If your child doesn’t find reading to be a chore then you are one of the luckiest parents on the planet. As parents, we understand the importance reading can have for our children, especially, when it comes to fluency in English and vocabulary building. A tried-and-true method to achieve this is reading – scratch that, it’s the only method. Unfortunately, our children don’t want anything to do with books and it’s about time we changed that.
Create cozy time
Take out time from your day – can be post tantrum, during lunch, after school, while you have your morning cuppa, any time can be cozy time. Whether your child is still on picture books or has gotten the hang of reading, making cozy time a ritual can not only encourage reading but it also serves as a bonding experience between you and your child.
Create a reading nook
Your goal is to make reading pleasant and enjoyable. Create a lovely space with pillows and books and your kids will begin to associate it with reading. Cuddling and reading – what better way to spend time together?
Don’t push too hard
Living in our pressurising, desi atmosphere, it can be hard not to let the competition get to us. We set goals for our children before they can even speak and in this rat race, our children don’t have much of a childhood at all. Let them stay on picture books a little longer if they want, or don’t push them to finish reading sets ASAP.
Let them choose what they read
Reading for pleasure is one of the best ways for a child to improve his performance at school, but teaching a child to love reading involves a lot more than simply handing him a book. Letting children have choices in their reading material goes a long way in raising life-long readers. Let them enjoy reading. If you make it a chore, they’ll only run away from it. Kids who choose what they read, regardless of whether it’s a novel, a comic book, or a magazine, are more engaged with what they are reading and more likely to retain the information.
Go to the library
Lean on librarians—they’re paid to make reading magical for kids.
Go to storytimes. The British Council Library, Karachi have lot of events that engage young readers like reading group get-togethers where children discuss books they’ve been reading with each other. Once your child sees that it’s not only them that are alienated to the concept of reading, they’ll find it much more enjoyable – knowing that everyone else is in the grind too. They’ll also have a deadline pending which will force them to reach out for books and read because if they don’t, how will they contribute to the group discussions? British Council Library also offers story-telling sessions, with both English and Urdu books. If your children can sit still for this long, it’s a great way to slowly introduce them to the concept of books. Try visiting different libraries to see what storytimes and play areas you like best.
Read the book, then watch the movie
Pick one of the classics that have been turned into movies; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Fantastic Four or The BFG and read it together. When you’re done, organise a movie night (under the stars, maybe?) to watch the film version. Go all out with projectors and white backdrops and favourite snacks to make your kids look forward to the next movie night. The catch? They’ll have to read another book to get another movie night.
It’s a trick all parents must know to motivate reluctant readers,” says Aliya Ejaz, mother-of-three and psychologist.
Visit book bazars
Check out lots of books for your home. The more books you have available to your kids, the better. Liberty Books is having their Everything-for-500 book bazar where you can buy majority of the books that your children might be interested in without denting your wallet too much. Even cheaper options are Urdu Bazar, old book shops, basically anywhere you can get your hands on cheap reading material.
Try these and let us know how you get on – good luck!