Books are the gateway to the world of mystery, imagination and fantasy. A good book allows an individual to vicariously experience the joys and perils of life on earth whilst strengthening an understanding of the world. Reading is a joyful experience that stimulates all our senses resulting in the production of vivid imagination and ideas. The importance of reading is often underestimated. A consistent reading habit helps broaden an individual’s perspective about the society surrounding them and the world. It helps in the rapid development of an individual’s cognitive, linguistic as well as information retention skills. Moreover, individuals have a plethora of options to read ranging from non-fiction like interesting biographies to fiction like exciting thrillers and adventure stories. Reading thus helps mould an all-rounded being, who is sensitive to the differences of the world and is empathetic and insightful.
In today’s world, reading can be considered to be a lost skill, especially amongst the younger generation. The young ones are enamoured by the glitz and sheen of electronic gadgets replacing their interest to read. Parents find it increasingly difficult to encourage children to read books due to such addictive distractions. Inculcating a habit of reading from a young age can help children become intuitive, creative and curious. It helps children develop their cognitive and linguistic abilities in an enthralling manner. Therefore, motivating children to pick up a habit of reading is extremely beneficial for their holistic development. Parents are often in a conundrum as to how to encourage their children to read consistently. Fret not, this article shall outline a few effective ways to increase children’s reading skills and help develop consistent reading habits.
Benefits of reading amongst children
Reading can help a child’s education, social and cognitive development, and mental and physical well-being. Numerous studies carried out and commissioned by BookTrust, a UK-based reading charity and research organisation, have shown how reading has a significant positive impact on a child’s development. According to one study, reading helps youngsters develop their literacy abilities later in life, promotes adult-child social contact, and helps kids become more aware of their surroundings. Additionally, it describes how reading can serve as a child’s lifelong “reliable supply of information.” For kids growing up in difficult situations, this constancy can be extremely helpful because it gives them consistent access to the text.
A few benefits of reading for children are as follows.
- Boosts cognitive development: In terms of our intelligence, reasoning, language development, and information processing, cognitive development describes how we see and understand the world. Reading to kids gives them a thorough awareness of their surroundings and helps them acquire background knowledge. Their cognitive growth is aided by the application of this newly learned background information to interpret what they see, hear, and read.
- Develops linguistic skills and expand vocabulary: Even in the early months of a child’s life, reading can aid in language development and activate the area of the brain that manages language. Reading can expose children to several new words. If they read often, they man across certain words several times helping them learn and retain such words.
- Improves concentration and stimulates creativity: A child’s ability to focus can be enhanced with consistent and regular reading. Additionally, it will teach kids how to concentrate and listen for extended periods of time, which will help them in school. In order to picture characters, see their locations and environments, and predict what will happen next when reading a book, we must use our imagination. If we want to learn about different individuals, locations, events, and times, we must use our imagination. Children who have a more developed imagination are also more creative because they use their ideas in their work
- Enhances academic learning: For a child to even move forward in school, they must be able to read. Reading is necessary in order to follow the test’s instructions and even comprehend or respond to the questions.
- Improves written comprehension: As reading improves vocabulary, listening and comprehension skills it automatically improves writing skills as well.
Steps to improve children’s reading skills
Being a good reader is more crucial to academic success than anything else. The one-on-one time and attention that will help youngsters succeed in reading can be given by parents because they are the ones who know their kids the best. For a child to grow, it is essential to assist them in acquiring excellent reading abilities. Finding the problem and catching up with children is crucial if they start to fall behind in their reading. A few effective methods to increase children’s reading skills are as follows.
- Set a reading time: Parents can set a mandatory reading time for children when they are at home. Depending upon the age of the child, parents can suggest a book or ask them to pick a book of their choice. The reading time can be anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Minimise addictive distractions: Addictive distractions for children these days include video games, mobile games, electronic gadgets etc. These can hamper children’s interest in reading. Parents can reduce time spent on electronic gadgets and stop offering them as rewards for good work done by children. Instead, they can reward children with exciting storybooks, comic books or picture books that can help develop their reading skills. If the child is bored or is to be kept busy, they can be given a book instead of a gadget.
- Take them to libraries: Libraries often provide a plethora of reading options for all age groups. Introduce children to libraries at their school or community libraries. Speak to them about the importance of libraries and let them explore the place for some time. Parents can introduce various titles and genres to their children and can even encourage children to borrow their favourite books to take home.
- Choose the right book: Parents can introduce books to children according to their needs and age. Children may lose interest in reading if what they read does not excite them. Young children can be provided with comics or stories with moral values ingrained in them. Folk tales or epics which are action-packed and emotive can be suggested to. For older children, visual encyclopaedias, biographies of fmaour personalities, thrillers and adventure genres can be suggested. The books they initially start reading helps children develop a consistent reading habit whilst shaping their future likes and dislikes.
- Let them read outside of books: Books are a great way to inculcate a reading habit, however, they are not exhaustive. Reading outside books can help children increase their reading skills as well. For instance, parents can let their children read a recipe from a cookbook if they ask for a certain dish.
- Ask children to read aloud: Reading aloud has multiple benefits for children. Reading material aloud not just helps a child understand the material better but also gives them time to retain and analyse it. It helps improves their vocal and speech skills and helps them learn the art of emotion.
- Set goals: Parents can set short-term goals for children. For instance, parents can ask children to complete any book they like in a month. They can then have a discussion on the book read and ask questions such as- “What does the story revolve around?”, “Who was your favourite character?”, “What did you like most about the book?”, “Have you learned any new words?”. These discussions will stimulate a child’s mind and reinforce them to read more and more.
These were a few methods to increase reading skills amongst children. Parents must remember every child is unique and thus, they have to ensure they adopt methods in a way that is best for their child. Often reading skills are difficult to develop among children due to other underlying reasons such as mental and physical disorders. These are best handled by a professional, and parents must be patient and considerate. Reading is a great way to explore the mysteries of the world and the imagination of authors. Thus, increasing children’s reading skills is key to future academic success as well as a well-developed personality.