HOW TO GET CHILDREN TO READ

Humans have the master problem solving skills for just about everything except the common cold and getting children to listen to parents and elders. From generations before us, children have most often and always won against elders in the battle of wills, mostly because either the tired caregivers want a moment of peace or because arguing with the constant bombardment of WH questions of children can sometimes puzzle an adult and wind one straight to a life crisis.

With the current age of new generational parenting tips and social media forwards, it is hard to filter what is really something worth experimenting with. While one section of society is hell bent on traditionalist patterns, another section is perhaps “too liberal”, the magic of course lies in the balance. Take the age-old trick question for example, ‘how do I get my kid to read’? A puzzling yet exciting challenge not only for Bookzoo customer enquiries but with parents and guardians all over the world. Reading if not organically nourished in a child can result in the risk of aversion to it completely.

Research suggests that, the motivational value of any activity is at its peak when it is delightful, something you like to do. Just like reaching out for the muffin instead of the broccoli. Your child will not and does not want to understand the beneficials of early reading (or broccoli for that matter). They simply want to do things that are fun, and there lies your one and only clue.

“Research suggests that, the motivational value of any activity is at its peak when it is delightful, something you like to do. “

All human beings are social beings with a built-in enjoyment system specifically for stories, in all forms. Since time immemorial, we have loved stories. Story telling was the first form of communication for our ancestors who left us drawings, inscription, legends and mythology, it is the most natural thing known to humankind- the telling of some event preferably with a journey from one point to another, formulating an arc of aspiration. To a point where we often see ourselves through the eyes of protagonists. There is something so beautiful about the exploration of words to images in your mind’s eye, which is untouched by the scrutiny of any other, creating a spontaneity to think beyond. The focus lies in gently opening this world to our young readers.

Here are some of the things you can try to mindfully get your child to experience the alchemy of reading: 

  • Reading books aloud to your children at a suitable time can generate a spark and the repetition of this pattern will lead to an eventual in-built desire to receive stories and create a wholesome connection point with parents.
  • Always remember that, reading cannot become a task, because once it is a task for them, it is a task for you. The idea is to encourage and inspire and not to have a consequential based learning. Those would mean fear-based learning and fear is never a helpful motivator.
  • Create a comfy reading nook with your child/children anywhere that is possible and hassle free in the house, this would empower them to want to revisit the reading nook more often.
  • Distractions in the house cannot be avoided, especially now with the increase of work from home scenarios, but we can be mindful and practise a respectful atmosphere when anyone in the house is working or reading.
  • Encourage story telling. Really TELL the story like it were a play on a Broadway show. The story can be told with props from home, different voices for different characters, background sounds. All of these would elevate the experience of the child and even become a family time activity!
  • Do not dwell in the academic worth, but rather the foundational building of imagination building aspect of the magical world of stories.
  • Reward your child with something wholesome like a paper made bookmark or stickers, a good job token if you may. Remember not to indulge in very hefty bribes or the purpose and motivation to read will be completely different.

Time for some self-disclosure! What worked for me was my mother reading out stories to me at night, a lot of added drama with voices, sound’s, and gestures. I often tried to pick up her style, and I think that is really what created my love for reading and stories, it also has become a huge collection of memories in my pandora box, which I never want to let go of. Let us know in the comments below, what is something that worked in your experience! Wish you a beautiful journey filled with joyous reading.

One Comment

  • its even true for me .Reading with your kids is empowering them to learn by self .

    Reply

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