- Books, Literature, and Writing
Tips for Getting Kids Interested in Reading
Introduction to Getting Kids Interested in Reading
When I was young, I was lucky enough to be read to and I learned how to read at an early age. I am very grateful for this skill as it has seen me through college and beyond. Nothing gives me greater joy than getting stuck in a good book.
Today, reading to children seems to be neglected and as a result many people are not interested in reading as adults.
In fact, statistics actually state that a majority of adults do not read for pleasure in the United States and this is a real shame. Reading as a hobby is very beneficial as it makes people into better writers, readers and speakers and allows imaginations to flourish. Not only that, but teaching your kids to read is a great bonding process, so let's get started with some great tips for getting kids interested in reading!
Flickr Photo Credit: sundaykofax
Reading is one of the best gifts that you can give your child, because it lasts a lifetime.
When to Start Teaching Children to Read
You can teach your child to read from the moment they are born. No I'm not crazy!
You will talk to your baby everyday. You can read to them, tell them stories, sing to them, recite verses to them and all this will help them learn to both read and talk.
Reading to your child everyday is one of the most important things you can do for your child. A baby listens to everything that is said to them and stores it away. So really you should avoid using 'baby' words and use the correct names for people, places and activities. By doing this you will be allowing your child to broaden their vocabulary more quickly. In fact reading to your child everyday can very easily develop into lifelong enjoyment of a fantastic hobby for your child.
This repeated action of reading everyday will help ensure that your child will enjoy reading, as you progress from baby board books to books for kids that have a story line, which you can both read to your children and they can read to you.
It's not only reading books that will help your child develop an interest in reading and the English language, but engaging in conversations that encourage your child to tell you about their day and how they are feeling. You can also learn and sing songs together, play word games and have fun with rhymes.
Another good way of encouraging this is when you are out and about; you can point at things like advertisements, street signs and anything that has something written on it and ask your child what it says. Try to make sure that they learn at least two new words a day. Also make sure that they learn writing by having your child write out your shopping lists and sign their names on letters.
Do You Read to Your Child Everyday?
I do my best to read to my boys every night before bedtime, but I admit that some nights they miss their stories. Fortunately, their list of favorite books keeps on growing! Let me know if you read to your kids every day, and if so, how do you find the time?
Do You Read to Your Child Everyday?
Creating The Right Environment to Read
You might think that your child is not interested in reading, but there are several ways to spark their interest with a little patience and injection of fun into the process. If kids feel like they are being forced to read, then they will dislike it. But if you start the process at an early age, reading can become second nature to your children.
Kids learn a lot from their parents, so if you spend your time watching TV or playing video games, your child will see this as the norm. On the other hand, if they see you reading books, magazines and newspapers they will want to imitate you and will be interested in reading. If you are a little short on books to read at the moment you could get a book gift basket for yourself.
Make sure you are aware of your child's interest, and choose books accordingly. If your child is interested in a certain cartoon character, like Elmo, then you may want to get them a variety of Elmo learning books. A field trip to the library is a great idea, then they can choose their own books. You may be surprised to find what your child wants to learn about!
Books also make great birthday gifts or gifts for other occasions. If you have grandchildren far away, you could enroll them in a Book of the Month club, which would give them something to look forward to each month, and they could write you a letter describing the books they received.
Books can also be used to play games with your children, like library - encourage your children to put their favorite books in order of preference, alphabetical order and then decide what book to check out and read.
You can also encourage simple drawings that can be labeled with either a single word, a sentence, or a short story (depending on your child's age and writing abilities).
Praise and compliment your child's reading abilities, to build their confidence level and increase their enjoyment of reading. If reading makes your child feel good, they will continue to do it!
How to Teach Reading
One of the most successful techniques for teaching your child to read is the show and read technique. This is where you read to your child while pointing at each word as you read so that your child can see the words and repeat them. Doing this on a daily basis will not only help your child learn to recognize words, but it helps with their memory skills as well!
When a child sees a word and hears it being pronounced at the same time, they will in time learn to recognize the word, how it is said, what it means and how to use it in a sentence. This can take many repetitions, but they will get there.
This is a very basic approach to reading. Of course as as your child gets older, you can start teaching phonics - where your child learns sounds of words. First the child must know the alphabet (this can be done with the help of pictures) and sounds needed to pronounce the letters. Then they can start putting simple sounds together to make words like be, in, cat, men, that and dog.
Phonic programs can be purchased in book form, computer software, videos, or toys that help your child learn basic letter sounds. I have found that flash cards with a letter on one side and a picture of something starting with that letter on the other side is just as much fun as the more expensive learning tools.
There is also the language experience approach where the child can draw lots of pictures and then sentences are formed to explain what the picture depicts. If the child draws themselves playing on a swing, they could write under the picture 'I played on the swings.'
Some Final Words on Reading to Your Children
The basis for learning to read for any child is through what they hear. So a good way of teaching your child to read is to just read to them, play word games and encourage them in every way you can without applying pressure.
In fact, if you read your child a large variety of books, they will learn to recognize a number of words and phrases, and it will be easier for them to eventually identify larger and more complex words due to the exposure they received when they were young.
Remember - reading is one of the best gifts you can give your child, because that skill will help them develop into a successful student and adult!
What are your views, opinions and advice on teaching kids to read?