How to instil your child with a love of readingJanuary 24, 2014
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A love of reading is one of the most precious gifts that you can give to your child. As they grow up, if they’ve always had lots of stories read to them, and then begin to enjoy reading by themselves, a love of reading will open up worlds of entertainment and information throughout the rest of their lives.
So how do you get kids to love books? Well, of course, it’s as simple as sitting down to read with them regularly but every individual is different. Some people are natural bookworms from the very beginning, others might only ever read books when they have to and never pick up a book out of choice once they’ve left school.
But there are ways you can encourage that love of reading – and by doing so, you’ll be doing your child a good service.
The earlier you can introduce your baby to books, the better. Of course, when they are very young, they’ll be more interested in sucking and chewing the books rather than the stories they contain! That’s why board books are built to be so indestructible after all. But just the act of sitting down and reading with your baby a few times a day will provide them with a sense of calm and relaxation. The cosy position most people take up to read will also fill them with reassurance, even though it may only be on a subliminal level. Babies take in a lot of information before they can speak, and the more you can stimulate them with books and pictures and reading stories, the quicker their language skills will develop.
There is a great article about how to get children to love books which is featured on the www.gltc.co.uk/blog/. It has some great tips and ideas on ways to get kids to appreciate books and reading. For instance, if you get a bookshelf or a set of shelves for your child’s room that they can easily access themselves, they’ll naturally go to get a book when they want one. Books shouldn’t be kept high up and out of reach – unless, of course, you have a child who loves the sound of ripping paper! But even if that’s the case, you can adapt what you put on your child’s bookcase according to their temperament and age. Start with the plastic coated board books that survive pretty much anything, and as your child understands that books are not toys and are objects to be treasured, you can gradually introduce some paperback picture books and see how they get on with treating them gently.
One key aspect of encouraging a love of reading is to make sure that children get to hear a wide range of stories. You might start with the books you remember loving as a child, or the ones with the most enticing of illustrations. Don’t forget the classic children’s tales like Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows as well as the modern classics like The Gruffalo and ‘The story of the little mole who knew it was none of his business.’ And if you’ve not yet read the mole story, be prepared to talk about quite a yucky subject!
You may have a natural bookworm for a child, but if you don’t, don’t despair. They’ll appreciate the value of books one day – and if you keep spending time reading them stories, that day may come sooner than you think!