Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How to encourage your child to read

The modern world is so reliant on the boob tube, be it the small one or the bigger one used in indoor or outdoor movies, that we are starting to become a generation of morons who could not even be bothered to browse a book.

Adults are so consumed with television and DVDs that they are not even familiar with simple nursery rhymes. As a result, kids learn so well from their elders that they too grow up without a care for reading.

This can result to an intelligence problem because instead of letting go of their imaginations while reading books, they rely on movies and televisions shows for both idea and visualization.

Are you aware that studies also show that TV addiction has been eyed as the culprit behind the rising cases of obesity all over the world? Kids no longer have time to stretch their muscles and allow the sun to shine on them because they would much rather be couch potatoes who just lie down and watch television while munching on their favorite junk food.

Parents complain that their kids prefer watching movies than reading books. But who can blame these kids when the parents themselves do not even bother to read?
Children are born with clean slates, meaning they do not have preset conditions or preferences. They are like sponges that can siphon everything they see and hear around them.

If you want your children to grow up with a passion for reading then introduce them to the habit while still young. In fact, you can start by reading to your baby while he is still inside the womb.

You may say that reading to a baby who could not even understand the alphabet is stupid. But you're wrong! I am indeed accusing you of prejudging the intellectual capacity of a baby to absorb what has been taught him at an early age.

Reading aloud to your child at a very early age is habit forming not only on your part but on the baby's part as well. It may be tiresome for a mom to read aloud to her one-year old baby but the effort will not be for naught!

Of course, encouraging a child to read does not mean prohibiting him from watching his favorite cartoon shows. However, an extra effort must be made to get him to grow to love reading. If he has a favorite cartoon character then look for books on that cartoon character to get his attention.

There are plenty of cartoons that have been turned into storybooks as well. Take the case of Barney the Dinosaur, Thomas the Train, Scooby Doo, Dora the Explorer and even the good old Sesame Street.

Choose books that have very bright and colorful illustrations because very young kids will always look at the pictures first since they could not read the words yet. You can help them understand the story by acting out the stories using your voice and facial expression.

Develop the reading habit in your home by making books easily available to your kids. It would help to let him build his own library. Place some books near his bed so that he can easily reach out and read any book at any time.

I am amazed how some mothers scrimp on good books saying their children could not yet understand them. A parent who dismisses books as something unimportant has no business blaming their kids if they grow up stupid.

To keep your kid interested in books while growing up, bring them to book shops and look for good books together. This can be a good bonding time for you and your kids too.

And remember that while it would be a good idea to encourage children to read, I would not advise parents to push their kids so much because they will end up hating rather than loving books. Good for parents who started their kids early on with a love for books. I pity those who realize too late that their six-year olds should start reading books already. Frankly, they are never going to succeed in forcing their kids to read at that age.

Children will always have lesser attention span so keep your reading time short but enjoyable so they will look forward to your reading sessions. You may think that the nursery rhymes are recommended for kids because they are short but they do have another purpose. The rhyme and repetition in these stories are easily remembered by kids, some of whom will be able to remember them even when they become adults already.

Encouraging your child to read does not only mean presenting him with books for his age level. It also means allowing him to get hold of your legal codes or lifestyle magazines while you are reading them. Kids will always take an interest to what their parents are doing so seeing their moms reading something would make them want to also do the same thing.


You do not need to spend heavily on books although most of the really big and thick books for pre-schoolers are quite expensive. Time your book-buying spree during sale season so you would at least get some discount on the books. There are second hand shops selling children's books that still look as good as new and they are so cheap!
Take the time to read to your kids while they are still young. Books are also very good investments so never scrimp on theme especially when it comes to very good books.

The digital age may mean more Internet and surfing time but the knowledge gained by kids from reading books can never compare to what they will be able to get from films, TV shows and even from the net. Books can take your kids to different countries and galaxies. With books, their horizon is unlimited.

Parents should realize that the best legacy they can give their children is education and what better way to promote learning than by encouraging them to read early in life. Material things can be lost or stolen but the knowledge and ideas that children will get from reading books will stay with them forever.

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