24/7 MOMS

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Raising Up A Reader

 One of the most fundamental academic competencies children are expected to master in early childhood is reading. In many ways, this is what sets the stage for more the more formal learning process and contributes greatly to one's success in the classroom. However, while many children are able to master basic reading skills, it is not uncommon that this remains a mechanical practice rather than one that is done for pleasure or for the love of it. Many children read very little, in fact. While they may complete their school work (and may even do well many times), reading is all too often limited to technical or school related tasks and not done outside of that context.

To be fair, in the last few years more teenagers and young adolescents, and even tweeners, have been more akin to reading what with the popularity of stories like the Twilight trilogy, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and of course, the phenomenal Harry Potter series. It does help, too, that these stories have a wide movie franchise behind it that does peak the interest of many readers. For younger readers, characters from popular television shows such as Blues Clues and the like have also become quite abundant.

However, in the absence of such enticements, the question to be asked is how do we get our kids to become interested in reading for fun and not just because it is assigned by a teacher? Further, how can we encourage them to read the types of stories we read as children ourselves? I do laud those teachers who are able to make sure their students not only read but actually like the act of reading in itself, but as parents, we can also take part in fostering a love for reading.

What I have come to recognize on a personal level that to develop a skill or build up on something, there must be constant practice or exposure. This is definitely true for reading. Establishing a supportive reading environment is essential. With consistent and regular reading periods with your child, such as during bedtime, can help them see that reading is a pleasurable act. Over time, you can encourage your child to read along rather than just be read to.

Another way of cultivating a reading this reading environment is by taking trips to the local library. This is a wonderful alternative to visits to the mall. Not only does it cost nothing, your child --- and even you --- have everything to gain!

It is also important to remember that building a love for reading should be a fine balance between challenge and comfort. What I mean with this is that to encourage a child to read more, it should neither be too hard nor too easy. Making sure that the storybooks (or novels for older kids) are not just age-appropriate but also skill-appropriate is essential.

Lastly, tapping into your childs interests can make them want to read further. For example, if your sons interest is on dinosaurs or airplanes, get him books on those topics or with those characters. Whether it is a fictional story or a facts and figures book, this will surely engage him in reading.

As an end note, I am a firm believe that teaching reading should not be limited to the schools and as something to be delegated to the teachers. We, too, must take part in raising a reader. Oh…and let’s not forget: children do imitate what they see, so maybe we too should find more time to read! Happy reading!!!

Marina is SAHM and co-owner of retail special products websites like decorative wall clock, vanity mirrors, Limoges and lot more.

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