If there is one important thing that you can do to help your child become a success in school and in life – it is to encourage him to be a reader and love reading. The most successful people in the world are voracious readers. This is no surprise, as reading opens the door to virtually all knowledge. Moreover, it is the path to lifelong learning. Helping your child to love reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent – and it will be worth your time and energy.
To encourage you to make your best effort in making your child love reading, consider these benefits of being a reader:
- Being a reader hones your child to be a success in life. Understanding mathematics, science, history, engineering, mechanics, political science, takes a lot of reading and the discipline required to concentrate and read. Learning this skill early makes your child well-prepared for these challenges.
- Being a reader leads to a productive, enriched life in which your child can master complex information, pursue passions, and make a decent living. Reading opens your child’s mind to the world and greatly increases her life prospects.
- For a child who is a reader, reading is a pleasure, and for him, reading is a habitual lifelong activity.
- When your child is a reader, he develops an appetite for knowledge. Reading contributes to the background knowledge of your child for a variety of subject areas including science, history, geography, math, and social studies. The more your child learns, the more he wants to know.
- A reader usually has empathy towards other people, because good stories and literature is about the human condition, the thinking and the emotions of being human. Good literature values humanity and celebrates the human spirit and potential.
- A reader has his mind open to other culture, because reading offers insight into different lifestyles while recognizing universality.
- A reader learns vocabulary and grammar, which also improves his writing skills – a very important skill to learn in the age of communication.
- Your child’s being a reader improves the probability of his staying in school.
- Reading enables your child a child to teach himself when he uses do it yourself books. It also makes him learn a lot of skills on his own.
- Being a reader has good correlation with life span. Education, employment and higher quality of life factors into this. By having knowledge of importance of health, your child enjoys improved lifespan.
- A reader usually has improved problem-solving and critical thinking skills. These are fundamental and transferable to all other areas of learning. Critical thinking skills are also important to avoid being duped and scammed.
- A reader usually has a developed sense of humor, important to general well-being.
- A reader has an improved attention span.
- A reader constantly stimulates his imagination, important to developing creativity.
- A child’s early reading skills affect his literacy test scores after 10 years, a Statistics Canada study suggests. Those who read early had the ability to comprehend news articles, fiction and various documents better than the average child. Having a high literacy score is important because it means that the child is able learn fast from books and other reading materials.
- Poor literacy leads to unemployment, poverty, and crime. According to How to Help Every Child Become a Reader (U.S. Department of Education), 43 percent of those with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty. Our prisons are populated with poor readers: 70 percent of inmates fall into the lowest levels of reading proficiency.
- Seventy-five percent of today’s jobs require at least a ninth-grade reading level. American college graduates earn 76 percent more on average than those with just a high school diploma.
Here are tips on how to make your child to be a reader:
- Read to your child and start early. Reading aloud to your child should become part of your daily routine. Make your reading time a special time for you and your child. Being with you for this reading experience should make reading pleasurable to him. See this article for more tips on reading to your kid.
- Have a lot of reading materials available and visible at your home. If possible, make him a library, even if it is just a couple of shelves. You can buy used books or get these books as a gift from relatives who have outgrown children’s’ books. Owning books in the home is one of the best things that you can do to help your child academically.
- Show your child that you are a reader, and that you enjoy reading. One of the tenets of parenting is to model the behavior that you want your child to emulate. Impress on your child that reading is a part of life. Let your child see you read books, magazines, newspapers or their digital equivalent. You can also go with your child to the library and let her see you check out books. When your child sees that reading is important to you, she is likely to decide that it’s important to her, too.
- Reward reading. If your kid spends a considerable time reading, treat her to an ice cream or a movie, or playing video game hours.
- Choose the books your child reads, so he can derive the most pleasure from reading. You can refer to the American Library Association awards for the best children’s literature, among other sources.
- If you see your child shows particular interest on a specific type of books (science fiction, fantasy, or maybe craft books), make these books available to him.
- Don’t impress on your child that reading is a chore. Require her to read, but make it fun. Always give them the impression that reading is as enjoyable as or even more enjoyable than watching movies or TV shows, for example. A child who reads because of duty and does it grudgingly and without joy will not pick up the habit of reading.
- Set time for your child to read. It should be a quiet time, without distraction.
- You may have to limit your child’s engagement with video games or digital gadgets such as phones, streaming TV shows and movies to discover his or her love of reading.
- Make your child see that you treat books gently and with respect. They imitate your behavior, and they will do the same.
- If your child has a learning problem, get help early. When a child is having reading difficulties, the reason might be simple to understand and deal with. For example, your child might have trouble seeing and need glasses or he may just need more help with reading skills. If you think that your child needs extra help, ask his teachers about special services, such as after-school or summer reading programs.
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