Saturday, 31 August 2013

Raising 'readers' Part II

As I promised previous post - Raising 'readers' Part I, here are few pointers on how to develope a good reading habit in you child. However, all is not lost if your kid is grown up, you can still use some of them by modifying them according to your child’s age and needs.

A Must read book' The Children Who Loved Books' by Peter Carnavas

Don’t impose, make them curious

I never imposed reading on her directly. The very first book i bought for her was ‘Does the princess count?’. It was a picture book, with the story of princess who counts along with other animals and forest hiking stuff.

When I first started reading to her, I would pick up a book with the expression that I've found something interesting and then I start reading ( rather singing).

She would curiously come towards me and then sit on my lap and starts pointing at the pictures in the book. 

Though she could hardly relate with my singing and the book pictures, but she enjoyed my singing and use to love pointing colorful pictures.

Be creative

My little one loves to play around with books, which is totally fine. However, sometimes it becomes difficult for me to read it to her.  So started making funny yet catchy sounds while reading books to them. Read the book in the most expressive manners. While reading fruits and vegetables book I always stress more on colours and appearance, while for animal books i used to do actions with their sounds.

For example: ‘Look, here we have Round and Red apple or Long and Green bottle gourd. Here we have furry fizzy cat which says, ‘Meow Meow’ or yellow ducks which says, ‘Quack Quack’

Every baby loves funny voices and sound effects. Make the most of it while it lasts! Act out the voices of characters. Sing the words and create your own rhyme. Over emphasized voices may also help babies understand nature and emotions of the story. While doing this move your hands, try to sign the words and action. just try doing everything under the sun that makes a ‘reading session’ fun for both of you. 

For grown ups (I have not tried this, but it’s in my wish list) one can also try doing some hand/ puppet show or build a small tent for your toddler, where you both enjoy reading or story telling.

You may also create a special reading nook/corner for your child to read books. 

Be interactive

Don’t just read it to them, let them participate too. Allow them to hold book or turn pages for you.

When it comes to books where animals or different characters are involved , you may modulate your voice accordingly (You need not to be perfect in mimicking).
Also start insisting them to point at pictures (Guide their hands onto the more tactile and sensory board books). 

At this age kids do lot of mirror act i.e. they try to imitate you. And so, you may also encourage them to imitate some animal sounds. Keep it interactive by asking them in between the session, like can you show me how does dog barks? Your kid will definitely try to imitate you. 

Repeat, repeat, repeat

Yes! Repetition does wonders with kids. Try keep the same tempo and atmosphere while reading to them. Read their favourite story in the same manner  or sing a particular rhyme in te the same tone and pitch. This makes easier for them to identify, understand and remember the characters and their actions. And which gradually helps them to imitate. Yes you may add your innovations here and there in their routine, but repeat the actions/sounds enacted in previous reading session. 

Pick up the right book

There are so many kids book available  in market for kids. I am sure that you would be confused about which one is the right pick for your little reader. In early years make sure that the book you select is not much complicated. It should be easy to hold, easy to open, easy to flip pages and must have attractive pictures and colours. Try to select ‘Picture books’ which has daily routine items on it. So that your little one could relate to it and understand the similarity. 

Other than the number book (Does the princess count?), I had also bought few more picture books like My first vegetables, fruits, animals.  Later, I intend to buy books on 'Things at home, Shopping centre, Park or Airport. And I would also like to get a sensory books for her, we have already read few of them in library and she enjoys them reading.

Make it a routine.

Kids learning capabilities depends a lot on the consistency applied while teaching. make sure that you dedicate 20-40 mins everyday for the reading. You may read books as part of a bedtime ritual or during quiet time between naps. Consistency in your reading routine will make your child more involved and moreover, it would help them to develope a life long reading habit. 

PS. These are my thoughts based on my personal experiences. Every child is different and so each of them achieve their milestone as per their likes, interest and capabilities. As stated in the very first point ‘Don’t impose, make them curious’. If your child shows no interest in story or books. Just move on, maybe there are some other learning activity which would excite him. 

Enjoy reading, happy learning :-)

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