Based on research, early literacy predicts educational and professional success later on in life. We live in a highly literate world so being able to read and write gives your child an advantage. But it's not only the ability to read and write, since many children can do these, it's also the love of reading and writing so they'd want to read and it becomes a daily habit.
How can you encourage your child to want to read? How can you make it a daily habit so that it becomes second nature for your child to pick up a book and read it without being forced or prompted? Below are 7 ways that could help your child become an avid reader.
1. Model reading
Your child will be encouraged to read if you are reading your own books. Set a time for yourself each day to sit with your book to read. It could be for 15 minutes each day at the same time. Don't save all your reading time when your child is napping or sleeping otherwise your child won't ever see you reading.
2. Read to your child every day
All children love to be read to. It's a special time for both of you to bond over a book. This creates happy memories for your child and he'll want to read too. Do this even if your child is older. You can take turns reading a few paragraphs or pages each. The fun part is in the discussion over the book. You can have many meaning conversations.
3. Carry books with you
Keep a few books with you in the car and one or two in your handbag. When you're waiting in a long queue or an appointment or get caught in traffic jams, you can hand your child a book (instead of the electronic gadget!)
4. Visit the library weekly
Choose a Library Day and each week visit the library on that day to borrow and return books. If your child is younger, you can visit when they have story time,
5. Shop at bookstores
Make your local bookstore one of your stops while out shopping. Browse new titles or look at the clearance items for inexpensive books for your child. Build up your home library so your child will have a selection of books to choose from each day.
6. Browse the magazine sections while grocery shopping
Don't skip the magazine aisle while out grocery shopping. Magazines make great reading materials also. Magazines are usually focused on a particular interest. Is your child interested in cooking, crafting, sewing, popular children's characters, rock collecting - there should be a magazine that caters to it.
7. Rummage through second hand bookstores and garage/yard sales for books
If you see a second hand book store or a garage sale, yard sale, car boot sale or trash and treasure market then stop by and rummage through what they have. Let your child rummage through as well and choose what he likes. You'll never know what you'll find and that's the best part because sometimes your child might find a real treasure. This will get him excited to find and read more books.
These are some of the ways that I've encouraged my children to read and develop a reading habit. What are your favourites or what else do you do?