to learn new things, interests, or experiences.
Unfortunately though, not all children find it easy to learn how to read. Could your child be one of them?
It’s never too late to encourage your child to read. Given the right environment and support, she may find herself enjoying a book, or two—or even a series! We list down eight ways to help you motivate your child to read.
#1 Read to your child
Be your child’s first teacher. Pick up a book you think she’ll enjoy and read to her. Modelling a behaviour on children is an effective way to teach them something. If your child also sees you doing this, she’ll most probably pick up on some of the language and words you use, which in turn enhances her vocabulary. This can also make for a great bedtime routine.
#2 Make books available anytime, anywhere, and in any device
Your home is your child’s first contact to everything so if you want her to be a book enthusiast, make sure she has access to books she’d like to read. Set aside a space where books can be read, such as a little library or even just a little study table. With the advent of technology, access to books should not be a problem. Check out Storytel’s wide book collections and choose to read books from a gadget whenever, wherever. Instead of solely playing games or watching videos, your child will have an additional and equally engaging activity to do in lull moments such as waiting at the airport. From audiobooks to e-books, your child will no longer have an excuse not to be able to read.
#3 Use word cards to facilitate learning
For younger kids, reading can be challenging. Start with the basics and the not-so-intimidating methods such as using visual aids and word cards. You can simply cut out boards, draw on them, and write some words. This will help your child decode sounds and letters, then syllables and eventually words.
#4 Ask your child to read aloud
If she already knows how to read, ask her to read aloud. Let her do it in her own pace—don’t pressure your young reader and expect it to be perfect. Along the way, you can correct her for mispronounced words, ask her to use special sounds if she wants to, or stop and pause in between sentences. This makes for a good learning and bonding experience for you as well.
#5 Improve comprehension skills too
More than the ability to read, it’s equally important for your child to learn how to fully understand the meaning of the words she has read. You can enhance this by asking her questions after every reading exercise to make her remember and be able to explain what she has just read.
#6 Set aside a time for reading
You may have books in your house but if you don’t find time for your child to practice reading, it may not be helpful at all. Set aside a specific reading time every day with your child, and make a list of books that will be interesting to read and learn from. You can also turn this into a regular family activity where everyone has to read a book of their own choice—a mini book club, if you will.
#7 Let your child choose what she wants to read
Whether it’s poetry, comics, or fiction—any kind of reading material brings a good opportunity for children to master the skill of reading. Just make sure they choose age-appropriate materials and topics. Other than that, your child will most likely be more enthusiastic to read if she’s interested in the story she’s reading.
#8 Engage and give your full attention
Show your little one how excited you are to read with her. Give emotions to the story by telling her the sounds, noises, or emotions that the words in the story convey. If it requires animal sounds, then mimic the sound if necessary. The more engaged you are, the more enjoyable it becomes for your child and the more she’ll be encouraged to eventually read on her own.