7 ways to encourage your child to read this summer

7 ways to encourage your child to love reading this summer

Nurturing your kids' appetite for reading is the best lesson you can teach them. It becomes handy at every stage of their development and throughout their life as adults. However, together with the technological advancements, reading takes a back seat in children’s lives sometimes with the cost of their health. Studies show that too much screen time can cause loss of cognitive and social skills, weakened emotional intelligence, and slow learning.

The pandemic did not help either since children had to adapt to using technological devices to continue their learning experience. Research shows that kids that read frequently have better memory and mental abilities and become better adults.

It is never too late to adopt a reading routine and take advantage of its benefits. Now that the summer holidays are approaching, this is the best time to boost your children's interest in reading. The Lady spoke to education expert at The Profs, Richard Evans, who shared fun and engaging ways of including reading in your kids' summer holiday schedule.

 1. Create a space for reading

A cosy reading nook is an overlooked but essential aspect for boosting reading time and the love for books in all children. Find a piece of heaven in your house where your kids can disconnect from all other distractions and discover the world of books. If you don’t have one, improvise: a room corner, the terrace, the attic, a windowsill, or simply a comfy armchair by the bookshelves with a reading table and a lampshade. Anything will do for a dedicated reading space if it is comfortable, quiet, and away from disruptions. Build a tent or a den to make reading more fun and adventurous, and use props to bring the story to life, turning reading time into playful storytelling.

 2. Freedom to choose

Letting children have their say in choosing the books they want to read has a series of benefits. From helping them become more independent in their own choices to improving their self-esteem and critical thinking. You can help them choose responsibly by ensuring they have available children's books throughout their childhood. But forcing specific genres on them would only trigger resistance on their part and refrain them from perceiving reading as a fun activity.

 3. Read yourself

It’s never too early or late to read to your children, they will pick up on the sounds you are making nurturing their emotional development. Plus, kids learn by watching others, so it’s important to set a good example and encourage reading by giving it a try yourself. Engage in storytelling and story acting to make reading even more entertaining for your children, which is a fun experience for parents as well.

4. Implement reading into bedtime

Before bed is the best time to implement reading, both for setting up a healthy routine, but also for getting the mind ready for sleep. Reading not only calms an active mind, but it also nurtures children's imagination and prevents them from having nightmares. Set a goal every night – several chapters or a set amount of time – and choose short stories to maintain their interest and suspense. Setting up a bedtime reading routine as early as possible in their development would help them become active happy readers throughout their lives. Make sure to choose a suitable bedtime story, depending on your kids' age, and provide them with enough new engaging books to keep their curiosity alive and prevent monotony.

5. Read aloud

Reading together out loud shouldn’t stop once they learnt how to read, as there are plenty of benefits for reading in spoken voice at any age - from promoting good pronunciation and developing their literacy skills, to stimulating their ability to focus and improving their communication skills. Reading aloud is an effective way to encourage them to take your example. Hearing words and vocabulary aloud will help to strengthen their interest and appreciation for every book.

6. Visit libraries

Libraries are open again with some restrictions still in place, which is a great way to plan a fun day out and make an adventure out of book-hunting! Browsing through books will help them broaden their taste and interests, and it is an engaging place to meet children their age. There also might be some fun activities organised by libraries, so be sure to talk to the front desk and find out alternative ways such as joining book clubs, literacy-themed events, and poetry picnics.

7. Use recipes

One of the easiest ways to infuse reading into everyday life is through cooking, and it is a fun family activity to have together with your children. This way they learn how to multitask in both cooking and reading. Let your kids pick their favourite meal and ask them to read the recipe out loud, and if possible, give you a hand, too. When ingredients and instructions are read slowly, it improves comprehension, distributive attention and gives them meaning and purpose throughout the process.

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