Do’s & Don’t s to Inculcate the Habit of Reading


10_ways_motivate_your_childDos :

  • Begin reading to children as soon as possible. The younger you start them, the easier and better it is.
  • During repeat readings of a predictable book, occasionally stop at one of the key words or phrases and allow the listener to provide the word.
  • Start with picture books and build to storybooks and novels.
  • Set aside at least one traditional time each day for a story.
  • Vary the length and subject matter of your readings.
  • Before you begin to read, always announce the name of the book and the author and illustrator – no matter how many times you have read the book.
  • Remember: The art of listening is an acquired one. It must be taught and cultivated gradually-it doesn’t appear overnight.
  • If a child is too active to pay attention to a book, try telling some stories about a little boy or girl with the same name as your child. After a week, introduce a character to your stories who is also found in a children’s book like Eric Hill’s Where’s Spot? Gradually wean the child from your invented stories to those in books.
  • As you read, keep listeners involved by occasionally asking. “What do you think is going to happen next?”
  • Avoid long descriptive passages until the child’s imagination and attention span are capable of handling them. There’s nothing wrong with shortening or eliminating them. Prereading helps to locate them.
  • Remember that reading aloud comes naturally to very few people. To do it successfully, and with ease you must practice.
  • Use plenty of expression when reading. If possible, change your tone of voice to fit the dialogue.
  • Allow time for discussion after reading a story. Thoughts, hopes, fears, and discoveries are aroused by a book. Allow them to surface and help the child to deal with them through verbal, written, or artistic expression if the child is so inclined. Do not turn discussions into quizzes or insist upon prying story interpretations from the child.
  • The most common mistake in reading aloud is reading too fast. Read slowly enough for the listener to build mental pictures of what’s just heard you read.
  • Every once in a while, when a child asks a question involving the text, make a point of looking up the answer in a reference book with the child. This greatly expands a child’s knowledge base and nurtures library skills.
  • Reluctant readers or unusually active children frequently find it difficult to just sit and listen. Paper, crayons, and pencils allow them to keep their hands busy while listening.
  • Always have a supply of books for the babysitter to share with the child and make it understood that “reading aloud” comes with the job.
  • Lead by example. Make sure your kids see you reading for pleasure other than at read-aloud time.
  • When children wish to read to you, it is better for the book to be too easy than too hard, just as it is better that a beginner’s bicycle be too small than too big.
  • Encourage older children to read to younger ones, but make this a part-time, not a full-time substitution for you. Remember: The adult should be the ultimate role model.

Don’ts :

  • Don’t read stories that you don’t enjoy yourself.
  • Don’t continue reading a book once it is obvious that is was a poor choice. Admit the mistake and choose another. Make sure, however, that you’ve given the book a fair chance to get rolling.
  • Don’t be fooled by award. Just because a book won an award doesn’t guarantee that it will make a good read-aloud. In most cases, a book award is given for the quality of the writing, not for its read-aloud qualities.
  • Don’t get too comfortable while reading. A reclining or slouching position is most apt to bring on drowsiness.
  • Don’t confuse quantity with quality. Reading to your child for ten minutes, given your full attention and enthusiasm, may very well last longer in the child’s mind than two hours of solitary television watching.
  • Don’t try to compete with television. If you say, “Which do you want, a story or TV” they will usually choose the latter. Since you are the adult, you choose. Don’t let books appear to be responsible for depriving the children of viewing time.
  • Don’t use the book as a threat – “If you don’t pick up your room, no story tonight!” As soon as your child sees that you’ve turned the book into a weapon, they’ll turn their attitude about books from positive to negative.
  • Don’t be unnerved by questions during the reading, particularly from very young children. Answer their questions patiently. Don’t put them off. Don’t rush your answer.
  • Don’t impose interpretations of a story upon your audience. A story can be just plain enjoyable, no reason necessary. But encourage conversation about the reading.