Make The Love Of Reading A Gift To Your Child
My wife and I recently returned from babysitting our three preschool grandchildren for three days. While we were there we observed the numerous electronic devises available to entertain them including T.V., video games, DVD movies and battery operated toys. In spite of all of this competition, we were able to entice them to accept our offers to read books with them, and this resulted in five year old twins and a three year old crawling enthusiastically into our laps for story time. We mainly attributed their interest in books to our children’s decision to spend time reading to them.
My love of reading started when my fourth grade teacher helped me view a good story as a personal adventure. By teaching me to associate my feelings with the dialogue, identify with some of the characters and see in my mind’s eye the development of the plot, she created in me excitement to open a book and begin to read.
The time to acquire a love for reading is in the early years. The following are methods that can help children establish an interest in reading:
Read aloud to your children. Stop to discuss interesting and important passages to stimulate their imagination and involvement in the story.
Encourage them to sharpen their skills in visual imagery by closing their eyes and telling you how the characters feel, how a soft bunny’s fur feels to the touch, and what a barking dog sounds like.
Serve as a good model for your children. How much time do you as parents spend reading to them vs. watching television, talking on the phone, or sitting at your computer.
Start reading to your children in infancy. Snuggle up at bedtime with a good children’s story, or pick out a time after they awaken from a nap and read a story while they are fresh and alert. Don’t read too long, and notice for signs of restlessness and diminishing interest. Parents can increase the children’s attention span and interest in reading by gradually increasing the amount of time spent reading to them.
Be patient and willing to explain words that they may not understand. This response helps build vocabulary skills and aids children in developing a love for learning about what new words mean. Respect the children’s personal preferences and allow them to make choices in the books they want to read.
Give your children one of the most valuable gifts in life, the love of reading.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2010