Sunday, November 6, 2011

Helping Your Child To Love Reading

*Note: This article is a re-post from Babycenter.com.ph. Remember, a love for LEARNING begins with a love for reading ;-) Take advantage of the long weekend (here in the Philippines) - spend some time reading books to your kids! ;-)
Image from weheartbooks.com


Helping your child to love reading


There are lots of fun ways to help your little one learn to love books and stories. And, surprisingly, not all of them involve sitting down with an actual book. 

Use books to bond 

It's not all about reading the words. At this age, it's more about enjoying the interaction with Mom or Dad. When your child sits in your lap as you read aloud, she doesn't just enjoy books, she also enjoys the security of your undivided attention. 

Set up a ritual 

A regular reading time establishes a calming routine young children love -- that's why the bedtime story is a time-honored tradition. But don't forget that many other daily events also provide good reading opportunities. Once in a while try establishing a new ritual with a breakfast story, a bathtime story, a just-home-from-nursery story or even an "on the potty" story. Some toddlers (and older children) who are heavy sleepers are much better able to face the day when their parents "read them awake" rather than hustle them out of bed. 

Choose appropriate books 

Toddlers love board books, bath books and pop-up books -- any type they can hold easily and manipulate themselves. They love stories accompanied by bright, clear realistic pictures. And, of course, they love rhymes. That's not to say your 2-year-old won't appreciate the stories her big brother chooses -- who knows, Harry Potter may end up being her favorite book! Just make sure she has access to simpler books as well. 

Repeat, repeat, repeat 
Stifle your yawns if you've read The Very Hungry Caterpillar every night for the past month and your child still asks to hear it again. Repetition is a hallmark of the toddler years. The reason children love to read the same stories over and over and over again is that they're so thirsty to learn. You'll soon find that your toddler has memorized her favorite passages and is eager to supply key phrases herself -- both signs of increasing readiness to read. 

Ham it up 

Lose your inhibitions when you read to your child. Growl like the Papa Bear inGoldilocks, squeak like Piglet in Winnie-the-Pooh. Kids love drama as much as adults do -- in fact, your youngster may love to pretend to be the scary wolf in The Three Little Pigs. Encourage her, even if it slows the story's progress. She'll get more out of the story if she's participating actively. 

Follow her interests 

Choose books about her favorite activities -- visiting the zoo, swimming, playing catch. Back up her favorite videos and TV programs with books about the characters. You may be mystified by the appeal of Barney, but if your child loves the cheery creature, she'll love the books about its exploits as well. Follow her lead, but do experiment with a wide variety of books. Your little girl who loves dressing up and dolls may, to your surprise, also be the one who asks to hear stories about dinosaurs and monsters again and again, too. 

Go to the library 

Even babies like library story hours, and they're wonderful adventures for toddlers. Your child may well discover a new favorite when it's presented by the beguiling librarian with her soothing voice and perhaps some pictures or puppets to illustrate the action. And, of course, libraries allow parents -- and toddlers -- to take home countless stories without spending a penny. 

Turn on the tape 

Many wonderful books exist on cassette, CD, or audio file. You can feed your child's eagerness to hear Puss in Boots for the umpteenth time, even though you need to go start dinner, by turning on a cassette, instead (with or without the accompanying picture book). You could also tape books and stories yourself, or ask a beloved friend or relative to do so. Hearing granny's voice reading a favorite story is a special treat. 

Don't make books a reward 

Don't tell your child she can listen to a story if she finishes her dinner. When reading is associated with systems of reward and punishment, it isn't a positive experience. Instead, pick times to read that feel natural, such as when you want your toddler to quiet down before her nap. 

Dealing with a wriggler 

Some wriggly youngsters just won't sit still through all of Spot's Birthday Party. Don't worry about it. Just leaf through something short for a few minutes (or even seconds) and then let them go. The next day you can try a slightly longer session. Some children will always be more interested in running around than in reading. If your toddler is the physically active type, she may respond best to the non book-related activities described below. 

Make storytelling a part of life 

While you're at the dinner table or in the car, tell stories -- standards like Goldilocks and the Three Bears are fine, or anecdotes from your own childhood or stories that feature your child as a central character. Make books of your child's drawings or favorite photos, and tell stories about them -- or ask her to be the narrator. 

Point out words everywhere 

Wherever you go, you can show your child that words are an important part of everyday life. Even the youngest toddlers quickly learn, for example, that traffic signs say STOP. Alphabet refrigerator magnets are staples in many homes. Other families label objects around the house, such as the shelves that house BLOCKS, DOLLS, and other toys. If your child is in playgroup or nursery, slip a daily note into her lunchbox. Even if she can't yet read CAT, seeing the word printed on a piece of paper, along with a drawing or sticker of a cute kitten, will be a high point in her day and help excite her interest in reading. If this seems too ambitious, try drawing a heart or smiley face with a simple "I love you", which will help get your toddler excited about the meaning behind words. 

Talk 

Children from families who talk at the dinner table have larger vocabularies, according to researchers at Harvard University in the US. Talk with your toddler, and don't be afraid to use complex words and phrases. Encourage her questions and explanations. Toddlers are curious and wonder endlessly about the world, so don't be shy about trying to explore her interests with her. 

Demonstrate your own love of books 

Your child wants to imitate you. If she sees books all around the house and knows that you like to settle down with one whenever you have a moment to yourself, she'll learn that books are essential to daily life. Showing her your own love of reading is more powerful than making your child sit through a rigid story time. 

2 comments:

The Lazy Mama said...

I love this post! Just the simple act of reading to my kid regularly has made him love books that I can use it as a tantrum tamer. Once I started reading even if he doesn't want to, he will be so curious that he won't be able to resist listening and be on my side until the end of the story.

Truly Rich Mom aka Teacher Mama Tina said...

Thank you for visiting dear! I am glad you liked this post - though it's not originally mine to claim! haha! Reading is really one of the best bonding activities for families! Be blessed always!

Teachermama Tina writes about

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