Tips and tricks to raise readers

Ensure access to a variety of reading materials. Net photo.

Raising readers starts with teaching them how to read‭. ‬Reading is a receptive skill used to receive information‭. ‬But the process‭ ‬of reading also requires the skill of speaking‭, ‬so that one can pronounce the words that they read‭.‬

Learning to read is a skill and it requires hard work and loads of practice‭. ‬However‭, ‬once such skills are imparted to the little ones‭, ‬they can turn out to be great readers‭, ‬authors‭, ‬eloquent speakers‭. ‬But this how it starts‭:‬

 

Make reading fun‭. ‬If the reading is boring‭, ‬kids won’t enjoy it‭. ‬Fun reading helps children hear language in new and diverse ways‭, ‬gives them a sense of story‭, ‬generates a bond between the reader and the child‭, ‬aids a special memory association between reading and a happy experience‭, ‬and crafts future readers and writers‭.‬

 

Give access to a variety of reading materials‭, ‬from books to newspapers to magazines‭. ‬Book baskets in every room‭. ‬When watching‭ ‬television‭, ‬enable closed captioning‭. ‬Label items in your home‭, ‬such as toy bins and dresser drawers‭.‬

 

Exposure to written words‭ ‬‮—‬‭ ‬labels‭, ‬schedules‭, ‬even closed captioning on the TV help you to increase exposure to print‭.‬

Provide access to writing materials‭. ‬Writing and reading are two important and intertwined skills‭. ‬Make sure your children have‭ ‬plenty of opportunity to write and draw‭. ‬Provide easy access to a variety of paper‭, ‬notebooks‭, ‬journals‭, ‬crayons‭, ‬markers‭, ‬pencils‭, ‬and many more‭. ‬

Allow your children to choose books‭. ‬Let your child choose a number of books of their choice‭. ‬You can help read aloud together with them as you explain what some words they aren’t familiar with mean‭.‬

Create conversations‭. ‬When exposed to different conversations‭, ‬kids learn how to use certain words in sentences and at specific‭ ‬times‭. ‬Their vocabulary grows as they practice how to pronounce words and know their meanings‭.‬

Read aloud to your child‭. ‬This shapes their vocabulary‭, ‬background knowledge‭, ‬reading eloquence‭, ‬pronunciation and listening skills‭. ‬Reading to the little ones should be consistent‭, ‬it should be done every day‭. ‬Even reading one page a day is better than reading none‭.‬

Show the pictures as you read‭. ‬Pictures help a child understand and connect to the book‭, ‬the illustrations often add wit and humorousness to fiction‭.‬

Ask questions about the book‭. ‬This makes kids be creative and pay attention to the book as they have to respond to questions asked‭. ‬Let your child critique the book‭.‬

Make space for silent reading every day‭. ‬A calm environment allows kids to concentrate on what they are reading‭.‬

Be a reading role model‭. ‬If a child sees your reading‭, ‬they will develop a reading culture as they might want to imitate what you do‭.‬

Keep books everywhere‭. ‬This gives kids a chance to read what they see‭. ‬Put a book in their bags‭, ‬bedrooms‭, ‬and different areas in the house so that they can’t resist reading them‭.‬

Choose books of their interest‭. ‬It is easy to get a child to read if the book is about their favourite subject‭. ‬It can be about‭ ‬nature‭, ‬painting‭, ‬morals‭, ‬and fun‭, ‬among others‭.‬

Talk literature‭. ‬Talk about favourite books‭, ‬authors‭, ‬stories‭, ‬and genres with your kids and with others‭. ‬Show your kids that you are interested in books and excited about their interest in books‭. ‬Talking about literature will help create a rich literary culture within the family‭.‬

Make reading and writing a part of everyday activities‭. ‬Read pamphlets in waiting rooms or‭, ‬for the younger kids‭, ‬read street signs while out and about‭.‬

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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