Knowing how to read is vital to a child’s future learning success. It sets the stage for proficient oral communication and also makes it easier for him or her to understand what’s happening around. We all know the importance of reading – but did you know that early literacy skills are also essential in behavioural and emotional development?
When it comes to teaching your child to read, the most effective way is to nurture a love for reading. In this blog post, we’ll share five ways you can encourage your child to pick up a book and spur him or her to fall in love with it.
1. Reading in the womb
Educating your child can start the moment they are in the womb. Many parents have been unconsciously doing so. They talk to their baby often and sometimes read a book or two. Research has shown that by the third trimester, babies not only pick up language patterns – they can also recognise some of the words they have heard in the womb.
The stories you read to your unborn child can evoke emotions in him or her. The rhyming lines and lullabies may also create a sense of voice modulation from an early age. Out in the real world, this may mean that he or she can pick up newer words and understand their meanings faster.
Reading in the womb can help in bonding, not just between parent and child, but also between partners. So, take turns reading to your unborn child and enjoy the meaningful connection along the way.
2. Create a reading routine
Bedtime is usually free from distractions for you and your child, and is therefore a great time for reading. As both you and your child wind down for the day, make it a point to go through a bedtime story. You can let your child choose his or her own book, or have a few on rotation. You don’t even have to read a different story each time – kids love hearing the same stories over and over again. In fact, this can even improve their learning ability.
3. Make space for reading
Convert a space in your home into a hideout for the family bookworms. All you need are some cosy furniture, a couple of snuggly blankets, and of course, books! Keep the area bare and free of clutter to create a conducive environment for some serious literacy action.
If you can’t spare the space, leaving books around the house can help. You don’t need to just chuck them all over, though. Identify the areas where you think your child may get bored easily, then stock up some age-appropriate literature there. Some examples are the dining area, study table, the car, or even perhaps the bathroom.
4. Reward with reading
Remember when your child was begging you to read another bedtime story? As children grow, the type of rewards they get also changes. Instead, why not give books or storytelling airtime as a treat?
Doing so will condition your child to connect books with positive reinforcement. In time, he or she will inevitably develop a fondness for reading.
5. Get a library card
Libraries are great for young children, both in nurturing their reading skills and developing discipline in them. In a library, your child will have the freedom to choose freely. Everyone has to keep their voices down, too, so your child will also have to be mindful of his or her behaviour.
To a child, getting a personalised library card can also be a big flex. Use this as a motivational tool by telling him or her when you will be applying for the card. You will also get the opportunity to share the responsibilities of owning one, such as ensuring books are returned on time.
How to help a child struggling with reading
There are many things you can do to encourage your child to read, including engaging the services of professionals. At MindChamps, we offer enrichment programmes which will help to boost your child’s confidence in reading. Through a unique and thematic learning approach, our trainers focus on four distinct areas of language development – reading, pre-writing, speaking and listening, to create a foundation for students to become strong readers.
Our MindChamps Reading programme will help your child discover a love for reading. A complimentary literacy assessment will also be conducted to ensure that your child is placed at a suitable reading level for him or her to learn comfortably.