With the new generations of digital native children who are born immersed in technology, the challenge of encouraging reading in childhood takes on even more importance.
In this article, you’ll read why it’s essential to cultivate this habit early and learn how to help little ones become great readers!
The importance of reading in childhood
Even before a child learns to read, it is possible to introduce him to the world of reading. So, this early contact with books and stories is critical to the development of children and their relationship with future reading.
Here we have some of the main reasons why children are encouraged to read are as follows:
1 – Reading develops vocabulary and interpretation
Since before birth, it has been shared for people to talk to babies. As a result, children soon learn their first words, which are the most used in their routine and have the most significant emotional relationship.
When they have new experiences, the little ones will gradually expand their vocabulary and, thus, get to know the world around them.
Moreover, reading is a great way to ensure this learning. So, in books, the child comes into contact with new situations, new places, and, consequently, many more words than the ones the family uses in their daily lives.
Furthermore, following a narrative, whether listening or reading the story, develops the ability to interpret the text. She becomes able to understand the characters and events from the text, also relating it to the images in an illustrated book. This makes them learn to deal with abstract concepts and better express their ideas and feelings.
2 – Reading improves concentration and memory
Immerse yourself in a good story is an immersive experience that puts children in a time of great concentration and focus. This is unusual in other activities: when a child is playing with a digital device. For example, different stimuli are frequently used to encourage the child to do multiple things at once or quickly change their focus of attention.
To follow the plot of a book, the child learns to pay attention, making a mental effort to know all the characters and remember the previous events to understand the story’s development.
Little ones often pay so much attention that they recount the story to family and friends, showing how reading helps develop their memory skills.
3 – Books encourage imagination and creativity
So, each book is a new world to explore. If the world around them is already an excellent mystery for children, knowing magical, mythological; or even realistic stories that escape their daily lives is an essential experience.
When reading, we imagine the characters, settings, and events in the story as if they were real. Thus, the children’s natural creativity is encouraged when they encounter books: they learn to know what is real; what is make-believe while realizing that imagination can make anything possible.
4 – Reading promotes empathy and the willingness to learn
So, stories are one of the most powerful ways to see things from different angles. By placing themselves in the perspective of roles and experiencing their experiences through reading, children will develop empathy and realize that they are not the center of the world.
In other words, he learns that understanding other realities and being concerned about other people’s feelings is very important. This helps the little ones to understand their own emotions too.
Furthermore, we are still getting to know the world in childhood, and getting in touch with different realities (and fantasies!) further stimulates children’s natural curiosity. Thus, reading stimulates the thirst for learning more and more.
5 – They are reading as a family strengthens affective bond
Get a book as a gift, read with the family or listen to a story before bed. So, these are moments that will stay in your memory forever!
Moreover, reading to a child is a way to strengthen emotional bonds, spend significant time with the family, and relax and cuddle with your child, while reading is a beautiful way to connect with them.
What if the child doesn’t like to read?
Many parents sadly say: “My son doesn’t like to read. I’ve tried everything.” Indeed, we cannot deny that children are exposed to more and more stimuli and activity options in their daily lives.
In addition to playing, the little ones occupy a good part of their time with television, video games, and the internet. So, what usually happens is that children start to see reading as an obligation, something unpleasant and linked to school at some point in childhood.
At this point, books lose their charm compared to all other entertainment options, and reading is considered boring. When this happens, the task becomes increasingly tricky, learning new things, in or out of class.
How to encourage childhood reading
So, cultivating the habit of reading from an early age and developing a positive relationship with books in childhood is essential for child development and the child’s future.
So, those who do not like to read because of interpretation difficulties or because they were little stimulated may face obstacles to studying new things, have the autonomy to learn on their own, and even develop professionally.
All of this can change by relating to reading from an early age, carried out throughout life. We have some essential tips on how to provide children with good reading experiences and ensure they fall in love with the world of books early on:
1 – Choose age-appropriate books
For the little reader, getting in touch with the right books at the right time can make all the difference. In addition, there are children’s books aimed at babies, preschoolers, even older ones, and pre-teens.
From the language and vocabulary used to the relationship between the text and the illustrations, these elements can make reading an unforgettable experience or frustrating. That’s why this choice is so important!
2 – Pay attention to possible difficulties
So, it is also common for children to get frustrated with reading when they have a difficulty that hinders their experience. It can range from a problem in language acquisition or literacy, difficulty in interpreting the text, or even vision or neurological problems.
Be aware that the child shows signs such as changing letters, difficulty communicating, or writing. Keep encouraging respecting your time and, if necessary, seek out specialists such as psychotherapists.
Early follow-up helps prevent a small problem from having lasting effects on your child’s development and your relationship with reading.
3 – Make reading fun
Seeing reading as an obligation and associating it with a tedious activity is one of the main reasons most adults do not read. For this to change, it is necessary to encourage a different relationship from an early age!
Furthermore, studies prove that having fun helps us learn more. The child is much more likely to understand and remember what they read when they are having fun.
Bring the characters to life, enact the roles and create the sound effect. These are some ideas on how reading can become an absolute joke.
4 – Create a reading routine and lead by example
To encourage reading is like any other habit; reading is an exercise every day, which only brings benefits. Only in this way will reading become a part of children’s daily life chooses to read with children every day, such as reading before going to bed. And the rest of the family will also benefit from making a reading habit.
With that, everyone will be an example for the children. Seeing yourself reading magazines, newspapers, and books shows the little one that reading is essential. So relax as a family as you each read your book and also read together every time.
5 – Connect reading with the child’s interests
The more reading is a part of a child’s life, the better. So to look for books on subjects she’s been learning at school or inspired that movie she loves.
It’s also worthwhile to invest in books featuring well-known characters, and about that subject she’s obsessed with; Dinosaurs, astronauts, football?
The nearest library has excellent stories on this topic! All of this allows the child to connect with the account and learn more from it.
6 – Take it for reading tours
Exploring libraries and bookstores is a fantastic experience! First, find a place where you can spend time and sit down to read calmly and comfortably. Then, leave the little one free to look for books that interest him.
Read them with him, ask him why he liked it and what is his favorite. Making an event out of reading can be a new form of leisure for the family. In addition to being cheap, it is an excellent opportunity for children to have fun and learn.
7 – Introduce different literary genres
Especially in childhood, it is essential to help the child contact different books and texts. Present the classics, best sellers, comic books, poems, fairy tales, true stories, and many other options.
Make sure your little one can access varieties of books, magazines, comics, ebooks, and whatever else they want. So, children who choose what they read, regardless of the format, are much more involved in reading.
This is the most important thing for her to experience other genres and formats throughout her life.
8 – Encourage a healthy relationship with technology
When used consciously, technology can encourage children’s development and be a great source of fun. However, excessive use can jeopardize other activities that are important for children. Such as outdoor play and reading, for example.
Regulating the times and places of use of digital devices in childhood is very important. This helps encourage your child to enjoy offline activities such as reading a book.