Reading is an activity that has many important implications for human development. Among other things, it allows us to understand the elements that surround us and to interact with them.
It is also a habit that is learned in early childhood. In this article, we present some tips that can be helpful in encouraging reading in children, As well as the importance of promoting their interest in this activity.
The importance of reading in childhood
The period from 0 to 6 years is considered early childhood. During this period, children go through different stages where certain stimuli attract them more than others, which means that they are more willing to learn certain things, or through certain techniques.
For example, from 0 to 2 years, learning is mediated by their interaction with adults, Especially towards those who are their caregivers or educators. In addition, this step is crucial because the skills necessary for communication are developed.
Between the ages of 3 and 4, socialization begins to occur outside the family nucleus, mainly because children enter school. From the age of 4, learning takes place in a more structured way. The important reference at the moment is the educational system, always in the family or the closest emotional nucleus.
In all these stages, language plays a crucial role in a child’s development, Both for cognitive processes and for interaction with others. Language in this sense is not limited to the verbal use of words, but is a whole process by which children give meaning and meaning to the things around them. It is the latter that allows them both to establish a personal identity and to communicate with others.
One of the practices that particularly encourages language development, as well as communication and even affect, is reading. It is therefore important to encourage reading from early childhood because this allows the child understand and interact with the worldAnd also understand the place it occupies within it.
How to encourage reading in children?
Reading not only has to do with the ability to decipher linguistic signs, but it is about the different manifestations of culture that surround these signs and the narratives they construct (Ramírez and de Castro, 2013). This is essential for interacting and establishing desires, emotions and feelings, as well as for externalization.
1. make reading a meaningful encounter
When it comes to young children (especially between 0 and 2 years old), reading is encouraged every time an activity that also strengthens the bond between the child and the caregivers.
In other words, to read must mean something shared, because as we have seen, young children learn mostly from adults. Encouraging meaningful encounters with reading is something that encourages reading itself, as it influences how children perceive and feel this activity, and therefore how they will receive or seek it out later.
One thing that can be very simple is reading with them at bedtime, before taking a nap, or after an activity that requires rest. Doing this over the long term also allows them to associate reading with a moment of relaxation.
2. Use attractive materials and a striking shade
Children learn through the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste), so it is important to choose engaging stories and materials. For example, there are a lot of books that have textures or sounds, And it’s important to look for those that don’t have a lot of complex words or phrases.
As we tell the stories ourselves, it is important to maintain a tone and volume of voice that is striking and that changes depending on the story they are telling. In this way, we encourage the recognition of emotions and draw the child’s attention to the reading.
Another related activity is creating stories with the children themselves, especially when they are a little older. For example, create an animal story with pictures the child chooses or with family photos. Likewise, present the parts or elements of a book (leaves, cover, drawings …) in an attractive way.
3. Allow the child to choose freely
Often, children are drawn to the same book over and over again. It is important to give them the freedom to choose for themselves the story that catches their attention the most, so that their interest in reading is not interrupted.
It is also important offer different reading methods. There is literature written by children, and there is literature written or adapted for children. One thing that encourages children’s interest in reading is to have several options on hand and present them one by one, so that they can explore their interests and become interested in them freely.
4. Allocate special and comfortable space for reading
Because reading is not an activity which is reduced to the comprehension of words or drawings, but our emotions, desires, needs or moods are brought into play; it is also important to read in a comfortable place.
One thing that can be striking for children is to allocate a special space for reading, which according to our possibilities can have, for example, a custom-made sofa, small pillows or a rug, as well as a basket, a drawer or a shelf. With different books.
5. make sure the daily routine includes reading (create the habit)
reading it can become a habit, And as such, is a practice that can be enhanced by continuous repetition. Especially when it comes to more children, the habit of reading can be encouraged if we devote time to it daily.
If the child is not used to reading on his own, it is important to do it with him, and to invite him through books that strike him (but not to us) and at a careful pace . In this way, you can explore the reading according to your own interest, instead of understanding it as a tedious, obligatory or boring activity.
- Ramírez, C. (2013). Reading in early childhood. Disciplinary letters from the UCP, Pereira-Colombia, no. 20: 7-21.