Raising a Reader
Getting your children to read can be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you encourage a love of reading.
1. Give value to books Parents can help their children develop a genuine love for books by showing them that books are valued in the home. To emphasize their importance, a special space can be reserved for them at home. Parents can encourage their children to save money not only for toys but also for books, as well as take the whole family on trips to bookstores to browse and to buy.
2. Model reading. Children look up to their parents and other significant adults as role models and observe what they do. Thus, the importance of children seeing their parents read and enjoy reading. Parents can schedule reading at different times for their child; it does not always have to be at bedtime. They can also read other materials like adult books, magazines, and newspapers beside their child after reading a storybook together.
3. Talk about what you’ve read. Talking about books and the stories in them can be just as fun as talking about games and toys. The literacy experience becomes more authentic to a child when you talk to him about the characters in a books and the turns in a story. These conversations deepen his reading comprehension and improve his critical thinking skills. They also encourage the child to develop and voice out his thoughts and feelings about what he has read, empowering him to have his own opinions.
4. Introduce variety. Do not limit reading to children’s books. Parents can explore other kinds of reading materials that will interest their child: comic books, how-to books, child-friendly magazines, and even coffee table books. This way, a child’s interests expand as he is introduced to diverse topics such as geography, history, and biology.
5. Go beyond the book. One way of extending the literacy experience of reading a book or novel for children is to transform it into another medium. Watching movies or plays based on books or stories they’ve read can further engage them in the story and develop their analytical and critical thinking skills as they compare the different forms.
About the Author
Jeanne Christine Ramos-Co is an education consultant and teacher. She earned her teaching degree from the University of the Philippines and has been teaching children in preschool and the early grades for the past 12 years. She has also conducted workshops and trainings for school principals, teachers, health workers, and mothers.