Reading for Fun, Reading for Language, Reading for Life!

Reading for Fun, Reading for Language, Reading for Life!

Every parent dreams that their child should love to read. Why is this so? Because reading opens so many doors in school and beyond. This blog is on Reading for Fun, Reading for Language, Reading for Life!

So what is the magic spell that will turn your kids into passionate readers? The answer is simple, and probably something you already expected-reading with your child. If the idea of reading puts even you off, don’t worry-books with your child can be incredibly fun! after you learn and unlearn some things.

Reading for Fun, Reading for Language, Reading for Life!

What-

  • The most useful books for young children are not books of vegetables, colors, or numbers, but books with stories inside.

  • This is because firstly, stories are much more fun and we want children to find joy in books when they are first starting. Secondly, lists of words like colors or vegetables can be learned better with everyday activities and real objects. Thirdly, storybooks impart important language skills that word books cannot provide.

Which-

  • A few criteria for the ideal storybooks are:
    • Books that have a maximum of 1-2 sentences with a corresponding picture on each page
    • Some books that do not have complex science concepts or are too heavy with morals
    • Few books with relatable characters-either human children, or other characters that behave like children.
    • Those that include dialogue
    • Some that have repetition of some words or phrases
    • Reading books that have a lot of different emotions
    • Many books that rhyme is a bonus!
  • Keep in mind, however, that your child’s interest is the first criterion. If your child is very interested in the book, then nothing else matters.

When-

  • Research shows that you can start reading with your child even when they are as young as 8 months old!

  • As your child grows, you can re-use well-loved books to talk about newer concepts-so your child’s favorite storybook can grow with them!

Why-

  • Books teach children many things. Even before children learn that C-A-T is a cat, they can still learn:
    • Which way to hold a book-spine on the left for most languages including English, cover page in front
    • Flipping pages one at a time in the correct order
    • The difference between text and pictures
    • Eventually, recognizing some small, repeated words/phrases just by looking at them.
  • All these skills are called emergent literacy skills.
  • Storybooks also provide ways to teach spoken language concepts.

How-

  • The first rule of reading a storybook with your child is that the book is only a tool to communicate and learn. Follow your child’s lead while interacting with the storybooks.
    • There is no law written anywhere that you always have to start at the beginning, go in order, and read till the end. 
    • If you start reading the book and get carried away talking after seeing something on the second page, you are free to abandon the book and continue talking.
    • If your child decides to linger on a favorite page or event, or even flip to it in the beginning, you can certainly do that.
    • You can also initially ‘talk’ through the book in your native language if you wish to do so and start reading it properly later.
  • The second rule is that you must seek to *engage* your child first, before quizzing them on every page with questions. 
  • A handy tip to remember is the five-finger ratio: for every one time you ask your child a question about the book, make four comments that don’t require your child to respond. These can be a description (That plane is going up in the sky), an opinion (It looks fun), a related memory (We went on a plane to visit your aunt last year), or even an interjection (Wow!).

  • The next rule is to model language appropriate for your child’s development. The key here is to model language one step above what your child is already doing. 
    • If your child is not yet speaking, model pointing to pictures and saying 1-2 words per page. 
    • If your child is using 1-2 words then model, using 3-4 word descriptive sentences per page. 
    • When your child does that, model telling the story with transition words and sequencing.
    • After that, you can model going beyond the story by branching into related topics, discussing the different perspectives of different characters, putting yourselves in their place, and talking about what you might do differently.
  • Finally, the last and most important tip is to have fun! By associating books with positive experiences, you are instilling a life-long love of reading in your child, and that is the most powerful gift in literacy!
  • For more information about reading skills and how to facilitate them, read more here and here.
  • Please leave us a comment if you liked this article!
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