It is important to help your child develop active reading habits because reading is the cornerstone of all learning.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
The benefits or reading are both cerebral and emotional: reading makes you smarter and it keeps you sharp as you age; it boosts analytical skills; increases vocabulary; improves writing skills and memory.
Reading is also a great escape from life’s everyday stresses! The love of reading is the single most important gift a parent can give a child.
From the time a baby can sit up, parents can begin to develop active reading habits in their child. Hold them close and read, talk and sing to them. Almost immediately, your baby will start to react to mirrors and pictures of faces, shapes, colors.
By six to 12 months of age, your baby will seek tactile responses and want to touch the book, or place it in his or her mouth. As the child gets older, he or she will enjoy the basic stories contained within the pages of the books. All of these responses are helping to develop active reading habits in your child.
Most libraries have mom-tot programs that incorporate a thematic story time and book selection to help you develop active reading habits with your child.
Seek out activities at your local library or books store. They are important first steps in growing the love of reading books.
Unfortunately, when children transition into school, reading tends to become an arduous task. In our world of instant gratification, we fail to remember that children learn to read step-by-step in a process that takes time and patience; each child grasps the concepts at his or her own pace.
Children who are slow to catch on may feel dejected; they are subjected to reading aloud in class, sent to visit reading specialists and judged by other children unfairly.
It is easy to see why active reading habits may become a dreaded activity, especially when homework includes keeping a daily reading log.
At home reading activities should be casual, creative and stress-free. Leave a newspaper on the counter and mention that you had begun to read an article; ask him or her to read it to you.
Have them spell out any words they are unsure of. While cooking dinner or making a special dessert, let your child read the recipe out-loud.
When shopping, let them read the circulars, food labels, or birthday cards, before selecting the right one. If done right, your child may not even know your ulterior motivation.
The most obvious benefit of active reading habits is that practice makes perfect; the more you read the more accomplished you become.
The following tips will help your child develop active reading habits:
- Focus on one sentence at a time.
For many students, seeing too many words on the page becomes distracting, causing your child to lose his or her place. An index card or blank piece of paper can be used to cover everything except the sentence that your child is reading. When they finish a line, move the card down and repeat the process.
- Point to the words.
Encourage your child to follow their reading with their finger, or unsharpened pencil. This technique is beneficial to visual learners. Eventually they will recognize the repetition of a word in context.
- Take turns reading out loud or mouth the words.
When reading at home, you’re your child read out load. Whenever possible, switch places and read out load to them. For auditory learners, hearing the words as they are visualized will improve comprehension.
- Discuss what your read.
Close the book and ask your child take a few minutes to explain what he or she just read. If the text is pertinent to an exam, help your child by writing a few notes to review. Both techniques will help him or her to retain the information and recall it the next day.
- Lead by example.
Shut off the television and read side by side. If your child has a mandated 15 minutes per night, use that time to catch up on your reading. Better yet, go to the library and take out a book. Show your child that reading can be as entertaining as a sitcom.
In the world of video games, Kindles and computers, sitting quietly with a book can appear to a boring activity.
Nurturing the love of reading by developing active reading habits will ensure that your emergent reader understands what he or she is reading and will prepare them for a lifetime of entertainment.