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Written by: Malak Tariq

2022 is here!

This New Year is an amazing beginning to imbibe the essence of reading.

It is time for parents to translate the reader's energy into their kids. The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented. Happily, raising a reader is fun, rewarding and relatively easy. Here are 10 tips for parents to make reading an integral activity for their kids:

1. Make reading a daily habit.

Parents can raise a reader. A newborn responds to the soothing rhythm of a voice reading aloud as well as being cuddled. This goes to show that kids start developing good reading habits at home even before they learn to read. If reading becomes a part of a daily routine, a child is likely to grow up looking forward to it.

2. Read in front of your children.

It is poignantly noted that children do not do what you say, they do what you do! More than words, children follow actions. When kids see their parents reading, they see and pick on the same trait.

3. Create a reading space.

A Reading space need not be big or have a lot of bookshelves. It can be a little corner of the couch or a chair in the child's bedroom. Associating books with comfortable spaces like couches and chairs will help the child with equating reading with comfort.

4. Take trips to the library and bookstores.

The library is a great place to explore new books and authors for free. Many libraries also have story hours or other literacy programs for kids.

Trips to bookstores keep children connected with the world of books.

5. Let the child pick what to read.

That trip to the library and bookstore turns extra special when you give your child time to look around and explore. Kids are more likely to want to read something they pick out themselves. Parents can choose a section of books for their child to pick from. This will make kids an active part of reading.

6. Find reading moments in daily life.

Reading is not just sitting with a good book. Parents can incorporate reading in little moments too. Encourage your child to have “a reading moment” which can be simple like reading road signs, grocery lists and subtitles.

7. Re-visit favourite books.

Parents might get tired if they read one story again and again but kids enjoy it. Kids like to spot things they missed the first time in the story or in the pictures. Re-reading also gives them a chance to connect the words that they see on the page with the words they hear. Eventually, kids might even start reading the book to their parents.

8. Learn more about a child’s reading patterns.

Parents might not be experts but they surely are the first teachers of their children. It is important for them to know a bit about what reading skills to expect at different ages and then improve their child’s reading skills accordingly.

9. Use technology for reading.

Kids today relentlessly use mobiles, tablets and laptops. While many are addicted to games and YouTube videos on loop, technology can also be used to incorporate reading in kids. Kindle reading app, podcasts and audiobooks make reading widely available apart from the traditional book format. Kids can also listen to 'read alouds' on YouTube. This newness in reading will trigger their interest. Encourage your child to source more information on their school projects on Google so that a sense of research and self-reliance is generated.

10. Gift your child a book as a reward.

When children show interest in stories and reading, it is essential to introduce a pattern of constant influx of books for them. Keeping their reading level and genre of interest in mind, parents should gift books to children as a reward system. Gifting books to children and motivating them to read is what keeps reading intact as a part of life from the very beginning.

(Images from The New York Times)

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