10 tips for raising a reader
Kids can learn to become readers with a little effort
In a society where electronic entertainment seems to be taking centre stage, there is still hope for such pastimes as reading. Getting children interested in reading regularly while they are young can help to instil a lifelong habit that will help them reap plenty of rewards. Reading is good for the brain, as well as the soul. A good book can teach you things, pique your interest, stir your emotions or make you laugh. Many parents feel their children are always going to reach for a remote control before a book, but there are plenty of ways to help them learn to love what books have to offer.
Here are 10 tips for raising a reader:
- Get excited. Children pay attention to your attitudes, even when you think they don’t. Make reading seem like fun time, rather than a daily chore that has to be done before they can have their real fun. Never treat reading like it’s a punishment or burden.
- Let them read. Even when they first begin to learn how to read, hand the book off to them, so they can read to you. While you may need to help them get through it, they will get better with practice. Scour the library for level-one books (or whatever level they are at) and get them practicing daily.
- You read, too. Even when they are good readers, still take the time to read some stories with them. That way, you can discuss the story afterward and make it a fun activity that you do together. Have a set time each day that you read together, such as right before bedtime.
- Buy them books. Having books in the home at all times encourages reading. Books do not have to be purchased new. You can save a lot of money by visiting used book sales or looking for used books for sale in local community groups..
- Role model. Children need to grow up in a home where they see the adults around them reading. Letting them catch you regularly reading will automatically get them more interested in the idea of doing it themselves.
- Go to the library—often. A library is an amazing source for getting kids interested in reading. The Doha Mums Children’s Library is open several days a week (depending on volunteers’ schedules) Take them regularly and let them walk around and explore. Although not open yet, the Qatar National Library website provides links to a number of online English and Arabic reading resources.
- Let them choose the books. Parents often try to choose the books. This may work for toddlers, but once they are in elementary school, it may not. Let children explore the shelves and find things that interest them. They are far more likely to read if it’s something they chose and that they find of interest.
- Create a reading corner. Set up a cosy reading corner in your home, complete with a bookshelf, beanbag chair and lamp. Encourage kids to sit there and read. Make it inviting so they will want to visit the corner.
- Start a kid’s reading club. Most people don’t think to do this, but creating a kid’s reading group can be a fun way to get kids interested in reading. Just like adult book clubs, they will all read a book, and then come together to discuss it. The books can get more challenging as the group progresses in their reading skills.
- Look for events. Often, author events and story-time events can be found at Qatar’s museums and the Doha Mums Children’s Library. Find some of those to take your child to. They can read the book first, then meet the author or see the story acted out in a play.
Jacqueline Bodnar is a freelance writer who blogs, and is the author of the forthcoming book “Starting Your Career as a Professional Blogger,” (Skyhorse Publishing, June 2013).