In these modern times, hi-tech gadgets and devices are pretty much present in almost every aspect of our lives. It’s no wonder it’s such a difficult task motivating children to read books nowadays, thanks to the distraction (maybe not in all cases) of easily available and accessible electronic devices, designed to cater to every entertainment need.
What this piece of writing is trying to state is that it’s not about the eBooks in your iPad or tablet or smartphone. It’s about literally holding a paperback book and taking in that whiff of the new book smell, before indulging in the wisdoms and magic it will offer.
There’s no point crying over spilled milk. Instead, here are some ways you could encourage your little one to get into the habit of reading from an early age:
Read with your children.
Even if they are toddlers, learning about alphabets, objects and colours, you should read aloud to your children every day. It encourages your children to read on their own. You can read together before going to bed and making it a routine activity will incredibly help your children to nurture a love for books.
Read on your own
Since children look up to adults, especially their parents, read on your own to lead an example. Read the newspaper in the morning at breakfast, or read a magazine or a book in the afternoon when your children are playing in the park. When your children will see that you regularly read books, they will follow you and grow a penchant for reading as well.
Incorporate activities with the books children are reading
Popular story books often have worksheets available online that you can use to let your children engage actively with the reading material. Choose fun worksheets that consist of colouring or playing with a puzzle.
You can also ask your children to read about a certain activity that you will be doing together later on; for example, going to the park. You can ask them to read about birds, flowers, trees, and ask them to look out for them when you’re at the park. This way you can intertwine reading activities in your everyday life.
Set up a bookshelf and a reading nook for your children
A bookshelf just for your children in their bedroom or in the living room will help them develop a sense of ownership of their books. Ask them to decorate the shelf with books and mementos. Make it an activity to clean the shelf together and take care of books.
You can also set up a reading nook in your house. It can be a small couch or divan with comfy cushions, placed by a window that welcomes a lot of sunshine. Purposefully making these arrangements create an environment inviting for reading and inquiry.
Let your children choose what to read
The pressure of completing school assignments and extra-curricular activities often puts the activity of reading for pleasure in the backseat. Allow an hour a day when your children can read for pleasure. This activity can help them realise that reading can be fun too, with no added pressure.
Visit the library or book stores frequently
Getting a library membership is a great way to introduce your children to the world of books. You can get a membership from British Council or American Centre or Pathok Shomabesh, and many other places across the city. There are book cafes that have opened up all over Dhaka where you can take your children with you and let them choose books while you sip on a warm cup of coffee. You can also go to the book stores in your locality. Nilkhet, in general, has used books that are sold at half price values and is one of the largest libraries in Dhaka.
Use books as rewards and gifts
When your children do well at school, or when they have birthdays, gift them books. You can encourage them to gift books to their friends too. Encourage your children to share books with friends and family as this will help them talk about their experiences reading a particular book.