Growing up isn’t what it used to be. In days gone, most of us were content riding a bike, playing in the rains or curling up with a good book reading a classic. While tablets, videogames and TV have taken centre stage with most kids today, it is never too early (or late for that matter) to start cultivating a love for books in your children. Feel free to begin here…
Kids, just like adults, may get frustrated with a roadblock in life. If they find a book challenging or boring, then they may shut down. Melissa Taylor, a child literacy trainer, recommends a five-finger test to determine whether a book is appropriate for a child’s level.
The five-finger test
Open a random page in the middle of a book and read it aloud. If there are three or more than five words your child doesn’t understand or cannot pronounce, then the book is difficult to read without help or to understand at that point in time.
Give them the power to choose
Nobody likes being constantly told what to do and the same applies to kids. By allowing them to choose a book that appeals to them, you not only build their confidence and decision making skills, but it also shows them that you trust them and their ability to figure out what their preferences are. Visiting a library regularly makes choosing books easy and fun. Make it an even bigger treat (and some quality bonding time) by upping the stakes, for instance, getting them an entire series of a book they love.
Turn on the special effects
Nobody can resist a good story and sometimes that requires digging deep and a whole lot of commitment! Make story books come to life by giving characters different voices and adding drama to the narration. This helps children realise that beneath the surface is a really great story filled with imagination. Ask questions, (What do you think the king will do next? Which planet is closest to the sun?) and encourage your child to butt in with his own thoughts or questions and answers.
Make reading to your child a big deal and your special time together by taking the time to create space, room, ambiance and time for it. Go a step further by inviting your child to make suggestions. It need not be expansive or expensive. Identify a chair you can use and dub it ‘our reading chair’. If you both enjoy drinking milk, cocoa or tea at night, then incorporate that and make it your ‘reading snack.’ Once your child sees how big a deal it is for both of you to have this time, then it will also matter to them. Remember; parenting is not just a title, it is a commitment. Which one is it going to be? A good one or a wasted one? You decide.
Through the Stories For Life six-part series of stories, mothers can read to their children easily. Get the Geisha Stories For Life free by downloading the set of stories from your phone from the site www.geishastories.com or dialing *436*2#