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Parents can help their kids build reading habits

by Vijay Garg
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Reading regularly is one of the most valuable habits we can build in our lifetime. But in this tech-savvy world where children are more attracted to electronics, helping them develop this habit can present a challenge.
Even though it is one of the most overlooked activities, the habit of reading should be inculcated in children at an early stage as it can benefit their development and enhance their ability to ‘think’. It helps them build concentration, curiosity, creativity, empathy, and a better vocabulary. It’s, therefore, one of the most important habits parents can help their child develop.
A study by Cunningham and Stanovich in 1998 stated that the act of reading can help children compensate for inferior cognitive abilities by building their vocabulary and general knowledge. Reading aids children’s development as they acquire a deep understanding of the world. It broadens their horizons, expanding their thoughts and limitations.
It helps them gain a social and emotional understanding that can improve their ability to express and communicate. Books can showcase different characters, voices and perspectives, which can help children to become more empathetic.
Did you know that typography and illustrations play a huge role in piquing a child’s interest in a book? It not just welcomes them into the fictional world but also helps hook them in to the plot.
Typically, format, text size, white space, and illustrations all communicate who the book is intended for. A book with more visuals is usually intended for younger kids, while a book with a smaller font size and dense copy with little or no visuals appeals to older readers.
As parents, we need to ensure children perceive reading as a pleasurable activity and not a ‘task’.
Parents need to be aware of what factors can help pique a child’s interest. Have you ever observed a kid shuffling through different books in the kids’ section? When a child opens a book, they know if they can read it or not, before reading any of the words. All thanks to the larger font size and colourful illustrations! A small child may not relate to a book unless it is visually captivating.
1. Read To Them While They Are Young – Every Day!
If you want to raise a reader, you must become a reader. If your habit of reading has slid to the margins of your life, you must bring it back now while you are still young! Make space and time for books you read to yourself and with your child. Practice reading every day to help them observe, learn and inculcate the same in their routine.
2. Surround Them With Easy, Fun, Interactive, And Illustrative Books!
It’s important to help kids get acquainted with books and the habit of reading in their most natural habitat. Therefore, ensure that there are enough books in the house! You can use the internet to find a few fun picture books for your child. Picture books are easy to read and interactive enough to keep them engaged in an activity. Books with illustrations are easier to understand, engaging, and can help hold their concentration for longer periods.
3. Allow Them To Pick A Book For Themselves – Discuss The Books They Wish To Read
One of the most effective ways to pique their interest is to take them to a library or a bookstore. Allow them the time to look around and explore. They’re more likely to read something that they have picked out for themselves. You can always help them by narrowing down the choice and showing them a specific section of book they might enjoy reading.
4. Be A Role Model For Your Child – Share Your Own Love For Reading With Them
No matter what you love reading, from magazines to graphic novels, let your child see that you’re reading. A child learns a lot just by observing the adults around them. So if you are excited about reading, they will likely catch the same enthusiasm.
5. Include Reading In Their Bedtime Ritual
Research has shown that even infants or newborns can benefit from the experience of hearing books read. The content often matters less than the sound of your voice, the cadence of the text, and the words themselves. Studies have shown that the number of words an infant is exposed to has a direct impact on language development and literacy. So you can raise a reader from the day they are born! Just make it a habit to share a book and read it before bedtime.
Reading helps develop a child’s intelligence and makes them more confident. It is one of the most important skills that every child needs to succeed in school and life.

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