Learning to read is an important skill that your child must acquire. Just like teaching your child to write, learning to read is equally important and you must help her with this skill. Studies have revealed that you can create the love for reading in her before she actually begins to read by herself or with you.
Although learning to read usually takes place when the child is around 5 years old, you can start reading to her as early as you can. This method of getting her to understand that books are important and can also be fun is called indirect intrusion. It may be surprising that not all the methods used to help your child with learning to read involve sitting down near her with a book.
How to encourage learning to read in your child?
There are various ways you can encourage learning to read in your child. Some ways to develop the learning to read skill are:
- Choose books appropriate for your child. She may enjoy books with bright and illustrative pictures. Very young children usually fancy board books, touch and feel books, pop up books etc.
- Do not make each reading session a long one. This may bore your child. She will enjoy shorter books and shorter reading sessions.
- If your child asks you to repeat the same story to her even after a month, do not hesitate to do so. She may soon start quoting her favourite phrases herself. This indicates that your toddler is slowly getting ready to read by herself.
- Remember that actions speak louder than words. As you read out a story to your toddler, make actions to imitate the different characters in the story. These will also sharpen your child's visualisation skills.
- Read out boards to your toddler wherever you see them. Some examples are the STOP board at the traffic signal or the labels on various shelves.
- Remember, you know what your child likes better than the author. If your toddler child distracted by long sentences, use short sentences. Or you may focus more on the illustrations in the book.
- Find out what activities your child is interested in and get her books according to her tastes. If she appears to be interested in the zoo, try getting her a book with many animals.
- Get various books to read to her from the library in your neighbourhood.
- If your child seems interested in you reading out a story to her and you are busy with getting dinner ready for a party, you can consider playing an audio cassette containing the story. It is a good idea to record the story in your own voice.
- You can read out stories to her before putting her to sleep. Alternatively you can bind her drawings together and make up a story based on them. Remember to make her the central character of the story.
- Do not get put off if your toddler appears restless and non-interested when you read to her. Keep trying and you will eventually win your toddler's interest in reading.
- Set yourself as an example. If your child sees books around her and notices how much you like reading, she will begin to enjoy reading.
- Books serve as a source of bonding. As she sits in your lap listening to you read loudly to her, she enjoys both the book and your undivided attention. Cuddle her as you read to her.
Do not get put off and keep trying if your child takes time or refuses to show an interest in learning to read. Keep trying and you will find that gifting the child with the skill of learning to read is something that she will value for a lifetime.
Amar Chitra Katha, Karadi tales, Champak, Panchatantra, Chandamama and Jataka tales contain simple stories with illustrations that you can read out to your toddler. In her later years, she will enjoy reading these books on her own. Most of these books are available both in English and regional languages.