Here are some simple and innovative ways to encourage those little minds to turn a page or two.
1. Talk about books: Probably, this is one of those pre-requisites to garner the curiosity for books in your child. Start talking about books that you had read in your childhood or someone of their age group is reading and enjoying. Show them book covers or read book blurbs to them to give them a teaser on how exciting the entire book can be.
2. Get age-appropriate books: A study indicates that providing kids with a stream of age-appropriate books can triple interest in childhood reading. Even the Paediatric Department advises parents to start reading to infants right from birth. Understand your child’s reading interest like genre and get books that they will like at their age. Browse for options that will naturally interest them and it definitely varies from child to child.
3. Make reading fun: Rather than making reading a mundane habit, make it into a fun hobby. You can try audiobooks initially or encourage them to attend story-telling sessions. Show them how reading can help in many other ways like building vocabulary, nurturing creativity, and others. A study points that kids who regularly ready have better language skills, larger vocabularies and high cognitive skills than non-readers. Another report published in the peer-reviewed journal Oxford Review of Education state that pupils who enjoy reading high-quality books daily score higher in tests. Point out the illustrations in the books which makes the stories more relatable. Urge them to read with their friends at times.
4. Try a book storyboard: It is not just about reading books but making them enjoy. So, you can make books interesting with things they like. From making a storyboard to explain what they read in a book, asking interesting questions about the book, writing a book review and so on. You can also ask them to create a different ending to the book or make a drawing of a particular scene or chapter on how they interpret.
You can do a character or role play at times to narrate story to make it more interesting ,or you can also ask them to enact a character that they liked. You can start with simple classics or may be stories from their own textbooks. The art of Storytelling can be effectively used to get kids interested in a particular story, may be by using simple props with things available at home.
5. Read with them: Studies state that kids who are read to by Mom and/or Dad are twice as likely to score in the top 25% percentile in reading. So take time off your busy schedule to spend some quality time reading to and with your kids. You can read to younger kids else you might ask elder ones to read to you. Keep a dedicated story-time or reading session every week. One of the best ways to generate curiosity is to re-read their favourite books.
6. Start with a series: It might be a good idea to start with a series for the age group of 7 and above where they will be intrigued to read the next part. Moreover, you can give them books on cartoons they like. Kids of the higher age group are also fond of comic strips or series which they find interesting and engaging.
7. Start building a mini library for them: Urge them to start taking care of their books. I am sure you have bought books for your child or someone might have gifted them. Make a small bookshelf for them in their room where they can stack those up. Gradually, they will feel the urge to read books from their shelf and maintain it as well.
8. Let kids be ‘kiddish’: Kids enjoy the most when you let them be ‘themselves’. So, don’t worry if they interrupt you or bug you a bit with their silly questions. Kids love it when they get answers to their questions. So, create an ambience of curiosity where you allow them to express their feelings. You can also interact by asking them simple open-ended questions which will urge them to know more.
I feel, as a parent, we need to have the patience and keep practising reading with our kids as much as possible. We have the resources to build their interest and as parents we know what is best for them. So, next time you buy a book for your child, think of their interest and when you read with them, enjoy it as much as they would. Because, when they watch you, they learn too.