Reading is the foundation of a child’s ability to learn and future academic success, and it’s about much more than improving their literacy skills. It gives them something positive to do that is fun but also educational at the same time, it expands their imagination, it helps them learn how to build empathy, to understand more about the word, and it helps to build independence and self-confidence. Reading plays a pivotal role in not just their education, but also their social and emotional development.
Get into a Reading Habit
Creating a reading friendly environment at home is an important step in order to help your child improve literacy skills and to help foster an appreciation of reading. If you can get them interested in this way, and you can create a stimulating and comfortable environment with plenty of reading material, then the rest should take care of itself. What you are really aiming for is for them to develop a passion for reading, at which point it may be hard to tear them away! Creating the right climate at home by following these simple steps will help to make reading an important part of their day and help your child grow into an avid reader.
Reading to your child and introducing them to the world of books from infancy will help them in their language acquisition and to help develop their imagination. When a child hears a book being read out loud, it helps them to develop their language skills at a faster rate. This will help to give them a head start in school.
Create a Kid’s Reading Area
Be creative with your space at home and set up a little reading area for them that is comfortable and they will enjoy being in. This could be in the corner of a room, maybe their bedroom or the living room, or if you want to be inventive you could even convert an unused space in your house such as a closet or attic space into an imaginative little reading nook. Another nice idea is buying or making your own tee-pee. This is cozy and cute, and it will help turn reading into even more of an adventure!
Make it Comfortable
Whichever space you choose, you’ll want to furnish it with blankets, pillows and some soft toys so that it is warm, cozy and inviting. You could put some pictures of their favorite story characters or animals on the walls to help stimulate their imagination and keep them entertained.
Having access to their own little bookshelf in their reading space will help them to take pride in and ownership over their new hobby, and you can promise a trip to the book store every couple of weeks for them to buy a new book and start filling it up. Make sure that the space is somewhere with lots of natural light in the daytime, so they don’t strain their eyes.
Sticking to a reading routine
Kids thrive on routine, and you should aim to get them into the routine of a little bit of independent reading in their little reading space each day, and a bedtime story at night. Setting a good example by reading yourself is also important to encourage your child and increase their desire to do the same. Talking to them about what they are reading and having little discussions will further help to create a positive reading culture and atmosphere in your home.
Contributed by freelance writer Jocelyn Brown