Turn off the screen this World Book Day and help your child connect with reading from a tangible page.
Fast storylines, flashy presentations and loud noises dominate the TV shows and games our children crave. Reading, by comparison, appears a rather outdated pastime.
Meanwhile, experts agree unanimously that reading is good for us. Academic journal Child Development finds that it increases intelligence and improves vocabulary. Science has also proved that reading fiction improves empathy. For those with energetic children, the Mayo Clinic suggests that reading can improve sleeping habits.
So how can you achieve these benefits for your own children, while competing with the instant entertainment offered by mass media? Here are our five tips to assist you in that effort.
Read your children bed-time stories and make it a habit
Starting from a young age, it is important to read them bed-time stories regularly. They will get used to listening to well-structured and complete storylines. Start with simple picture-books and increase the difficulty with time. Try to do it as often as possible – ideally daily, making it a special time both you and your child can look forward to and rely on. Continue even when they are learning how to read.
Read books which they are interested in
While there are masses of children’s books out there, it might be wise to start with some related to their interests. There are children’s books about characters from their favourite Disney films and even video games.
When they learn how to read, practise with them
If your child has started reading at school, it is vital to keep them practising at home. Again, ensure that what they’re reading is fun for them, and make it a rewarding experience. Always be encouraging and praise them for particularly good achievements.
Set a good example
Children like to imitate, so demonstrating that reading is also part of your regular life will make them want to imitate the habit of reading.
Discuss the reading with your child, and encourage them to discuss it with their peers
To improve their memory and understanding of what they have read, it is helpful to encourage them to discuss the material, helping them to improve their ability to read between the lines from a young age.
Scientific evidence aside, getting yourself and your children to read will provide you with new opportunities to interact. Let your child surprise you with their progress and embark into the exciting world of books.