Research has shown that reading for pleasure not only improves children’s academic performance but also helps them develop a broader vocabulary and increased general knowledge among many other benefits.
Getting children to read, however, is not always an easy task. Below I look at reading tips for parents to help you foster a love for reading in your children.
Develop their vocabulary
For younger children (from age six months), regularly show pictures of different objects and animals, including the sounds they make. Follow up with activities relating to the books in a real-life situation, e.g. visit the zoo or an animal farm.
Younger children enjoy singing rhymes and lullabies and will especially enjoy Dr Seuss’s rhyming books. Older children still enjoy hearing stories and you can build their vocabulary by reading books aloud that they might find too difficult to read themselves.
Find books they will enjoy
Regularly read books aloud that will interest your child. This will eventually motivate him/her to learn to read and encourage your child to read for enjoyment. Children love “pop-up” books or short, simple stories with interesting illustrations/photos of familiar objects. Choose books (together) that will interest your child (pets, ballet, dinosaurs, sea creatures, etc.). Snuggling in your arms, encourage your child to follow your finger while reading (this develops left-right scanning).
Do paired reading
For older children, you might want to try paired reading. Choose a book that is below your child’s age level. You read the book aloud, using fingers on words, and your child follows the words as you read. Read the book a second time. The third time, allow your child to read the book aloud. Listen carefully to hear where your child hesitates, then give the correct response before anxiety develops. Your child then repeats the word and reads on. Read again until your child reads fluently. Only ask your child to read sentences or passages you have first read together and which you are confident, can be read successfully. Your child must enjoy success.
Talk about the story
Reading to children between ages two to five years old should be accompanied by talking about the story or content. Encourage your child to guess what comes next when you pause. How will the story end? What do you think will happen? Talk about what you have read to develop understanding, the use of language of print and attentive listening.
- Set a good example. Read where your children can see you and talk about what you have read.
- Schedule family reading-time. Put the TV off, put out snacks and let everyone explain what they have read.
- Put out magazines and newspaper where children can reach them.
- Show your child the importance of reading in everyday life – from the weather report to the business hours of shops.
- Do not pressurise your child to read a certain number of pages within a limited time.
- Comply with a child’s request to read stories. Make time!
- Read in exciting places, like in the garden in a tent, or create a reading corner.
- Play oral word games like “I spy” to create language consciousness.
- Build up a repertoire of rhymes, jingles and songs, that your child can enjoy and learn by heart. This will help your child develop memory and sequencing skills while having fun.
- Make it fun! Praise attention, effort and correct responses.
Impaq offers unique reading books for learners in the Foundation Phase. The books encourage emergent reading, which is a core aspect when learning a language. Browse through the website to learn more.