Reading is one of the greatest activities of all times. We might be a little biased here, because we love reading as much as the average teenager loves pop music (or as much as everyone in the world loves pizza). But whether you share our same passion or not, you are probably fully aware of how necessary reading is for character development and general knowledge. You probably also agree that one of the best hobbies to engage a child in is reading. In this article, we will tell you how to choose the best books for kids, how to help them fall in love with reading, and how to make the best out of your child’s passion for the written word.
Young children are like a vast land full of potential and possibilities. Parents, friends, and the outside world help forming it. You can work on civilizing it, providing the child with a strong foundation to build on once they are old enough. Or you can neglect it and leave them with a desert, hardly capable of supporting their forthcoming education. The benefits reading can bring to your child’s life are countless, but because your child is young and easily influenced, your choice of books and reading material is critical.
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Most hobbies out there will positively contribute to a child’s development. But reading particularly can help enhance their life and guarantee them a level of success. A child who reads has an early understanding of life. They are probably constantly exposed to different stories, experiences, and life lessons. They say that reading gives you the opportunity to live a thousand lives. Your reading child has figured that out and they’re already living more lives than their young years could tell.
Early reading provides your child with grammar, syntax, and spelling skills. These skills are essential for your child’s progress at school. A reading child also has a better understanding of math and sciences. Additionally, a reading child has already opened the door for their hunger for knowledge. They are more independent when it comes to learning. If a topic interests them, they would know where to look and how to find it. They’ll learn more than their school curricula offer them. And they’ll love it.
Reading teaches your child tolerance and open-mindedness. They’ll learn about different cultures, exotic traditions, and extraordinary situations. A reading child is a more compassionate person. They probably read about human suffering and they can generally empathize with the victim. A reading child is less likely to bully others or cause trouble.
Your reading child is probably more eloquent and has more advanced critical thinking skills than their peers. These qualities will grow with the child and help them in their quest for a suitable job. A child who has almost seen the world in the books they consumed will most defiantly end up more ambitious, wanting to see for themselves and try for themselves. They’d want a better career and a better quality of life; they won’t settle for a high school diploma and a dead end job.
Generally, your child’s love for books could change their life. It will change their outlook on the world and open doors for them. And you know what is the best part? Reading is enjoyable. It won’t be homework; it won’t be a long boring course on how to do better at life. Reading would eventually be like your child’s good friend: a friend you can trust and rely on, a friend that would want the best for them.
How to Introduce a Child to Reading?
Don’t wait until your child can perfectly read and write before you start wondering why they aren’t that much into books. Children books should be your introductory method, and you should start as early as possible. Waiting for school age to introduce reading to your child is not good for them. By then, they have already associated books with school work, and that can be quite repulsive. You don’t want your child’s relationship with books to be forced. Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind:
- It’s important to establish positive associations. Very young children still don’t have the mental capabilities to like an activity and resent another. But they can form associations, like pets. Surround your special reading time with your baby with a lot of love and affection. Pick one of your favorite children’s books, one with a lot of pictures and colors, and read out loud for your child as you point at the pictures and explain.
- As your child grows a little older, they would want to imitate your every move. Seeing you with a book and observing the respect and carefulness with which you handle your books will definitely intrigue them. They would want to be like you.
- Allow your child their own time with books, even when they are too young to read or the books are too heavy for their age. Let the child explore the magic, the scent, and the feel of a book. They would be very curious to understand what it’s all about. In this case, sit with them and summarize what the book is about. Tell them that once they are old enough, they can read it themselves!
- Encourage your child to have their own library or their own collection. Observe their favorite genre of books and always provide them with more. Encourage them to be proud of their collection, to save money of their own allowance to buy the next book. Reward their commitment with their favorite dessert or an outing they enjoy.
- Take your child to a library. Indulge them in activities with other children of their age. Have storytelling play dates, and encourage your child to read their own story to their friends.
- Finally, never force your child into a book they dislike. Watch out for any difficulties they might be facing while reading, like a concentration problem or eye pains and headaches. It is important to identify an issue early rather than stressing out over your child’s lack of excitement or disinterest in books.
You have probably noticed that reading can bring you and your child closer. It allows you quality time with them and they will grow up to be endlessly grateful for the efforts you put into introducing them to the written word.
The Best Children’s Books
There are thousands of children books out there. You would want to choose the best quality for your child and to make sure it is appropriate for their age and suitable for their interests.
- Start with finding a reputable source. A good source would give credibility to the book you’ll eventually choose. You can then proceed comfortably and choose your child’s topics of interest.
- Check the Association for Library Service to Children’s lists of children’s most notable books.
- Make a quick online search of the best children’s books for the current year. Check out the Top 100 Children’s Books of All Time here.
- Most importantly, learn about your child’s favorites. If they are especially interested in a certain animal, say penguins, then your best pick would have something to do with penguins. If space fascinates them, then space settings should be your first choice.
- Also, learn what would constitute a good book for children.
What Constitutes Great Books for Kids?
Finding the right book among all the books for kids, published in thousands each year, is not an easy task. Here are a few tell-tale signs you can look for in your next book shopping.
Does It Teach a Lesson?
Does this children book have a moral? Does it entertain your child but also expand their brain? Does it tell them about the world, words, numbers, or colors? Does it introduce simple concepts? Does it reinforce positive behavior?
It is important for your child’s learning to engage in educational activities. Nothing can be both educational and fun as much as reading. You would want to make the best out of that so pick a story that teaches your child something new. Complicated concepts can be put down into simple words and drawings. Teach your child about consequences, differences, love, and acceptance.
Are the Characters Relatable?
Your child will probably be more interested in a character they can relate to or see themselves or one of their parents through. Children have great imagination and they would enjoy a trip in the wilds or an adventure in Africa. Choosing a story with relatable characters allows your child to make the association and completely empathize with the story. If your child feels connected to the story, it will most likely end up being one of their favorites.
Is the Story Age-Appropriate?
Your 3-year old won’t enjoy the same stories your 6-year old would, and vice versa. Make sure your children book is suitable to the child’s age. If the story is too complicated for the child, they won’t understand or enjoy it. On the other hand, if the story is too simple for an older child, they wouldn’t find any educational value in it, and it will probably bore them.
So it is simple. Give the book a quick read before you introduce it to your child. Your presentation might make a difference if your child still cannot read on their own.
The Books for Kids Foundation
Some children are not fortunate enough to have caring and invested parents who would put time and effort into reading with their children. Some other families don’t have the means to support book purchase. Consequently, a huge number of children grow up hardly capable of reading. They struggle at school, and they eventually either drop out or graduate with very low grades. These children are deprived of the possibility of a successful happier future.
One of the foundation’s programs is the StoryTime Program. Community members and volunteers engage children in storytelling activities, including fun puppet shows and sing-alongs. This program does a great job in allowing the children the chance to realize that reading can be fun, that it’s full of possibilities. It establishes the good associations that couldn’t be established at home.
If you are around the area and are interested in volunteering for the StoryTime Program, fill in this form and send it back to the foundation’s website.
Feed Their Love for Books
Finally, if you recognize a passion for books in your young child, do everything to feed their love. Take them to their favorite author signing event. Buy them the books they can’t afford for Christmas and birthdays. Encourage them. Tell them you are proud they chose such a great hobby to spend their time with.
If your child is still an infant, don’t waste another day not introducing them to a big colorful book with drawings and happy characters. You’ll be amazed at how much you will enjoy it yourself too. And they’ll be amazed at the time machine you just threw in their hands.
If you have a child with special needs, don’t deprive your kid of the wonders and joys of books. Introduce your child to audiobooks at a young age. Familiarize your child with beautiful stories of youngsters who completely overcame their disabilities.
Whatever the situation is, it’s your responsibility as a parent or a primary caregiver to take your child’s hand and walk them to the magic gates of books. Do it today and they’ll definitely be thanking you later. It’s one incredibly important step in their development, to guarantee them a fulfilling future, and more importantly, to watch them grow up gracefully, with intelligence and wisdom, and certainly potential beyond their years!