Are you unable to get your child interested in reading or unable to teach your child how to read?
We all know that a child’s attention is hard to grasp, and getting them fixated on one task is just not easy.
But if one thing’s for sure, it’s that you aren’t alone in experiencing this problem!
And the good news is, there are a lot of ways to ensure that your child gets interested and wants to read.
Reading is necessary for your child to build a sense of language and learn how to healthily communicate their needs.
Especially when it comes to English reading for kids, its importance lies in how well they’re able to communicate with their elders and peers.
Parenting blogger, Minakshi from mommystimeline points out that, “Books can be your little one’s best friend. As parents, we need to introduce them to the world of books so that the kids too inculcate this habit.
Now, making the toddler sit down for even 5 minutes is a herculean task but as parents, we are not left with any choice but to choose the same.”
Let’s start off by talking about a few things that you as parents need to practise regularly to encourage your child to develop the habit of reading.
6 Sure-Fire Tips To Get Your Child To Read
Read, read, and read
The way to teach your child to read, and to get them interested in stories, is by reading to them.
Have a routine habit of reading to them. This can be done right before bedtime, preferably. You can use children’s picture storybooks and show your child correlating pictures while reading the story to them.
Choose certain central, repetitive words from stories whenever you read it to your child, and enunciate them with their letter sounds.
For example, pronouncing the single letter sounds w/o/l/f and teaching them that joining the sounds makes the word wolf. Following this, show them what a wolf looks like.
Aside from this, it’s also important for parents to be role model readers. Develop the habit of reading for yourself and chances are, your children will follow suit.
“Me and my father are avid readers. You will never find us without a book. So it was always a goal for me to impart the same to my kids.
And I can proudly say that I succeeded in doing so. Both my kids love their books.” says Gayatri who is a mother as well as a blogger at Motherly Mess.
Find words to teach wherever you go
Whether you’re in a mall or in the car, find signs or billboards to show your child, spell the word out and pronounce each letter sound before joining the sounds to pronounce the word.
Practise interactive storytelling
Make sure you ask your children questions related to the story after the story.
This can also include subjective questions like what they learned from the story and what they liked the most about it.
Children also often have a repeated favourite story. In this case, feel free to read the story to your child whenever your child pleases.
After you’ve read it to them a few times, stop in between and ask your child what happens next.
This can also be done with new stories where you stop the story before the plot and ask your child to come up with their own plot for the story.
You can even look at just the pictures in a storybook and form your own story with your child without actually reading it.
Another interesting way to get your child to comprehend what they’re reading is by getting them to classify the story as a particular type or genre after reading it.
Ask them to differentiate between real and make-believe (non-fiction and fiction), action, comedy, drama, etc.
If it’s a combination of a few genres, ask them to mention those combinations. They can do this by grouping the different stories they’ve read.
Teach your kids to rhyme words. Ask them to think of words that end with the same last letters and list them out.
Label with your child
Label things with their names around your house and practise it with your child. You can also engage in labelling when you’re out and about.
Instead of pointing something out and telling your child what it is, write it down on paper or even type it on your phone and read it with your child.
Take your child with you to the bookstore or library
When you’re going to the bookstore or library, take your child with you so they can pick out the books they want to read with you.
Dr Priyam Sharma, who is a homoeopathic paediatrician, suggests gifting children’s books on various occasions. “Giving a book as a present will help your child know the worth of books and get them into the habit of reading”.
Getting your child involved in the decision-making process in this way will get them more excited about participating in reading.
PRO TIP: You can also try activity boxes like Flintobox which have fun story adventures inside every box. The best part about these stories is that they are age-appropriate, they introduce children to various concepts and are based on new themes every single month! In fact, with the fun characters in the book, they make for great storytelling experiences! For more information about Flintobox, visit this link >
Let’s now look at some reading games and activities you can participate in with your child to improve their reading and comprehending abilities.
Reading Games & Activities To Improve Your Child’s Comprehension Skills:
Sing the alphabet song with your kid
Now, this is a basic activity but it’s extremely vital in helping your child develop and understand the phonics (sounds and pronunciation) of the alphabet.
You can also teach kids phonics by emphasizing the sounds of different letters of the alphabet in any important words that they come across quite often.
Games based on learning how to decode words
Before teaching your child how they can understand everything they read, simply teach them how to read.
This basically means that you need to get your child to understand that b+a+t, when pronounced together would sound out as ‘bat’.
They need to learn this before they can actually understand what a bat is.
To do this, you can also show them some simple words that are used very often, so they can recognize them as soon as they see them.
For example, ask them to sound out a list of words like, “he, she, it, for, from, at, to, is, has, had, have,” and so on.
Teach them how different letters sound when put together. Like, ‘ou, ay, ch, th,’ etc.
You can make a game out of it by treating them every time they pronounce a new word or letter combination correctly.
You can also do it the other way around by sounding out words and getting your child to verbally spell them out, and even write the spelling down once they’re a bit more advanced.
Identifying objects and places after decoding words
The best way to do this is by going outdoors and writing down any objects that come to your eye on different pieces of paper.
Ask your kids to come out with you and hand them one of the papers. Once they manage to read it, they need to match it with the object in the environment.
This can be done when your child is a little experienced with decoding words.
You can also have a scavenger hunt in your house where you hide papers with clues leading to the next place the next clue is hidden in.
This would make for a very fun game for your kids. In the end, you can have a small gift or reward for your kid. Hint: it could be a book!
There are many fun ways for your kids to keep getting more and more advanced in their reading skills. Like, you can have a flip book with three letters (one letter on each page with three sets of pages next to each other) that all form meaningful words and get your child to read them out.
You can also play Pictionary with them where your child has to read a word, understand what it looks like, and draw it out to explain it to you. They can, of course, use the help of another adult for this.
When your child is a bit more of an expert you can even challenge them to list out the most three-lettered or four-lettered words they know within a specific time limit.
These are all fun ways for you to improve your child’s reading skills consciously. But you need to realize that your child learns everything mostly by modelling your behaviour.
This means that you have to practise what you preach to your children quite literally if you want to see them exhibit that behaviour. If you want them to be interested in and curious about books, you have to be that way, too.
Find inspirational stories to read to them. If they like a particular sportsman or any other kind of celebrity, find that person’s biography and explain to your child why that person is famous for what they do in a fun, story format.
Encourage your child to be the storyteller from time to time. This can even be just conjuring up their own story.
When they’re done reciting their conjured up story to you, you can even help them with creating their own book by helping them write the story down and draw illustrations to go with the story.
Here’s a famous story that Flintobox recreated with colourful illustrations and animations! Your child is sure to love it 🙂
“Interest in reading wasn’t natural for my daughter. She has arrived here with small gradual steps.
There can be no other better role models for kids than their own parents.” is the view, blogger Bhawna from Yellow Mellow Life, has to share with us
Engaging in things like this will help your child realize the importance of storytelling and thereby, reading stories.
They’ll soon understand that reading stories or anything, is a means to look into what goes on in the writer’s head and they’ll begin to find it interesting and fun.
Have loads of fun reading with your child! Have we missed out on any point? Feel free to leave a comment below and share your views on the same!