Have you heard the saying “practice makes perfect”? Well, this certainly is true for reading! Children who are read to and who read for pleasure themselves, get better at reading and want to read. Unfortunately the opposite is also true: children who are not read to or who read very little themselves, usually avoid reading where they can and so they struggle with it.
It is never too early to start reading to children, but if your children are not hooked on reading yet, it isn’t too late to help them develop a love of reading. Here are some ideas for getting and keeping your children hooked on books. Remember, though, that children are individuals and what works for one child might not work for another.
Five tips to get and keep children hooked on books
1. Be a reading-loving home. Stock your home with different books, newspapers and magazines for your children to read. Use the mini-book pages in the Nal’ibali newspaper supplements to create your own bilingual books. Add to your book collection by visiting the library regularly together so that your children can choose their own books. And, of course, be a regular reader yourself and show your children your own enthusiasm for reading.
2. 15/7. Set aside 15 minutes each day of the week to read to your children. Make this a relaxed and enjoyable time in which you all take a break from your busy daily lives.
3. Involve your children. Encourage your children to bring a story or poem to life in a fun way like acting out or drawing different parts. Encourage older children to become reading role models by using their skills to read aloud to younger brothers and sisters.
4. Introduce the bookmark. Remind older children – especially reluctant readers − that they don’t have to finish a chapter or a book in one sitting! They can stop when they want, bookmark their place, and carry on tomorrow.
5. Use the power of technology. Encourage older children to read stories using everyday technology – cell phones! You can find fun stories for the whole family to read at www.nalibali.mobi and teens and young adults can enjoy FunDza’s stories at www.fundza.mobi.