The benefits of reading and telling stories for your child are endless. It is extremely crucial to cultivate reading habit among young children, starting as early as toddler stage. A good reading habit stays with your child for long and becomes an important life-skill.
How to Develop Reading Habit in Children (Starting with Toddler)
Here are 13 simple tips to develop a healthy reading habit and raise a lifelong reader.
1) Start early
There are plenty of books specially curated towards the baby’s developmental need. You can make a point to purchase books along with toys. Let your baby grab them, play with them, and get used to the shape and idea of books. They are too young to read anyway.
Even if you have not introduced a book to your child yet, no problem. Start Now. It is never late to start developing a healthy reading habit.
2) Read and tell stories to your child
Experts cannot stress enough the importance of reading aloud to children. Reading stories and picture books are extremely important for babies and toddlers. This way the child knows that there exists a wonderful world in the pages of books. Your child will be only too eager to try to read them. This becomes the start of wonderful lifelong relation with books and a healthy habit is cultivated along the way.
3) Keep plenty of age-appropriate books of different types
Parents and children are spoilt for choice nowadays by the types of books available in the market. Expose your child to every kind of book starting with pictures, interactive, short stories, different character books. It will not be long before your child has a favourite kind.
Make sure to bring some more of the types your child enjoys. Keep a steady supply to ensure the habit is grown. At a very young age, the idea is just to let the child enjoy the process of reading and develop the habit. Variety can be introduced a little later.
4) Visit your local library and book store with your child
Make a weekly or bi-weekly schedule and visit the local library or bookstore with your children. Let them pick up the books of their choice. You can pick up books you would like to read to them. The decision-making process will empower the children. They will see through and finish the books of their choice.
5) Provide guidance and encouragement
Your child will need plenty of guidance and encouragement from you at the early stage. Be prepared for it. Never lose patience. Children need to know they are just doing fine. And reading is a process and cultivating a good reading habit takes time. Assure your child of your patience and guidance always. Be prepared to explain the meaning of lots of words when they are just starting.
6) Create a distraction-free reading area
Set up a fun comfortable reading area for your child. Keep the distractions of toys and screen away.
7) Carry a book everywhere
One way to encourage reading always is to carry your child’s favourite books everywhere – to any trip, doctor’s clinic, etc. The waiting time when the child is getting bored is when you can gently encourage reading.
8) Discuss the books
Once you or your child has finished reading a book, discuss the storyline and different characters. Ask your child what was his her favourite part. It helps the child make more connections thus increasing interest in the story.
9) Bedtime storytelling is the key
If there is only one thing you can do with your child during a hectic day, make it the bedtime storytelling session. Experts list the magnitude of the benefits of reading bedtime stories to children. The habit of reading at bedtime and the experience of satisfaction and joy stay with your child. Over time he or she learns to associate the process of reading with the feeling of happiness.
Also Read: When to Start Reading to Baby
10) Set an example
Be a reader and read a book yourself in free time. Be a role model for your child. Seeing you pick up different books, magazines helps your child understand that reading is not a chore or something which only children are expected to do. He or she will understand that even grownups read for pleasure and knowledge.
11) Explore different genres
When your child starts reading independently at around 7-8 years age, introduce different genres like comic books, science fiction, mystery, etc. The variety increases interest and makes reading exciting. This will make your child a voracious reader and the seed of a lifelong reading habit will be planted.
Also Read: Reading Milestones by Age
12) Create conscious empty time
Parents tend to fill up the days of children with full of activities so that kids do not get bored. But this might rather act as counterproductive. Being bored is fine and good. Especially during childhood. Only then creativity flows.
If your child is bored and has nothing to do, chances are that he or she will finally pick up the book which has been gathering dust in the corner for weeks now. And pretty soon will probably start enjoying it too.
This way the child now knows that – he or she has the option of reading a book when bored, which was earlier not explicitly understood. Give it a try. This really comes from the practical experience of many parents.
13) Make it fun
Just ensure your child is enjoying the process. Reading should be fun and enjoyable. Only then you can raise a lifelong reader.
Benefits of Reading for Children?
- Reading develops vocabulary and language skills
- A book ignites imagination and curiosity
- Self-reading exercises the brain by strengthening and building new neuron connections
- Practice makes perfect. Children get better by reading more and more
- Good reading habit builds self-confidence
- The habit of reading increase concentration and patience
- Reading a book increases a child’s understanding of the world around
- Reading habit develops social and communication skills
- Storybooks expose children to other cultures. Kids learn to value, appreciate them
- A healthy reading habit helps children perform academically better in school
- Reading is a great tool to while away boredom
- Children who love to read, spend considerably lesser time in front of the screen
Here is a video on benefits of reading.