Everywhere I go, I always get comments when they see my children clutching a handful of books “Oh wow, your children love books!” I respond with a smile and with a sense of pride. Well, like with other parenting skills it takes time, practice and consistency to get the results you want!
I remember when the Ipad was launched. I was in New Zealand and my sister from Philippines mentioned the Ipad. I was like, “Huh, what’s that?” and she told me all the good things it can do. It sounded very intriguing and promising. The allure of getting one is so immense as everybody we know has to have one! Up until now, we never had an Ipad in our household. Ever. In a Montessori classroom, any form of devices are a no, no, and I even recommend to my parents not to let children under 3s play with Ipads! There are enough things they can play with at home. At this age what children need are experiences, nature, and parent’s attention.
If you want to instill the love of reading, you have to start at a very young age. Books can open up your child’s imagination, they become more inquisitive, it enhances their vocabulary and the best thing of all, reading books becomes a pleasurable activity for them – which in turn when they are older or at school when they are asked to read and research they are keen to do so. It becomes a pleasure activity, not a chore.
Here are some practical hints to help you get started.
1. Read every night – yes. Every night, I love reading with my children (who are 10 and 13 years old now). I see reading as an opportunity to bond with them, and to give them my undivided attention. After dinner, they look forward to our “reading time”. This is a great time to wind down and be silly especially when I’m reading a funny book. When they were younger (toddler age) I read to them for 30 minutes or so depending on the book we were reading. They got to choose 3 books each.
There were times I read to my daughter while my husband read to my son, and then we swap. And we get to read the same books over and over! Imagine the new words they hear, the immense vocabulary they are exposed at a very young age. Repetition and consistency add a great deal. Reading time is also a good transition to sleep time. This has been a routine we have been religiously following up until now.
2. Make time to go to the Library – One of our routines, since my children were little, is to go the local library on weekends and borrow books. If we ran out of books in the middle of the week, we go as well. There were times we went two or three times a week! Every time they ask me to go the library I rarely say no. Whenever we travel and visit a new town, they are also keen to check out the local library. The funny thing is they think that they can just be a member of any libraries! I let them choose what they want to read, and I only offer guidance very rarely they are happy to ask the Librarian for a recommendation. I encourage them to read different genres and fiction or non-fiction.
3. Buy books instead of toys. – I take my kids to bookstores instead of a retail toy store – I remember when they were young, they are only allowed lego toys or anything that can be constructed or used over and over again. For treats, they get to choose one book a week or every fortnight. They have a personal collection of books. Their wardrobe is full of books and not clothes.
4. When out and about – bring books!
Whenever I have an appointment with doctors or we need to be somewhere that I know it might be awhile for us to get home, I asked them to bring their favourite book so they can read while waiting.
My children know how to use iPads because of friends and they have used it at their school. Some of my friends commented, “Don’t you think you are depriving your children?” And I replied with a conviction in my voice, “I think my children are privileged to be brought up in a home where their imagination has taken them around the world and will continue to do so.” Yes, with a flick and a swipe with iPads will give you loads of entertainment for a while, but books will give you a lasting wonderful experience.
–take positive actions that will help the child to want to choose to read:
“Perhaps most important, researchers should emphasize to parents consequences of the fact that leisure reading is a choice. The child must decide if he should rather read than engage in the other available activities. Thus, parents must change the home environment so that reading is, at least sometimes, the most appealing choice. A straightforward way to begin is to put books in places where the child is typically bored. A child should have a basket of books in the car. There should be a basket of books in the bathroom. Parents can keep a child’s book with them when running errands; you never know when you will get stuck in a line. Parents should visit the library regularly, and linger there—doing so will likely lead to reading.
In addition to making books available, parents should consider making distractions less available. That means capping screen time, and certainly refraining from putting screens into the places—the car, the bedroom—where a child is most likely to choose reading.”
Moving Educational Psychology Into The Home: The Case of Reading 2015(Cognitive Scientist Daniel Willingham)