This Christmas, give your child the best gift you could ever give – the habit of reading!
Reading is undoubtedly the best habit any child could have. You can pick up desirable values, learn new facts, and venture into a world limited only by your imagination..from just a humble book. It is also a very cheap hobby (the libraries are free, as long as you return the books on time!).
I recently attended two reading workshops at a public library (‘Ready….Get Set….Read’ and ‘Readers for Life’). These two workshops are targeted at parents of young children. They are free and you can sign up here. You may even bring your child along!
The first workshop is more practical-based, they give you suggestions on how you can engage your child and help your child to develop early literacy skills, while the second workshop is a little more theoretical. I signed up for both workshops because they were back-to-back, and each only took a hour. At the end of these sessions, you may even borrow the story books that have been taken out for demonstration.
According to research (link below), what you do with you child at home and your own attitudes, beliefs and expectations help to shape your child’s reading habits.
Here’s a brief summary of the workshops – 5 best ways to help child get ready to read!
- Playing: Play with your child! Use things, actions and language to represent real and imaginary experiences. Children will learn to express themselves and understand the meaning of words through play.
- Talking: Talk to you child and you will allow the child to mirror you and develop their own language skills.
- Singing: Music and singing help the child to develop awareness of sounds that are used in pronouncing words. By singing to your child, you can also grow your child’s musical interests. One good way is to sing nursery rhymes. Repetition is boring to you, but good for your child.
- Reading: Read books together with your child. Again, don’t be afraid to read the same book over and over again. You can start asking higher-order questions as your child gets older and more familiar with the book (for example, Why did the character in the story do this?)
- Writing: Writing will help your child recognise letters. You can do things like writing a mini book together, or writing postcards, letters to members of the family.
For a more suggestions, and recommended books for your child, you may pick up a copy of ‘A Guide for Reading to Little Ones’ from your nearest library.
Here’s an open access journal article about the benefits of joint book reading (in case you really want to get technical and see some research papers). [Last assessed Dec 17 2013]