How to Develop Reading Habits in Children?

5 ways to develop reading habits in children

“The world belongs to those who read.” -Rick Holland

Reading habits are encouraged across all cultures and age groups. Through reading, a person can master skills and qualities that act as essential assets for a lifetime. Developing a reading habit from an early age is therefore crucial for the overall development of a child. A child undertakes an activity only when it answers an inner need or fulfils a purpose. So, to successfully raise a child as an inquisitive reader, focus on their area of interest. Making reading child-led and helping them develop a positive, mindful relationship with BOOKS is the key.

Why is reading from an early age important?

It is easier to establish new habits at a young age. When a person starts reading in her formative years, it becomes an indispensable part of her existence. The benefits of encouraging reading from a young age are:

  • It enhances imaginative and creative abilities.

Fiction and fantasy books introduce the child to a world that differs from reality. This new world acts as a stimulant and improves the child’s imagination and creativity. 

  • It develops emotional faculties. 

An author’s work always contains a range of emotions. A child feels a connection with the characters of the book and becomes sensitive to such emotional variations. 

  • It improves communication skills. 

As a reader, the child is exposed to a myriad of emotions and situations. Consequently, the child’s comprehension skills and self-expressions improve.

  • It widens perspective.

Books contain infinite information. When exposed to this sea of information, a child learns to view things from multiple angles and develops a curious nature.

How to develop reading habits in children?

To develop your children’s interest in reading, introduce it in the guise of a game or as a ceremonial ritual. Just as a game is played according to rules, and rituals are performed with a sense of purpose and ceremony. Similarly, setting the grounds for healthy reading habits can be done in the following five ways:

  1. Design a space dedicated to reading!
How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 1: Design a space dedicated to reading

This space can be in the corner of your child’s bedroom or even the living room. Decorate this space with a bookshelf and posters of famous book characters. Make this space inviting for your child by placing colourful cushions, beautiful lights, and a comfortable couch. Most importantly, make this a read-only zone with no distractions. You can also make reading a part of the morning and night-time ritual when the child is feeling relaxed. If possible, make books easily accessible all around the house.

How to develop reading habits in children? A dedicated space for reading is really helpful

Psst! And I am close to executing what Dr Seuss says “Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.”

2. Let your child pick the book!

How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 2- Keep it child-led. Let your child pick the book!

Visit bookstores with your child and let her or him choose the books. This way, the child will feel a sense of independence. The child will also relate the book picking activity to a fun event and look forward to it every time. Get your child enrolled in reading groups and libraries; get her/him a library card. Many cities have lucrative options of doorstep libraries, too; they deliver the books home as per the reader’s reading list requirements and furnish new book sets on a monthly or quarterly basis. Explore it in your cities! If you want to know one in Delhi/NCR, let me know in the comment section below.

3. Be an active participant while reading a book!

How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 3- Parents be an active participant while reading a book to your child.

Make reading a book thrilling by reading aloud, enacting roles, making storyboards, and using different voices and facial expressions for characters. Maybe sing along the rhyming sentences! My little one, Pratham, prefers me being a rapper to Dr Seuss’ books. I can’t forget Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss! It’s fun, though! 

Gift a picture dictionary or flashcards to your child and use them during the reading session. This way, the child will grasp things faster. The experience will also become more enjoyable. Once the child finishes a book, inquire about her or his favourite part, the things she or he disliked, and what would she or he like to read next.

4. Introduce your child to diverse genres!

How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 4- Introduce books of diverse genres, it really helps.

Encourage your child to read fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, poetry, prose, comic books, and historical or geographical books. At times, the child gets too absorbed into the magical world opened by a fictional or fantasy book. The new world may detach a child from her or his reality and lead to isolation and loneliness. When a child reads books of various genres, she or he can maintain a balance between fiction and reality and prevent the onset of “anti-social” behavior. Introducing diverse genres is our simple solution for those who maintain this critical concern towards reading. 

 However, in my personal opinion, your sky can be pink; who can or should have a say over that? And seeing things differently liberates you, gives you the chance to explore and decide on them for yourselves, not make you aloof! 

5. Be the pillar of support for your child!

How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 5- Be the pillar of support for your children, appreciate and motivate them

Every child is unique. Therefore, each child has a different reading pace, reading choice, and intellectual prowess. But if your child is struggling, identify the problem and provide a solution as soon as possible. Not having a strong foundation of phonics and a good understanding of words and letters is one of the common reasons. A child might have a slow reading pace or may have trouble with the vocabulary of the book. Re-assure your child of her or his capabilities and help her or him overcome the obstacles. 

What do children overcome through reading?

  • Insomnia
  • Fear of public speaking
  • Fluency

Many children develop reading habits but are unable to sustain them. They lose interest in reading due to many reasons.

  • An increase in the difficulty level is the most common one.
  • As they grow up, they prioritize other activities.

To maintain the reading habit in your child,

  • Keep a literacy-rich environment
  • Parents can also keep book reading as their ‘Me-time’ practice. The family can together have a reading time.
  • Don’t forget to compliment your child on finishing a book, emphasize the importance of reading as they grow up, and
  • Keep the ritual of reading aloud to children even when they become independent readers. 

Now, I’d take your leave by these parting words…

HELP THE CHILDREN TO MAKE THEIR READING A PASSION BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ADULTS OF THE FUTURE GENERATION. AND THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE AS POWERFUL AS READING!

And enjoy the sweet treat of reading with your children and happy parenting! 😊

How to Select the Right Book for your Little One!

How to select the Right Book for your child by Pallavi Prakash Kumar at She Narrates

Let us read more
Let us read to the little ones more,
Let us inculcate the habit of reading
Let us gift the little ones the comfort of reading,
Let us all thrive
Let us all help the little ones thrive,
Celebrate, it’s Autumn, the season of pumpkin spice!

If you already don’t know, we are hosting Autumn Reads from 1-7 October as all the book-lovers across the world celebrate the Book Reading Week, 2020.
With Autumn Reads, we are inviting parents and caregivers to read to their children books for the entire week. If you have been connected with us for a while now then you know I am a mother to a 4-year-old, Pratham. 

For our book reading week, Pratham and I together have curated a list of books we will be reading. While designing the entire reading activity for him, I had in mind quite some dimensions. So if you want to join us for Autumn reads, or simply are looking for some suggestion on how to select the right book for your child, these are some of the things I had in mind and might help you curate yours:

  • Look Around for Inspiration: As the autumn season kicks in right in time with the World Book Reading Week, it inspired me to come up with Autumn Reads, signifying comfort reading. And Autumn Reads for me would be incomplete without a pumpkin story and to add to the momentum and the joy of reading in my little learner Pratham, Peppa one of his favourite cartoon character, in fact, the favourite character of almost all children including Pratham and me ☺, ‘Peppa’s Pumpkin Party’ was our first choice. So, just look around and you will find something you and your child can relate to!
  • Align with the Stage of Learning: Pratham is in his phonics building years, so any book that would stimulate his learning while he enjoys it would be a winner for me. ‘Anna Banana’ by Treehouse Tales written by Delyth Owen was our next pick. It has many consonant cluster/blending words and to reinforce his phonics learning (especially the grapheme-phoneme correspondence words). Treehouse Tales books- Oliver onion, Oriol orange, etc. are extremely useful and effective, I feel.
    Further to tap into the fun of Onomatopoeia Julia Donaldson’s (illustrated are by Axel Scheffler) book ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ would be Pratham’s fifth book read, after ‘Room on the Broom’, ‘Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book’, ‘The Gruffalo Song and Other Songs’ and ‘The Snail and the Whale’.
    Look for what your child is currently learning and then find the books that complement his/her learning.
  • Go Straight to What They Already Love: Pratham’s love for animal and bird books is something I keep in mind before beginning with the book list curation. To name a few of his favourite animal and bird books are Bears, Tigers, Dogs, Owls, Toucans, and Pelicans. This time we have ‘Tiger’ by Nick Butterworth (@harpercollinsch) and ‘The Bumblebear’ by Nadia Shireen (@penguinkids @penguinrandomhouse), power-packed with colourful illustrations and creative narration. When our children already love an idea, a book on similar lines encourages their creativity and imagination many folds.
  • Include Daily-Life Lessons: One of the dietary requirements keeping in mind the little learners’ age, high protein is vital because kids on their feet, full of life are running around, jumping, playing, cycling, etc., so high protein is a must in the diet. I know you are wondering, how in the mid of the name of book lists, we are talking about high proteins! Because the theme for my next pick was to take Pratham one step closer to understanding the importance of a healthy nutritious diet. The next choice of the book in our bookshelf for Autumn is ‘Beans on Toast- The story of baked beans’ by Paul Dowling. And yes, Pratham likes beans, so to help him understand how it is sourced and how it comes to our plate in a story yet creative format, this was my pick for the reading week.
  • You can Never Go Wrong with Values: To encourage positive behaviour and moral values with the concept of invisible bucket my next book choice was ‘Have you filled a bucket today? – A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids’ by Carol McCloud. Along the lines of emotions and to encourage Pratham to express his feelings, be able to name his feelings, and associate with a colour, I am introducing ‘The Color Monster’ by Anna Llenas. ‘A Book of Hugs’ by Dave Ross to introduce him to various kinds of hugs there is. Let reading help you sow the seeds of positivity and good values!
  • Look for More Than Just Books: All books can form a basis for various fun learning activities beyond reading! Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, one of the favourite books of all kids opted by young parents, is our pick also. I have planned a Lego creative activity for Pratham to be done after we’ve read the book. Activities like these double his excitement and help him remember and relate to characters and their stories for long!
  • A Power-Packed Book: Last but certainly not the least ‘The Wonderful Things You Will Be’ by Emily Winfield Martin would help me encourage thinking, listening skills and let his imagination run riot by asking some open-ended questions found in the cover page of the book “What will you grow up to be?”, “Will you tell a story that only you know?” and others mentioned in this book.

Learning needs to be fun and to encourage the love of books, consequently, the love of learning in my little learner, I curate books keeping in mind his interests first and then the activities that I can tailor the book reading time with, especially Lego building activity. I also look for ways to encourage his thinking and listening skills. Asking him open-ended questions helps him remain focused, which therefore helps in developing his concentration. I prefer storybooks because stories are the best way to kindle creativity, curious learning, build imagination, and create a natural curiosity about the wider world.

There’s one last tip, and probably the best one (save the best for last as they say!), team up with your little one while you choose the books. Let them take the lead if they are comfortable doing that. If they aren’t, then show them the book and ask questions and look at what they are naturally drawn towards. Building fun activities can be a fun activity itself!

Here’s the list of books for ‘Autumn Reads’ for Pratham:

  1. Tiger by Nick Butterworth
  2. Anna Banana from Treehouse Tales
  3. Beans on Toast: The story of baked beans by Paul Dowling
  4. A Book of Hugs by Dave Ross
  5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  6. A Squash and a Squeeze by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
  7. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
  8. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud
  9. The Color Monster: a story about emotions by Anna Llenas
  10. Peppa’s Pumpkin Party

We await to see yours; Join us for Autumn Reads!
Happy Reading!