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How to instill a reading culture in your children

Crazy Monday By Esther Muchene

The culture of reading has dissolved a lot in the recent years. It’s something that’s only done when in school or when handling assignments at home and that’s it. Spare time is mostly consumed by devices because it’s more interesting to follow a movie than to read books. I’ll be the first to admit, I was never a book worm growing up.

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The challenge when it comes to kids and reading is the attitude they have. Reading is associated with boredom and the benefits are overlooked. 

What parents need to understand is, books help children expand their vocabulary, have sharp memory and concentration, so you have to do more to encourage them to read more through creative techniques. Here are a few tips to help you do that. 

  1. Download eBooks and audio books

Some kids really hate heading books. And forcing them to read won’t work at all. You can try downloading some eBooks for them on their devices which will encourage them to start reading more. It’s even better to get audio books online which they can listen to from time to time. They’ll realize that reading can be interesting once you introduce the idea.

  1. Let them pick what they want to read

When you’re out book shopping, let them have some freedom to choose what they’d want to read. Show them some interesting picks that have cartoons and pop up images, comics, children’s novels and anything they’d be interested in. Mix up their literature collection so that they enjoy what they’re reading.

  1. Bring back the bedtime stories

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Bedtime shouldn’t always be about watching cartoons until they fall asleep. Old school bedtime story sessions encourage children to look forward to great stories while bonding with their parents. Sit on their bed with them or have them sit on your lap so that they can read along.

  1. Set up a bookshelf for them

Having a personal book shelf in their rooms will help them take ownership of how often they read and also establish books as an important part of their lives. Seeing the books everyday reminds them that they need to read as compared to keeping the books hidden.

  1. Set an example

They won’t want to read as often if they never see you reading. Put the phones and the remotes down and buy some novels that you’d want to read. Once they see you reading more, they’ll want to follow your lead. You should also have a reading culture in the family, almost like a family book club. Spare time where you all read what you like without any distractions. Even a few hours a week should be enough.

  1. Make reading fun

Incorporate acting, drawing and reading with expressions to make it fun for them. For example, if you’re describing a monster, you can ask them to demonstrate how the monster looks like. If the book is describing a serene meadow, have them draw what they’re picturing. This encourages creativity and it generally makes reading exercises fun.

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You should also let them read to you from time to time. This is how you can gauge their progress and correct them when they make mistakes. They’ll slowly learn how to punctuate and articulate words well.

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