One of the habits that hubby and I love to instill in our children’s life is reading. We started reading to Alex regularly when he was about 18 months old. I wished I could read to him earlier though, but I just could not do it.
I guess I was just too busy adapting with my new routines and house chores, and so reading to Alex was not in the top list of my priority.
But deep inside my heart, I always admire mothers who take time and effort to read to their babies even when they are still in the womb. Salute! =)
My early experiences reading to Alex was not like what I always imagine. Most of the time, I was ignored, dumped alone and left reading to myself. And if he is merciful enough, he’ll spare his 5 seconds for me, and there he goes again, doing his other activities that are much more fun to him.
I was worried at first. I thought that I have a hyperactive kid who HATES reading and have a very short concentration span. *kanciong/panic mode ON*
I asked around, looks for advises from other mummies, and join a short talk held by the National Library Board on how to instill reading habit in children and get some recommended books from them. Yes. I am that ‘kanciong’ hahaha
I am glad that I never stop reading to him no matter what. He is three years old now and he enjoys reading a lot. We visit library every week and we read 5 books daily. He can’t read by himself yet, I still read to him most of the time. But I do hope that he’ll cultivate this hobby for a long run and learn many more things through reading.
Besides, I believe that reading aloud to him everyday will affect his brain’s development and benefit him in a long run. You can read here for more information on the importance of reading aloud to children. I find it really useful and concise.
As for Ella, she is encouraged to read whenever she sees her brother reads. It is one of the good things of being the second child, I must say. She likes the touch-and-feel books, especially the ones with many hairs and furs. And she also likes to play peek-a-boo while reading lift-the-flap books =)
Few tips that I learnt and would like to share with you for making reading more enjoyable for children:
- Prepare a conducive environment for the child. Turn off the TV and put other distractions or toys away.
- Cuddle and hold your child while you read. Let him/her sit on your lap, hold the book and help turn the pages.
- Choose books that are suitable for your child’s age and development stage, eg. cloth books for newborn, touch-and-feel books for 6 months old baby, lift-the-flap books for 1 year old child, etc.
- Follow the child’s interest. In Alex case, he was obsessed with balls when he was young, so we borrowed many books related to balls and many other round shaped objects (eg. planets, clocks, etc).
- Use your face, body, and voice to make reading fun. Use different voices for different characters, different tones and volumes for different scenarios or actions.
- Include some simple activities as you read. I let Alex hold an egg when we were reading about chicken egg, he played around with the globe when we were learning about the earth, and we looked for a bug when we were learning about ladybug.
- Keep your expectation low and keep cool when you are left alone reading to yourself. Do not raise your voice or get angry when your child choose to move on and do other activities, even when he only reads for 5 seconds. Because he might get the message that reading is not fun and stressful, which then makes him even more reluctant to read in the future.
- Be consistent. Make reading a part of every day activity.
You might want to check out this post that I wrote quite some time ago on developing a reading habit in children.