Reading is a fundamental skill that involves interpreting and comprehending written words. At school, the main focus for children is to learn to read, then as children get older, the focus shifts on reading to learn. Amongst all this learning, sometimes the love of reading gets sidelined, or perhaps the spark of joy fails to ignite. It is difficult to love reading when you struggle to interpret meaning. It is also difficult to love reading when you only see it as a chore or task to be completed. It is proactive to be diligent in encouraging your child to love reading from a young age.
In order to foster a love of reading, it is important to build positive experiences around reading. One way to do this is to simply read books to your child whilst they listen or follow along with their eyes. This can be done in short bursts to build up the ability to sustain attention, and gradually move to longer session, perhaps when the story in quite engaging or the attention span develops. Another way to build a positive experience is to let you child read whatever interests them. They don’t need to be reading a novel, they could read a comic, magazine, newspaper, website, blog or information book. Make reading fun by letting them have control over what they read – the library is a great place for this as there are so many books available and it costs you nothing to join.
The greatest way to foster a love of reading is to share your love of reading with your child. Let them see you reading a book, or if you are reading an article or post on your phone (even if it is social media) tell your child you are reading. Explain how you enjoy reading and how it makes you feel to be able to learn something new or to use your imagination.
Remember: “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” – Emilie Buchwald.
As featured: Glenmore Gazette - Feb '20 & Oran Park Gazette - Feb '20
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.