Who is worse than an illiterate person? One who can read but doesn’t!
This fact may hit you like a thunderbolt but it is true. And you certainly don’t want your kid to belong to that category, do you?
You want the best life possible for your kid. You want your kid to do well in school, get good marks and grades, get admission in the best possible institutions for higher studies, settle down and advance in his/her career and turn out to be a very good citizen, bringing name and fame for him/her self and make you proud. The foundation for all these to materialize is the love for reading in your kid. Yes, it has been well established that a good reading habit is key to academic success. It is more so in these modern days of information explosion.
Reading habit in kids:
But the reality is different & disturbing. Studies have concluded that kids begin to lose whatever interest they have in reading for pleasure and knowledge, other than for academic compulsions, by age eight. Then, the decline is further accentuated, never to look up again. Over the last 20 years, the percentage of late teens with no reading habit has doubled. This is an alarming trend, as it has far reaching repercussions.
If you ask the kids why they don’t feel like reading, they would come up with lame excuses like lack of time, too busy with academics, too exhausted etc. Some of the actual reasons may turn out to be that there are far too many diversions for kids these days; even if a kid wants to read, he feels the peer pressure that looks down upon reading.
So, what should you do?
1) Find out the areas of interest for your kid and try to stock up books relating to those topics. Let him/her read a few & zero in on favourite authors; it is then easy for you to stock up books of the kid’s favourite authors. Show keen interest in updating yourself about his/her favourite authors’ latest works and check with your kid if he/she has read them. Read those books yourself and take time to discuss and review with your kid. This will keep the interest for reading alive in your kid.
2) Go with the times and let the kid use any reading technologies that are in with the trend and those which are comfortable for your kid. The book may be accessed by your kid through kindle or other ebook sources, instead of the conventional print. So long as the kid reads, it should be ok.
3) Make a DEAR time, fixed for each day. This is Drop Everything & Read time, fixed before dinner, after dinner or any other suitable time, for any length of time desired. This is the time when everyone at home simply reads a book of his/her choice. This routine should never be broken unless in an emergency. The kid will soon develop the habit of reading regularly, which will stay for life.
4) Create the right ambience of reading at home, not only during DEAR time but at other times as well. Let there be a quiet corner stocked with plenty of books on various topics. You, as a parent must also be reading often in front of the kid, who will absorb the habit too. Remember, kids observe and learn to do whatever the parents do at home. Take pride that your home is a home of good readers, by encouraging and involving others too into reading. Subscribe to book libraries and use the subscription to get books, magazines etc., on varied topics so that the kid is exposed to them.
5) Look out for potential problems for the kid if he/she struggles to read; it may be due to problems with vision or a learning disability. Don’t hesitate to take professional help to solve the problem.
The more the kid reads, the wiser the kid becomes. The kid’s imagination expands beyond boundaries and gets enriched with knowledge distilled from the author’s treasure trove of knowledge and experiences. Let your kid be armed with this unmatched advantage and continue to enjoy reading lifelong.
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