Reading Habits In Children

Anitha Rinu George

Principal, Aspire Residential Public School, Kochi, Kerala

‘Children are made readers on the laps of their parents”.- Emilie Buchwald

Reading is a skill and habit, essential for life-long success. It develops vocabulary, communication and writing skill, increases attention span and even promotes analytical thinking. Reading gives an insight to different real-life situations at an early age and equips him/her to face the challenges that they may face in future. In the current age of devices and gadgets, children lack the patience to flip through the pages, feel it between the fingers and to slowly discover how the story unfolds. Instead, immediate results have become a part of their busy lives and the same expectation exists in life situations, which is indeed a bitter pill. The challenge is to get your child interested in reading in this era of distractions, all around. If children are to be completely blamed for this lack of interest in reading, we are barking up the wrong tree! It is of paramount importance that both parents and teachers gain an understanding why the child is disinterested in reading.

Why Does My Child dislike Reading?

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read. There are only children who have not found the right book!” -Frank Serafini

Not every child loves to read. Some of the reasons children don’t like to read include:

  • Your child feels like reading is a task that is not enjoyable or exciting
  • Your child has difficulty to read
  • Your child hasn’t found the right book yet

If you understand why your child doesn’t like to read, you can address the issue and begin to make reading more enjoyable.

By making reading a joyful experience, your child is more likely to develop a love of reading, encouraging better reading habits and making learning easier. Here are a few ways by which we can instill the desire to read from an early age:

1. Create a cozy reading corner for your child and read to your little one from a very young age. The child’s mind is taken to the world of fantasy and imagination and makes him/her understand that books can indeed enable their thoughts meander into a virtual world. Soon, the child will snatch the book from the parent and read it himself/herself!

2. Encourage reading everything they come across such as hoardings, menu cards, movie names, newspapers, road signs, food labels etc.

3. Set an example and read in front of your child. When your child watches you read, it motivates them to fall into the habit of reading and invariably makes them feel that reading is important!

4. Linking reading with real life and making connections with the child’s experience and the book can help to develop interest. Eg: If your child is a pet lover, books on animals can assuredly be enjoyed.

5. Keep reading materials at home- Maintain a library at home with a variety of choices for your child. This makes them feel that library and reading is not meant only for school and that reading can happen anywhere.

6. Talk or discuss about the book that your child is reading- Talking about the book, its characters or his/her favorite part encourages the child’s comprehension skills and adds more motivation to select the next book.

7. Expose your child to different book genres such as mystery, science-fiction, classics, comic books, scientific fact based books and much more. The excitement level will vary according to their interest in the subject chosen!

8. Support the child if he/she is struggling with comprehending the content. Take a step back and try to help the child.

9. Associate reading with relaxation and make reading a habit before nap-time.

10. Visit the local library and make the child exposed to the bigger world of books!

As parents, we can make a huge difference in the reading habits of our little ones from a very early age. The same applies to educators too! Reading needs to be identified as a key area for development and is imperative that it must be included in the school’s action plan for the academic year. Starting the day with short reading sessions, in which students read either to their teacher, buddy or themselves can undeniably accelerate the reading progress.

Numerous studies have shown that reading for pleasure can make a stupendous difference to the child’s educational performance. Children who read for enjoyment have increased language and communication skills and outperform their peers who have decreased reading interests. In fact, any effective education is anchored on developing a good reading habit. As parents and educators, it is of utmost importance that we need to work together and guide our children through the wonderful world of books!

“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand”. Lets encourage our children to dream!!

Anitha Rinu George

Principal, Aspire Residential Public School, Kochi, Kerala