Upbringing Your Child

Give your children the gift of words

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kids reading Give your children the gift of words

After dabbling a little in teaching myself, I have come to realize that a lot of parents’ major complaint is that their children do not read. After interviewing a group of avid readers and based on personal experience, I have found that there are a few things that all parents do that encourages their children to become life-long readers.

Read aloud to them.

Yes, you may have seen these on the streets in Karachi, ‘Read to your child 15 minutes everyday.” Trust me, it works. Children love being read to and it is a chance for you to become a child with them and put on a show. Soon, when they start reading those stories for themselves, your voice will resound in their minds and they will feel the thrill all over again. Read them Sherlock Holmes, Enid Blyton, Harry Potter. There is no limit to what they can absorb in their formative years.

Indulge their passions

Alright, so your daughter has an unhealthy obsession with Mary-Kate and Ashley books or your son only reads spy thrillers. Indulge these phases. From personal experience, I was a  Sweet Valley hoarder, I wanted to have them all. I thought I would never get over them but I did. I often see parents complaining that their child does not read the classics or something age -appropriate. Don’t rush them, after their initial infatuation has passed they will seek out better things to read.

Always keep books in the house

This may seem obvious but many parents scrimp out of spending on books just because the price is too high. No price is too high, let your child fall in love with the feel of paper and the smell of new books. Take them to thrift shops and let them delight in the mustiness of aging words. A study by renowned physician and consultant, Edward de Bono, found that children who grew up in a house with at least 50 books are more likely to go to college. So stock up on books and always have a shelful where they are within easy reach.

Set an example.

Children follow by example so it is no use telling them to read when they do not see you reading themselves. A common behavior in this part of the world is acting as if someone reading is not doing anything important. Try not to break your child’s attention too many times. In fact read your own book when they are absorbed in theirs. And if a book keeps them up all night, encourage it, because they are falling in love with words. One sleepless night for the next chapter is no harm.

Reading is a life-long passion and one whose gift keeps giving back. One last thing, do not set rewards for reading. It only stresses that if they read this much they will get a prize, because reading is its own reward. 

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