Develop Reading Habits In Children

Develop Reading HabitsAs summertime approaches, kids look forward to overseas breaks, picnics, slumber parties and an interlude from studies! This break, although a temporary bliss for the children can cost them dearly in terms of academic learning.

In-depth research conducted worldwide indicates that ‘summer slide’ or loss of academic skills learned over the past year, is evident in children who don’t read through the summer. This results in teachers spending nearly up to 6-8 weeks reviewing the skills and information taught the year before. A loss of reading lasting up to three months per academic year can lead to a cumulative, long-term effect which can pile up over the years leading to a fall in grades and linguistic abilities.

Statistics show that kids who read through the summer holidays tend to gain a month of reading proficiency. Teachers save time in re-adaptation and focus on educating new skills and information. The time translated into weeks saved is critical in covering other tasks and extra-curricular activities. Leisure reading during the holiday period, helps in vocabulary improvement, retaining information, improved comprehension and creative skills, and memorization of academic material. Not to forget, it is also the greatest stress buster! Children, through reading, can develop their personal choices in genres, subject and ideas.

How Can Parents Help Foster Reading Habits In Children?

Encourage reading at all possible opportunities: It can be a wonderful activity for rainy days, long waits at malls or supermarkets, at the airport or in flights or long rides. Ensure your child reads daily for 30 minutes to an hour. This keeps the students’ vocabulary and reading ability growing during the summer.

Make a list of at least four or five books they can read over the break. A clear goal to read at least a few books sets children off for the summer with a reading plan they have self-selected. Post reminders for children to read books. Hang recommendations on the refrigerator, in the child’s room, on the wardrobe as a constant reminder. Make a cozy nook or corner for them to read. Read aloud to kids daily. By reading aloud we are inculcating good listening, vocabulary and fluency skills in children, besides emphasizing the importance of reading.

Make reading fun! Encourage them to use new vocabulary words learned by playing anagrams or crosswords or just simply writing a story thereby developing their creative skills along the way.

Reading through newspapers or magazines, and not just books goes a long way in keeping them informed of the world at large too.
Encourage children to discuss what they have read and given their reviews. If they have seen the movie, then encourage them to critically review and compare both. Ask them to connect what they have read with their own life or a place or perhaps another similar story.
Hold a book exchange. Children can exchange books with friends in their society. Encourage this as a means of saving and also socializing with friends to discuss books.

Reading challenges are widely available on the internet. Use these challenges to motivate the children to stay dedicated to the task.
Enroll children in reading clubs Give students a chance to debate, open their mind to varied ideas and be great socializing hubs.
Gifting Books. Avoid creating incentives for pizza and toys as rewards for good behavior or reading for a time limit. Instead consider books, bookmarks, or bookstore gift cards to purchase gifts of their choice. If you have extra books in the end, donate to a local school, charity or the school library! This inculcates in the children feeling of service before self.

Students reading through the Summer

Reading through the summer is not a choice but a critical need to help students refine their linguistic and literacy skills. Those facing difficulties in concentration and focusing can use this period to improve these skills. Make reading time a part of the family routine to promote reading habits in children. Join local circulating libraries, purchase books at throwaway prices on cash-back scheme, or simply go the modern way and read a book online!

About Author: Mrs. Sunita Bakhru, IB DP Librarian – JBCN International

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