“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” – Proverbs 16:16 NIV
People read for many reasons. They read to keep themselves updated on current affairs, to be better competitors, to improve their knowledge, to avoid boredom and then there are those who read for the pure joy of reading to acquire wisdom and insight. Good grades are definitely possible among children if they learn to delight in reading.
ASER 2016 survey collected from 589 rural districts of India, says that one in two Indian students of those rural areas can’t read books meant for three classes below their class level. This shows how important it is for your child to have reading skills.
According to Krashen, When children read for pleasure they acquire language skills:
Acquire large vocabulary
Ability to understand and use complex grammatical constructions
Develop good writing style
Become good spellers
Ensure acceptable level of literacy
From my experience in teaching, I found that when children read for the pure joy of reading:
They develop great social skills
Learn life’s great lessons in a short span
Learn better problem solving techniques
Gain better thinking skills
Succeed no matter what life hurls at them.
Develop a broader mindset as they peek into the lives of the people from different cultures and ethnicity.
If they read the Bible, their moral values improvise tremendously
In order to spark the reading interest in your children:
Take them to the library and read the book of their choice in a dramatic way by making different voices for the dialogues and reading them with emotion. This grabs the attention of your children especially of the lower age group and keeps them interested.
As they finish a reading session, discuss with them their favourite quote, character or how they would act differently than the character portrayed. Such discussions will not only help them remember what they read but also help them become people of great value.
Read a book in your free time in front of your children to help them understand the importance of reading.
“Children who know adults who read for pleasure take it for granted that reading is a valuable and worthwhile activity.” – Csikszentmihalyi.
Talk to your children of the values that one obtains from reading books. My dad and grandmother used to greatly value and talk about the hidden treasures of wisdom in the Holy Bible. And I began to develop passion to reading it from them. I still have the same passion to reading it since childhood. So, value the books greatly when you talk to your children. They will definitely develop a passion for reading.
“Children are more likely to continue to be readers in homes where books and reading are valued.” – Baker & Scher.
If your child is more interested in games or TV and less in books, then you could try to introduce graphic books to them initially. You can also get, “How to …” books, Sports magazine, Build your own computer, Road bike maintenance book etc.
Help them stack books in their room by allowing them to buy the books of their choice. If they are digital savvy, you could also consider buying them a kindle device.
You can also help your children to read for pleasure by buying them a book that assists in what they are going through or experiencing. When my family moved to a different city and I had to form a new circle of friends as a teen, my aunt gave me a book called, “Chicken soup for the teenage soul”.
If your kids are younger, they tend to read the same book over and over, that is normal. Buy age appropriate books for them and encourage them to read.
One of my students writes a report on all the books or blogs she reads. She records all her summaries into her diary. And her parents reward her every time her book entry reached a certain target. You could encourage your child to do so too. This will help your child in future to become a great writer or author in her field of expertise and help her share his/her knowledge in helping or shaping up the future generations.
If you don’t already have a shelf or cabinet in your children’s room dedicated to books, you should go ahead and make space in their room for books other than school books. Then take your kids to the bookstore where they can choose to buy books of their choice.
Another option is to take your child to a library and buy a membership card for her/him. You can plan to take your child to the library every week end where she/he can delve into a world of books.
Kindly remember that young minds absorb everything they read. So it is important to feed their minds with good books. After all you don’t want your children to be gloomy and doomy having read occult books.