Nurturing the love for reading

The big challenge for teachers is not simply getting students to read – it is getting them to enjoy it too. It is one thing for students to read books as part of their lessons in school, but will they open another book when they get home at the end of the day?

A number of researches reveal that becoming a lifetime reader is based on developing a deep love of reading. The motivation to read decreases with age, especially if the pupils’ attitudes towards reading is not positive. If children do not enjoy reading when they are young, they are likely to do so when they get older.

Reading for pleasure is one of the best ways for a child to improve her or his performance in school, but teaching a child to love reading involves a lot more than simply handing her or him a book. There are studies which show that students who read for pleasure not only did better with their vocabulary and spelling but also in math since they have better comprehension. Furthermore, reading for pleasure seems to give kids an advantage in school because they are used to new ideas and can process them more quickly and effectively than their non-reading peers.

Beyond that, reading for pleasure provides a wealth of benefits for kids as they go through school and into adulthood. Reading is essential not only in education but also when children grow up and enter the workforce. This is especially true in our modern world where so much communication takes place. Because of this, the ability to read for comprehension and to communicate effectively is vital and needs to be taught at a young age.

It is important for parents to understand that for younger readers, in particular, their home environment is critically important. The home is a massive influence. Supportive and understanding parents are key to developing their child’s reading. If a child doesn’t see people reading at home, it may be harder to instill the idea of reading for pleasure.

So what can parents do to encourage reading?  Here are some of the best ideas, initiatives, and projects that teachers have developed to motivate children and help them develop a love for reading:

Depending on the children’s language skill level, give her or him a story to read or have a story read to them. When the story is finished, ask the child to pinpoint favorite parts of the story. This can enable children to have fun to pick out words and develop an interest to move to the next page. Parents’ response or feedback has a strong effect on how hard the children will try to become good readers. Always remember to give them genuine praise for their efforts. You can also show your interest by listening to them while they read or by asking questions.

The more children are exposed to literature, the more reading will become part of their daily life. A child is introduced to new information, concepts, and phonemic awareness with every story. Children with a large collection of reading resources in their homes score higher and perform better on tests. Provoke a reading habit in your child by having a large array of interesting books and magazines at her reading level.

Make reading an essential part of your children’s lives. Let them read menus, product labels, roadside signs, newspapers, children’s magazines, and other practical everyday information. Letting children have choices in their reading material goes a long way in raising life-long readers. Kids who choose what they read, regardless of whether it is a novel, a comic book, or a magazine, are more engaged with what they are reading and more likely to retain the information.

There are many ways of fostering the love of reading for pleasure. But at the end of the day, parents should remember that reading should be fun, not yet another chore to get through. It is something you and your children can share together, not something they do for you. Always remember that the challenge is to foster a lifelong interest in books and reading.

By Regina M. Gamonnac


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