How to Get Your Child Hooked on Reading
As a preschool teacher, one of the things I’ve learned that parents become most concerned about is getting their child to read. For some kids, it may come naturally—they pick up a book, remember words from memory, and just automatically get interested. For others, it may take a bit of ingenuity. From my experience, it helps to make parents understand a few key elements to get their child hooked on reading.
Here are four ways that could you get help your child hooked on reading.
Know what works best for your their age and interests
Larger pictures with little to no text would likely capture the attention of toddlers (needless to say, along with the voice and guidance of their parent). Books with illustrations accompanied by 1-2 short sentences could motivate early readers. The brief, sometimes repetitive text, help some children in becoming confident in what they know, and as well, challenging them enough to become familiar with a few new words.
Consistently read along with them
Second, read along with your child! This could both be done formally and casually. When I say formally, I mean setting a time in the day and putting in some effort to read together. While, indeed, there are books designed to help independent reading, there are lengthier stories that could fuel a child’s imagination. One of the key motivations to read is discovering new ideas and visualising things that could be. Books are a gateway to another world! Also, a lot of the time, children learn by modelling, and so if they see their parent taking an interest in reading, they will likely be inspired to do it, too. Casual reading would be referring to reading labels or signs out loud as you pass them by. It is pointing out words and saying it along with your child. Consistent practice will help them realise that they are surrounded by text and that anywhere in their surrounding is an opportunity to expand their vocabulary. Not to mention, putting things and words in context could boost their ability to comprehend things they read.
Incorporate active learning in your daily life and routines
I personally think it is not necessary to teach the alphabet beginning from A then through to Z. Letters can be introduced through their names, and let’s be real, not everyone’s name will begin with A. They can also be introduced through the daily things we do. Sing a song about your routine, spell things out loud, and just simply accompany your child’s budding knowledge of the alphabet with concrete examples from their existing environment. Say a word’s beginning letter and its sound, and perhaps challenge them to think of other words that have this sound from the books you read. Doing this as a regular exercise could naturally help your child realise that letters form a word, and that words form sentences.
Make reading feel fun (and not like a chore)
A great way to encourage your child's reading is by helping them visualise stories and come up with their own ideas. As they begin to read, you may consider scaffolding their learning by letting them draw and helping them label parts of their work. Use these details to start your own story together, or simply create your own alphabet or word chart at home. Help them write words down and record what they say. Read back what you make together, and do so with emotion. Perhaps even consider doing this with props! This way, it makes the entire process more meaningful, and helps your child associate reading with the feeling of having fun. The collaboration between you and your child could help them persevere and continuously do better. Not only will they learn how to read, but they will learn how to value their own effort (and yours), too.