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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Teaching Your Child to Love to Read

By Lily Morgan

Raising a child who loves books can be easy, if you have a plan. However, you must keep in mind that no matter how well you prepare to foster a love of books in your child, other influences may keep her from being a reader. All you can do as a parent is provide the encouragement, but the rest is up to your child.

One thing you can do to encourage a love of books is to read to your child from infancy on. This teaches her that reading involves special time with mom and dad. She will associate books with affection, which encourages a sense of security and a love for books as objects that bring security to her. As your child matures and is able to play with toys on her own, provide books that she can touch, chew, and bang around. Even if she ends up destroying them, she will begin to associate books with having fun.

Sometimes small children want the same book read repeatedly in the same sitting. As an adult, this may feel like a tedious chore. Do it anyway. Repetitive reading is one of the best ways children learn new words. Do not force your child to listen to a book if she is giving you signals that she would rather do something else. When children are young, reading must be a pleasant experience.

As your child begins to read, give her a special place in the house that is her reading corner. It could be a beanbag pillow in her bedroom or a special child-sized rocking chair in the living room. While reading doesn't have to be done only in this corner, having that special place set aside for reading will make it feel like a special event in her day. Let her choose the reading chair in a special shopping trip with mom or dad.

Once your child begins learning how to read, you should still read to her. This will improve her vocabulary as you introduce her to words she has never heard or seen before. Take turns reading paragraphs or sentences to make reading a group effort.

If you find that your child does not like to read, you may be tempted to bribe her to read. Avoid this if you can. Bribery does not cultivate a love of books. It teaches your child that reading is something to be endured for a reward. Instead, try to figure out why she doesn't like to read. Are the books you have offered her boring to her? Does she have a reading disability that needs to be addressed? Does she need glasses? Try to find books that appeal to her, even if they are not topics you are interested in, and read those books with her.

Finally, model good reading behavior whenever you can. Your children should see you reading a wide variety of materials. You should read books, magazines, newspapers, and even advertisements. Your child will learn from your example that reading is something to be enjoyed every day of her life.



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