With so many distractions around them, it is no coincidence that children who enjoy reading as they grow older are the same children whose parents cultivated a love of reading in them from a young age. Before considering how much a child should be reading, it is important to understand why reading is important for children.
Reading helps a child develop numerous basic literacy skills. At a young age, it helps children identify letters and sounds, and eventually to put them together to make words.
This, in turn, leads on to their vocabulary. The more a child reads, the quicker their vocabulary expands. They learn how to use their words and are encouraged to sound them out for themselves.
Similarly, they are prompted to learn new words as they encounter words and phrases that they have not come across before. This, in turn, lets the child develop their reading comprehension.
Reading comprehension is the ability to understand exactly what is being said. This is a vital skill when it comes to doing well in school and exams, and is something that many adults struggle with.
To many parents, this sounds impractical. Getting a nine year old boy to read for forty minutes can certainly be a challenge! However, when the approach is introduced gradually, the children will learn to enjoy reading time.
The intent is to cultivate a love for reading in our children, not to make it one of a list of chores they must do. For this reason, it is encouraged that you start slowly.
Many children don’t enjoy reading on their own at first, so have them read aloud to you. It doesn’t have to interrupt your day – it could be while you’re making the dinner or hanging up the washing.
Perhaps you can take it in turns. You read a page, and your child reads a page. Once it becomes part of your routine, you’re on to a winner.
The aim of this is to get to a point where your child wants to read, and that will never happen if they feel forced. Try and show them that reading is fun. If all else fails, use their reading time as your own reading time!
Sit beside them and read your own book while they read theirs. Children love imitating their parents – and a love of reading is no different! Have a look at this super cute video from Mabel’s Labels: