Children are born with natural curiosity. They crave for understanding about the world around them. They ask questions and seek for answers everywhere in order to satisfy their thirst. One of the ways is through reading.
Many children read the same books over and over again, and parents might see that as a repetitive act. There is something in the text that is bringing children back time after time. Research shows that repeated reading of favorite books can boost vocabulary by up to 40% especially when the text is read aloud. How does that happen?
Surprisingly, it is there in text itself. The text available in books is different from everyday conversation that children have with their parents and peers. Research finds that there are so many unique words existing in books that don’t exist in everyday speech.
Therefore, not only are children introduced to new topics around them, but through reading they also learn new words that are generally outside the scope of children’s everyday lives. Books also contain a variety of sentence structures that would be beneficial for children to learn as well as more complex sentences that children don’t encounter in daily conversation.
Psychologists have also explained that people remember information better when it’s in the form of stories because stories help us visualize things more vividly.
However, the question is “why do children lose or why don’t they develop a reading habit?”
One of the reasons may be because people in their surroundings don’t read.
Recent research says that it takes more than two months on average for a new behavior to become automatic. At school of course we have language programs and Library lessons that can encourage the students to develop their habit of reading. However, of course to develop a reading habit, we can’t just rely on lessons that only take an hour every week. Therefore, classes will also need to set their own sustained reading time for students in order to make sure of the development.
What can parents do at home in this matter?
Parents also have a very important role in developing this reading habit. We can help the children by setting a reading program or giving around fifteen minutes reading time for children at home, letting them indulge themselves in the world inside books.
What is the most important thing that needs to be there? The presence. There are many researchers who talk about involving parents in children’s reading habit, from reading aloud to children to just simply reading with them. Children enjoy the bond parents form with them, being excited over the same thing.
It is always a good start to provide children with good books around them in order to provoke their reading habit. But what is more valuable is our presence when they actually read. Let them tell us what the story is about, or what they have learned from the story, or simply their experiences that are similar to the stories they read.
Reading time is more than just fifteen minutes silent reading for children. It is their time to develop their knowledge and skills as well as to create a bond with people around them. Therefore, make it worthwhile.
(Melina Maria – PENABUR Banda Primary)