Reading is a lost art in today’s world. With the distractions of TV, Internet, Gaming and Smart phones, nobody has the time or the energy to read anymore. However, books open up an exciting world in a way TV and the World Wide Web never can. But, how to get the next generation to start reading?
Forcing them is never a good way. Forcing children to do something is turning them away from it forever. No, we have to devise other ways to attract them to it, ease them into reading so that they come to this habit willingly.
Children will be children and it’s up to the adults to see that they are guided to the right path of thing. They don’t know it yet, but reading is actually beneficiary for them, much better than TV and gaming put together. So, how to guide them, not force them, into this habit?
Make reading a part of their playtime. Before schools force a reading list, decorate their nurseries with books you have enjoyed as a child. Sit with a book once every day, if only for a few minutes.
See that they regard reading as something to play with, an object just as fun as a new doll or a new fire truck.
Introduce books to them before they can learn to read. Picture books, coloring books, even audio books work well in this cause. Look at a picture book with them and introduce them to what the illustrations mean. Read aloud to them in different voices. Soon enough, they will be eager to read the magic black words themselves.
Try positive reinforcement. Give them a gift or a positive remark once they read each book, or even each page. Compete with your child to see who finishes a book first, and the winner gets a prize.
Reading doesn’t necessary have to mean a book. The newspaper, road signs, restaurant menu, everything can be reading. Just because its comic books, doesn’t mean it’s not literature. It doesn’t matter what kids are reading, as long as they are reading and enjoying it.
Children imitate and learn from their elders. If you yourself are a passionate reader, chances are your children will learn to be one too. It would be a little hypocritical if you force reading on your child when you yourself distaste reading. However, if you are too busy to read, this message should be conveyed to the children so they don’t misunderstand.
There’s no gift better than books, and there’s no need to wait for a formal occasion to make presents of books to your children. Along with toys and candy, buy your kids books regularly.
Keep a track of what your child, teenager or younger, is reading; ask questions about the books, discuss about them if you’ve read it as a kid. Share your views with them, argue or agree, but give honest opinions, or your child can catch it if you’re faking enthusiasm.
Make regular trips to the local library, to a bookstore, to the local book-readings and book signings. Make it a family trip; sit at a café and discuss the books you bought or the stories you heard over coffee and ice-cream. Ask countless questions and give opinions.
Introduce your kids to book series, such as the Anne of Green Gable series, the Narnia Series, the Roald Dahl Collection, according to their age groups. Once they get hooked to the first book, they won’t stop till they finish them all. And after that, it’ll be on to the other books by the same author, or other books in the same genre; you’ll get the rest of your work done for you.
And finally, create an environment of reading around the house. Keep books in the nursery, in the den, in the kitchen and toilets even, always at a height where your children can reach them. Keep the TV off and the phones silent and set aside a family reading time. Discuss books and stories with the members of your family frequently and at any time, ease questions into regular conversations.
Make reading a part of all your lives!