I am an avid reader. I read anything that I lay my hands on- fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, thriller, biographies, medicine strip, even ketchup bottle. I am happy to read anything written in the language that I understand. In my college years, I tried to study Egyptian hieroglyph too. But better sense prevailed, after all how many books can one find on Egyptian hieroglyph? I married a muggle and after years of training, I managed to finally get him to read. Now, though my son has found interest in books, I am still committed to see that books become his best friends forever.
Here are some tips for you to try-
1: Start early: When he was tiny little baby, I started reading to him. Not the old-fashioned fairy tales but a page or two from any book in my hand at that time. Important aspect of this exercise was- reading with expressions, animated face and use vocal variety for different characters. This kept him intrigued. He is 8 years old now, and mostly reads on his own. But sometimes, we still have fun by playing different characters.
2: Buy the age-appropriate books- A 5 year old can only read basic level 1- “I can read” type series, which focuses on repetition of easy words. I used to read one line and then encourage him to read the next line, while pointing the words. Don’t get too ambitious; a time will come when he will finish the bulky books, for now let him set the pace.
3: Introduce real world: I know kids love to read about the prince and the princess, gnomes and ogres. But every now and then introduce kids to real people who rose above all odds, who did the unthinkable and chose the road less traveled to make their own path. Like- Anne Frank will show them life of a girl, and also educate them about world war 2. Hellen Kellar’s biography will teach them how despite the physical limitations, she pursued knowledge and succeeded.
4: It’s important to understand the interest of the kid too- Some kids love to read mythology, others like Panchtantra and some others like Geronimo Stilton. Let them finish one series and then gradually channel their interest towards other advanced books. If they show interest in the universe and space, get them simple books about constellations or stars. As they grow, Stephan Hopkins and ‘Big-bang’ will come to them naturally. Our job is to ignite that hunger- to read.
5: Join library- kids tend to take the things easily available, for granted. When always bought, books may also be subject to the same risk. Library is like treasure box- it not only gives access to wide collection, various topics and generes, but also let them chose the book they want. Library also builds discipline to finish a book quickly, it lures to come again if one picks any series. We were hung up with a fun series called ‘Mr Men and Little Miss’ by Roger & Adam Hargreaves, which made us visit the library every alternate day.
6: Another trick that works wonders with my son is first encourage him to read a book, and later watch the movie based on the story. These days he is binging Harry Potter. As he finishes one book- he is rewarded with a movie night. We make popcorn and watch the movie. To add more fun, he invited his friends to watch ‘Harry Potter’ with pizza, popcorn and juice. This can be done with other popular books like Lord of the rings, Chronicles of Narnia etc, suiting the kids age.
7: Now that he can read the books meant for older audience, I read the same book as he does. I see his excitement when we discuss the scenes and characters. Sometimes when we read on kindle, I make use of the note feature to leave notes for him at interesting places, or to explain new words. Now, even he leaves notes for me 🙂
These are my tips to get your kid to open book. Do share your tips. Thanks for reading.