Parenting: Developing a Child's Desire to Read
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Parenting: Developing a Child's Desire to Read

Developing a child's desire to read equates to laying a foundation for your child to succeed. Here are five practical tips parents can implement for developing a reading culture at home.

Long before a child ever picks up their first book or is able to recognize their first image they are learning to respond to sound and experiment with their sense of hearing. In fact, many times their first experience with sensory stimuli is the sound of a loving mother talking or singing to them. Rapidly, they are able to pick up on the meaning of different words mean and understand the complex concepts involved in language development which is foundational in establishing much needed reading skills.

There are many things that parents can do to encourage young children to develop a love for reading, thus encouraging an environment for optimal intellectual and emotional development.

• Make reading a priority. Read to your child every day, preferably at the same time such as bedtime. When parents make reading a daily ritual as necessary as eating breakfast or bathing they convey to their child that reading is a worthwhile activity.

• Choose age appropriate books. Reading too far above or below your child's individual reading level will lead to children becoming disinterested and bored with reading. Experiment with different books and watch how your child reacts. You will know when your child is engaging in the reading experience.

• Make the experience of reading relaxing and pleasant. Your children will intuitively know if you are genuinely interested in reading. When you slow down, change your voice with the characters of the book and ask your child questions about what going on, they will see that you have a genuine interest in reading to them. When parents have their mind somewhere else or act like they are not enjoying themselves, children will likewise lose interest and likely want to abandon the activity.

• Include a trip to the library weekly. An outing to the library for a toddler can become like a trip to Disneyland. Children love to be surrounded by a creative atmosphere where they can exercise their imagination. Many libraries have special programs for pre-school age children that, along with reading, may include making crafts or singing as well as other stimulating and creative activities.

• Don't censor what a child reads. If your child is interested in dinosaurs or robots, don't insist that they read Dr. Seuss books. Let your child explore their own interests. Any desire to read will be fueled by subject matter that your child finds interesting.

• Let your child see you reading. One of the most effective ways to teach children any behavior is to be a good model. Parents who read tend to have children that are more interested in reading.

Above all, children are looking for support and approval, primarily from their parents. By providing an engaging environment for reading activities in pre-school years parents are encouraging and developing a reading culture for their children at home. These parents will be rewarded for their efforts with children who turn out to be lifelong readers.

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