Reading with your child is not just a pre-school activity. As parents may well know, knowing the alphabets does not on its own lead to advanced reading abilities. Readers have to recognise the context and the intended audience of the text. Appropriate vocabulary and sentence patterns also contribute to better comprehension of reading material. Like any other skill, reading requires constant practice.
For parents looking to encourage their children to read more, it is important to understand that merely instructing them to do so isn’t enough. Investing time in reading with kids is what helps them get interested in literature.
Reading alongside kids not only makes the activity engaging and entertaining but also helps parents gain a keen insight into what kind of reads their child enjoys and why. This makes it a meaningful activity for both parent and child.
Golden rule of reading with your child
The golden rule of reading with your child requires them to select a piece that they are interested in and share it with you. No matter how similar the child is to the parent, they are unique individuals exploring who they are and may not hold the same interests as the parents. The piece of text that he has chosen to share with you is an expression of that exploration. It is definitely more beneficial for a parent to understand why a child shows interest in a particular genre rather than to simply judge them for it.
Even beyond books, you can get a child interested in reading by picking out news clippings you find interesting and sharing these with them. This too will allow discussion and interaction.
Few other tips on reading with kids:
- Try reading headlines with interesting news or perspectives
Tip: Use the "read, look and explain" technique
For headlines that your child may not understand immediately, use scaffolding techniques to arouse interest. Read the headlines, point to the keywords and pictures and explain the relationship, the link or the connotations.
- Progress to reading short pieces with pictures that he can relate to
Tip: Use the "read, ask and answer" technique
For short pieces, read with your child and ask them questions- the gist, his/her feelings or thoughts. Allow them to answer openly using their imagination. If the piece is a fictional narrative, ask them what may happen next- this will help hone their understanding of the piece.
- Include reads that you like with values that you would like your child to learn
Tip: Use the "read, ask and share" technique
For more personal pieces, read your child your favorite poem, quote, extract from a book or even the weeks news article. Ask them why they think you like it and then affirm their contribution while sharing yours.
I hope my sharing would bring out the interest to read in your child as we all know ‘readers are leaders’ and reading with your child everyday even for 15 minutes helps in strong bonding between parent and child.
Happy reading and strong bonding!!
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