Monday, 26 May 2014

Nurturing the Love for Reading

Nurturing the Love for Reading

Mummy’s goal: Nurture my child to love reading books.

Reading is one of the most important habits that you must help your child form. If your child loves to read, more than half the battle is won as he will naturally be able to gain knowledge through books. Remember, the main aim is to cultivate the love for learning. Onc ethe love for learning is instilled in the child, you have sowed the seeds for success. The child will grow to become confident self-directed learner - a very important 21st century competence skills. 

Question: So how to nurture the love for reading?
Answer: Start reading to your child as soon as you can.

Even if your baby is just a few days old, you can start reading to him. He may not understand what you are reading. But he is listening to your voice and your tone. Keep reading until your baby has gained more control of his hand, then you can get him some "touch and feel" books to attract him.

Touch and feel books

When your child is older (age 1), you can get some board books so that the books can withstand rough handling. If your child is more interested in flipping the pages and looking at the pictures, allow him to do so. Usually children are excited over new things and want to explore on their own. Therefore, he may not be interested in you reading to him yet. Give him time to get over his excitement and then ask “Do you want me to read to you?”. Sometimes, it takes up to a few days for the child to get over the initial excitement. Remember, your main aim here is to get your child interested in books.

Picking the right book:
Bring your child to choose the books he wants to read. Remember, do not choose the book that only you are interested in. After all, the books your child chooses will keep him interested and the book you chose, may not suit his interest. However, after awhile, you will know what type of books your children like. But remember, encourage him to explore other types (fiction/non fiction) and genres of books.

As your child gets older, help him to pick the appropriate difficulty of books.

How do you know if it is the right level of book for him?
It is very easy for parents nowadays as some publishers have already helped you to sort out the books. They come in “pre-reading grade”, “level 1 reading”, “level 2 reading”.

When your child is age 6 onwards, you can start introducing authors such as Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton to them.

One guideline on how to choose the right level of book is to ask your child to simply flip to the first page, read the page and if there are about 2-3 difficult words that your child does not know, then this book is of the right level. But if there are more than 5 words that your child does not know, then get him to pick another book.  

Place the books strategically:
If you want your child to read books, you need to put them within the reach of your child. Have a book shelf and place the books at your child’s eye level. In this case, you don’t even have to bring the books to him. Your child will eventually explore the book shelf.

What if my child does not like to read and is not interested in books?
This strategy is shared by another mummy. What she did was that she placed books all over the house. A few on the sofa, on the table, in the toilet even. The books were all over the place that it was certain that eventually when the child is bored, he will pick up one of it to read. And it happened- one day, the child simply picked up one of the books when he was doing his “big business” in the toilet and from there on, he started reading. To avoid your child not liking books, start reading to your child at a young age.


1)     Set aside reading time everyday. For me, I use reading time as a winding down activity for the day. My children will all go to the home half an hour before bedtime and my husband and I will take turns to read to them. Allow the children to make themselves comfortable. It’s fine reading on the bed.

2)     Make your children feel that reading is fun. Just one gentle reminder, do not stress your child to read the books to you. Some children will start to not like reading time because they will feel stressed about not being about to read, or read properly. Eventually, they will learn to read on their own. My daughter at age 6 can do her own silent reading. 

3)     To make reading every more interesting, I strongly believe in Literature Based Learning. It means to do different activities based on the book.  I will be sharing more on this very soon.  

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