Raise A Reader in the New Year with these 4 Tips!
As we come to the end of the year 2021, it’s normal for us to reflect on the past year and resolve to set new habits in the New Year as we work towards personal development. However, while you are setting your New Year’s resolution as a parent; remember to help your kids as well by having a set plan for the goals and habits you would love to see them acquire in the New Year.
Reading is an integral part of a child’s development and the effects cannot be over emphasised. Multiple studies have been done over the years which highlight the benefits of reading in children in the acquisition of skills, knowledge about a variety of topics and cultures and so much more! In a 20-yr long study led by Mariah Evans which assessed the correlation between the number of books in a household and the children’s’ educational performance; they found that having 500 books for children in the household translated to the child being over 3 years (on average) further in their educational achievements than households with fewer books!1
“The presence of books in the home has a greater influence on a child’s level of education than does the parents income, nationality, or level of education.” – Mariah Evans
Try these 4 tips in the New Year to help your child develop a reading habit.
Have a Dedicated Library Day in Your Schedule
Most communities have libraries with every genre of books that your children could possibly be interested in. Take them to the library to explore and find books on topics or activities that are of interest to them. You can also sign them up for story-time/read aloud activities (for toddlers) and other activities and events at your local libraries that is targeted towards their age group. Varying the libraries visited each time can also make it interesting and like a mini-family adventure they can look forward to!
Create A Special Reading Corner at Home
Encourage your kids to read more by creating a cosy and inviting reading corner at home. Find a corner in the family room that is well lit and fill it up with a wide range of books which can easily be reached by your children. Add some accessories like a throw blanket, pillows and creative stationery and watch your kids explore and bring the books to life. Taking the time to create an inviting reading corner in your home will also encourage independent reading in your children!
Make Reading Attractive with Incentives!
Positive reinforcement is always a good idea especially with kids and you can use this to your advantage by rewarding your children with small gifts when they meet their reading targets. For example, you can give them a few extra minutes of game time or edible treats. Alternatively, they can accumulate points towards a more significant reward like a day at the zoo or a sleep-over with friends. The most important thing is to tie the reward to something that your children value and helping them associate reading with a positive experience. You should also refrain from using reading as a negative parenting tool so they don’t associate it to being a punitive activity.
Let them Decide which Books to Buy
This may not be possible for babies and toddlers but for children aged 3 and above, involve them in book buying decisions as much as you can to ensure that you are getting them books that they will look forward to reading. Sometimes when parents complain that they can’t get their children to read it’s usually because the children don’t want to read the books, they have been given access to. By allowing them to pick their books, you are already a step closer to having them actually read the books on their shelves!
..and remember; children love to mirror their parents so if you want to raise a reader then you have to model that behaviour by being a reader. Read with them and let them also see you reading adult books that you love!
1 Evans, M.D.R., Kelley, J., Sikora, J. and Treiman, D. J.. (2010). Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success: Evidence From 27 Nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility ,28(2):171-197.
Evans, M.D.R., J. Kelley, & J. Sikora (2014). Scholarly culture and academic performance in 42 nations. Social Forces, 00(0): 1-34.