As a children's book writer, it helps me understand what young minds go through when we ask them to pick up a book and read. If you are raising a mini bookworm, these hacks will come in handy! So try them and let me know how they worked in the comments below.
Watch and Learn
“My son loves books”, I told my friend about my two-year-old son. “Just like you!” she responded. I realized that she’s right. Children learn from watching, especially from their parents. If they see you reading a book intently, they will be more likely to grab a book from their shelf and sit down with you to read.
Make books accessible to your children. Just like their toys. They should be within reach, lying amongst their toys, next to their bed. They should not feel like they need to stop what they are doing to read. It should seem a matter of fact for them to pick up a book and read it at any time of the day.
Read to them
Bedtime reading for us is a routine for us and one that my children absolutely love. But, why restrict storytime to bedtime? Cuddle up with your little ones anytime during the day, open up a book and read to them.
Children will ask you to read a book again, and again and again. Don’t lose patience. Read that book 1000 times if you have to. Research shows that It is beneficial for children to read a book repetitively. It brings them comfort, builds their confidence and vocabulary.
Let them pick
Reading is supposed to be fun for your child. I sometimes wanted to read one book, but my son picked another. It would irk me and I would try to convince him to read the book of my choice. It never worked in my favour! Reading is meant to be something they enjoy, so you cannot enforce your choices on them, however silly you think their choice of the book may be.
At their pace
Let them develop at their own pace, don’t rush it. They may be reading the same level of books for six months or a year and that’s fine. When they feel ready, they will feel comfortable picking up a book with longer words, fewer pictures or smarter jokes. The key here is when they are ready.
Most countries have a read-aloud time every week at local libraries. The person reading the book would do it with so much gusto that every child in the room was enraptured. This would be followed by a few songs which the children would happily sing and dance along to. We then did an easy craft activity sticking googly eyes will stubby fingers.
We would always bring a few books home at the end of our visits! Being in a library surrounded by books is sure to bring out the book lover in anyone. You will also familiarize your child to a library so they will not find it daunting to walk into one to borrow a book when they grow up.
What to read to my child:
Even if you read a lot of books yourself, you may wonder what to read to your child. I would scour the bestseller lists from the New York Times and Amazon. Going through these lists, I would read the description of each book to see if the book sounded like a fun read. If we liked a particular author, I went back to see more books from that author and bought those.
Now as a children’s author I follow accounts on Instagram that read and recommend picture books. Some design activities around a book. They do also promote certain books that have been gifted to them for review so you still need to use your own judgment when picking a book. They do a good round-up of books around seasons, festivals, topics or just general reading.
We now have a sizeable library with every kind of book in it, and it keeps growing by the day!