One of the secrets of a child’s academic success is reading. In fact, the only preparation for school is to help the child to cultivate the habit and love for reading.
How to cultivate the habit of Reading?
Read to your child every day. Exaggerate and vary your voice to fit the characters and plot.
Reread the book to your child often. Children love repetitions especially on their favourite stories..
Have a well-stocked library at home either through purchase or from the library. Ensure the books are easily accessible. I often leave books, magazines lying on the coffee, on their beds for them to pick up to read.
Point out words in books as you read to your child.
Let your child see you read for pleasure or necessity each day. Share interesting articles you have read about in books, newspapers or magazines.
Read predictable books with repeating phrases where the child can read back to you.
Take your child to the library every week. Let your child pick out books he/she is interested in reading. Attend storytelling sessions together. Parents can pick up lots of story-telling tips there.
Expose your child to the rhythm of the language. Try reading nursery rhymes or poems. This helps the child to read with animation in his or her voice. Read the rhymes aloud together. Try Mother Goose or Dr Seuss rhymes.
Help your child develop comprehension skills by discussing a story together before you read it. Look at the cover – make a prediction about what is going to happen in the book. After reading, talk about whether the prediction had come true.
After reading, ask questions about the story to check for understanding. Talk about the story and pictures in the book.
Make sure your child is physically ready to read – you can help by making sure that your child is getting enough rest each night.
Encourage all efforts to read, even a simple retelling of a story.
Sit with your child and listen to him/her read. Praise him for his effort. Show him how to pronounce the words correctly.
As you read to your child, point out sentences, and pause between sentences. Point out tenses, punctuation marks and let him do the same on subsequent pages. This should be done at the 2nd reading so as not to disrupt the flow of the story.
Enjoy the story and the reading process. Do not make it a stressful time of testing your child’s ability.
Subscribe to a children’s magazine. Most kids love the Young Scientists’ Magazines. You can later proceed to Talking Science, Crickets, Readers’ Digest and National Geographic.