How do you get your little ones to love reading? Sarit Grinberg, founder of Scholar Kids, provides you with some tips and tricks.
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
Reading to and with young kids helps them better understand the world and develop important language and learning skills. When you read together, kids will develop a love for reading that can last a lifetime.
It is important for parents to find the time to sit down with their kids and take a book (or magazine), and just spend time looking at the pictures, reading, and asking questions about what they see.
Here are some tips to motive your kids to read:
Start as early as possible
Even if you have a newborn, it is not too early to introduce them to reading. Babies love the sound of rhythms and the intonations of your voice. Get kids to listen and look at books as early as possible. As early as 1 month, babies may imitate expressions and are able to follow moving objects with their eyes, and as they get older they will get more active when hearing sounds and looking at pictures.
A reading environment
Kids are most likely to read if they have many books at home, and it makes a big impact if kids see their parents read, even if it is the newspaper or a magazine (but not the computer!). Your kids will get the idea that reading can be for pleasure and not just for school.
Let kids pick out their own books
Book choice is a strong motivation for readers. Let your kids pick out their own book. Stop by the library, bookshop, or let them shop for it online. They are more likely to read the books that they choose.
Rewards for reading
Readers of all ages feel a sense of accomplishment when completing a book. It is a great idea to reward early readers, either by having a star chart or treating your kids to their favourite dessert. Depending on the difficulty level, you can reward by chapter or by book. You can also check out libraries to see if there are book contests to give kids motivation to read as many books as they can.
Make it a family experience
Some of us may have very good memories of our parents reading to us every night or sitting in the living room reading together. Reading to your kids will inspire them, especially if you make the story come alive by changing your voice and pace, and using sound effects and movements.
Reading together also makes it a time for bonding and cuddling – something both of you will appreciate after a long day. This will help kids subconsciously associate reading with warmth, joy and love, and helps seed the ground for passionate readers later in life.
Finding out their interests
You can stimulate your kids’ passions and interests. Does he or she love horses? Fairies? Dinosaurs? Encouraging your kids’ interests will also make your kids value having their own hobbies and passions. It also helps knowing their interests when you want to buy them a book for their birthday or holiday as it is likely they will enjoy the book because of the theme.
Book clubs, whether they are in a library or online, are a great place for kids to share their love for books. They can suggest books to others, get ideas about books to read, give their critique of a book, and take part in book events that the club is holding. It is great for kids to find others who share the same interests!
Keep in mind that it is the process that counts. Some kids take longer to read than others, and some enjoy it more than others. Don’t rush them or pressure them to finish a sentence, a chapter, or a book. Your job is to help and guide them and encourage them not to give up.
Visit www.scholar-kids.se to join our book club, enter the Scholar Kids Book Contest, and to find out more about reading!
By Sarit Grinberg
Sarit began her academic training in the theatre arts, and later started to teach English as a Second Language in Canada and in Sweden. For the last few years, she has been a freelance English teacher and working in International Schools in Sweden. She is currently teaching English in a primary school and working towards her master’s degree in International and Comparative Education at Stockholm University, and is helping parents keep their kids on track in their education by co-founding Scholar Kids.