Importance of Engaging Children in Healthy Reading Habits

By Natasha Fariani

We are all well aware that cultivating good reading habits in our little ones is
essential for their development. But have you have ever wondered just how
important it is? Here are four reasons why:

1. Expands your child’s vocabulary

Reading daily to young children can aid your child in language acquisition.
This is because reading helps to stimulate the brain that allows them to build
an understanding of the language. Furthermore, the language used in books
are often more descriptive, and tends to use more formal grammatical
structures which is a perfect opportunity for your child to pick up new
vocabulary or reinforce the ones that they have learnt!

2. Improve literacy skills

Even if your child has yet to fully grasp what you are saying when you are reading to them, this process provides them with the necessary skills that they require to begin reading on their own. Through this, they begin to be aware that the words and pictures have meanings to them, and that the process of reading is from left to right and the turning of pages is essential for continuing. These are also skills that are important when your child begins to learn how to write.

3. Greater concentration

Regular reading sessions with your child can help in improving their attention span and discipline. Imagine this, after a busy day of running around here and there, you grab a book, settle into a chair with your child and you spend some time together to wind down and focus on the stories read. These
consistent reading sessions will help your child to sit still and listen for long periods of time which will greatly benefit them in school.

4. Imagination Station

Children are naturally born dreamers. It is truly amazing what that mind of theirs are capable of coming up with. So why not utilize that? Reading with your child helps them to tap on that extensive imagination of theirs as they go on adventures to places, they have never been before and visit people they have never met. Reading provides them with an imaginative outlet that the real world cannot offer. The greater the imagination that your child has, the greater the creativity.

So, now that we are aware of the benefits that reading has for our children, how can you start encouraging healthy reading habits in your child?
1. Choose a book of your child’s interest. Take trips to the library or the online bookstore and let your child decide on the books that interest them. Children are more likely to read the books that they pick out for themselves. Plus, it will be interesting to see the type of stories that they pick out.
2. Make reading a routine. Set aside some time each day to read at least one book with your child. This helps build the routine and also give both of you some time to relax. It’s a win-win situation!
3. Create a reading space. Sometimes a small cozy corner in their room or just a comfy chair is enough for them to go and sit down and read.
4. Ensure variation. Vary the books that you read to them. This would allow exposure to different genres of books.
5. Encourage discussion. Try asking questions during and after the reading session. Engaging the children during the story by asking them “What do you think happens next?”, is a surefire way to capture their interest by building the suspense. Asking questions after the story will also get the conversation going, especially if they have some thoughts of their own on how the story should have went.