Importance Of Reading To A Pre-Schooler
“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read, there are only children who have not found the right book” - Frank Serafini
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Books can become a child’s best friend, the common questions that arise among parents of pre-schoolers are, when do we begin reading to a child? How do we read to them? Why is reading important at an early childhood? How to sustain their interests through their schooling years so that reading can become a habit?
When should you begin reading?
Even as infants, children look at pictures, listen to your voice and point to objects on pages. They love the sound of language even before they notice the printed text. Reading to them should begin early on with picture association when they are a few months of age. Parents can begin reading before a child begins to talk and continue this practise well beyond the year the child begins reading independently.
How to read to pre-schoolers?
Parents can begin by using big picture books for building associations between words and pictures of real-world objects. Be creative and playful while reading and use voice modulation to create different voices for different characters to engage your child. When your child interrupts with questions, encourage them by answering patiently. You will see the magic work by reading to your child consistently. Nothing is as effective to prepare your child to succeed as a reader than reading aloud together.
Why read to your child?
Studies show that reading to a toddler is a source of inspiration and new ideas. In children, it sets the foundation for literacy skills and also helps in personality development, listening, speaking, writing, cognitive and creative skills.
Exercises the Brain: It is an effective brain exercise which helps stimulate imagination and expand the understanding of the world. Children thus tend to imagine characters and get into the world of pictures and words. The curiosity factor in them increases, they strive better to know more about the topics they read, which helps in their critical and analytical thinking skills. Over all it helps to keep their mind healthy and productive.
Enhances Communication: This practise over time enhances their communication skills. As you read, children are exposed to new words, which enhance their vocabulary and develop fluency in language. Parents should encourage children to retell stories, which in turn helps them to enhance their creativity and bring out the story teller in them.
Connects Family: This has been proven to also connect the family together as the reading increases the quality time spent with you and your child. This gives the time for interaction to engage in interesting conversations. It develops a strong bond as you enjoy each other’s company and enhances the focus of love and attention.
Promotes Empathy: Reading is a good way to get in touch with our emotions. When a story is read, the child develops empathy to the character, relates to the emotions and feelings of people. As they get involved in the story you will find them excited as the story unfolds.
Improves attention span: Books are the best way to calm the child when he/she is restless. It helps to keep them concentrated and improves their attention span, which is necessary for a child to focus in both scholastic and non-scholastic areas of academics.
Reduces screen time: Technology has taken away the quality time between the parent and the child, as the child is engrossed in one way communication with the screen. Reading is an essential tool to cut down screen time which is one of the biggest challenges faced in today’s world.
How to sustain their interest in reading?
Parents should be a role model for their children. They should see their Mom and Dad reading books, magazines and newspapers. In the initial stages reading can be associated with the environment as parents can encourage their kids to identify street names, addresses, store signs, food labels etc.. A reading ritual of the entire family reading at bedtime will make reading habitual. Associating with a local library, attending story sessions and reading programs will sustain the interests of your child in reading. A home library with age-appropriate books will keep alive the reading habit in your child.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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