Inculcating Reading Habits in Children

The practice of reading has been a characteristic of human life and society, since time immemorial. In fact it would be quite correct to say that reading is the basic and commonplace tool with which an individual can access to vast and unbounded knowledge.

It is universally known that some of the most eminent personalities of the world have been avid readers throughout their lives. Abraham Lincoln, Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, J.L. Nehru, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Nirad. C. Chaudhuri are but a few names in this category. Undeniably, their quest for knowledge were instrumental in making them what they were.

In the present day circumstances, all across the globe, the habit of reading is gradually becoming a neglected art. It is being pushed into oblivion by the widespread and powerful invasion of the television and the internet. However the optimists and the millions of book lovers all over the globe, strongly believe that inspite of all odds, book-reading is here and to stay. It will demonstrate enough resilience and retain its position of importance.

Be that as it may, many of our might be avid readers themselves and will continue to be so. Herein arises the need to inculcate this habit in your children too, so that they can enrich their lives during the formative years and even after wards.

Given below are some useful suggestions as to how to develop this habit in your children

Train the kids to read as early as possible. Ideally you could begin around age three when they are beginning to master their alphabets. Reading could begin with matching the letters to the corresponding images, followed by spelling out of the words.

Initially, you need to provide books with lots of colourful images or illustrations, in order capture the child’s fancy. The child will spend a good deal of time looking at the images and interpreting them according to his level of intelligence. In the next step he will begin focussing on the written matter, out of sheer curiosity. That will be the beginning of his reading.

Side by side, you could foster interest in reading, by regularly reading out to the child, each day. The ideal time would be bedtime, when the child his fed, washed and brushed and you are through with your chores for the day, whether at home or in the office. Reading out to the child will help to sooth his nerves, fire his imagination and finally lull him to sleep.

Encourage your child to read aloud, repeat what you have read, after you. This practice will help him to memorise sounds pronunciations and spellings better.

It would be helpful to procure a few books with simple sentences and rudimentary stories, ad then leave them strewn round your child’s’ room. Instinctively, your child will try to emulate you. Initially he may fumble, make errors in pronunciations and spellings. Don’t chide him for that .Instead, correct him gently.

When the child has finished with a particular set of books, make sure you get new ones for him. This is a must for sustaining his interest in reading. For heaven’s sake don’t crib or cringe about how expensive books are, and so forth. You must realise it is a sound investment you are making for your child’s future.

As your child grows older, and the years pass by, you need to ensure that he has a steady supply of books/reading material of his choice. You could even ask your relatives and friends to gift your child books on his birthday or during festivals. These books will become his permanent friends.

Without making it obvious, keep a close watch what kind of reading your child is indulging in. You must ensure that he is unable to lay his hands on pornography and other obscene literary works. Even if you happen to possess some of the world’s best literature ( meant for adult readers only!!),lock them away carefully till your child becomes mature i.e. around 18 years of age. During adolescence, a child is utterly confused and experiences conflict about developing his ideology and values. Such kind of stuff may only help to distract him from his chosen path.

Above all you must contact your nearest library, which has a sizeable collection of books on diverse subjects for toddlers, children and teenagers. It would be worthwhile to become a member of such a library and enroll your child too. Doing so will ensure that your child gets a steady supply of books to read and a congenial atmosphere for uninterrupted reading for long hours.

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