Starting kids on the reading habit at home
(The Freeman) - January 22, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - It is a common fact that kids love stories. They are quick to mill around as an older family member or the teacher at school begin to tell a story.  Child psychologists explain that children are easily captivated by stories because of their fertile imagination - scenes come alive in their minds as the story is told.

But kids do not have to solely depend on older people to hear good stories. If they know how to read, much more stories are available to them. Books are a very rich source of good stories for all - kids and grownups alike - and these stories are ever ready for anyone who makes the time for reading.

The problem that parents often encounter in getting the kids to read, though, is how to start it. Some parents even think that such a challenge exclusively belong in school. But the kids' process of education mainly takes place both at school and at home. Education experts say that children learn faster and better if the lessons taught at school are followed up at home.

On starting the kids in the reading habit, the website suggests easy, practical ways that parents may try at home.

1. Nourishing the Meal Time. Have your kids read recipes aloud to you while you're cooking dinner. From ingredient lists to cooking directions, this kind of family reading will help build vocabulary, fluency… and a meal!

2. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? While your family is eating together, discuss what your favorite characters would have for dinner - Harry Potter might like pumpkin juice and chocolate frogs while Geronomo Silton could crave some cheese! Incorporating characters of favorite stories into your eating routine is a delicious way to promote deep thinking about character traits and motivation for reading.

3. Story Charades. Choose a story your family knows well - like a well-read fairytale in a book - and act out the beginning, middle, and end of the story. If you have more family than characters, a few could do the acting and the others can be the audience or be the narrator. This activity helps readers re-examine and understand storylines and details.

4. Who Am I? Choose one of your child's favorite book characters, then describe his or her personality traits, problems, and physical descriptions until she guesses the character's identity. This game is a fun way to pass time when you're stuck in traffic or at a bus stop.

5. Book Nooks. Create "book nooks" with your child. Book nooks are comfy places to sit in and read. There should be good lighting and containers filled with sticky notes, colorful pens, pencils, and a small dictionary. Book nooks will motivate your children not only to read, but to select favorite parts with sticky notes, or look up words they don't know.

6. Marking the Spot. Making book marks together is a great, simple family reading activity. Just cut bookmark-sized cardboard from cereal or shoe boxes, then get crafty! Use brightly-colored markers to write titles, authors, and favorite quotes. Younger readers can draw or cut-and-paste pictures from old magazines.

7. Reach Out and Read. Boost family reading by involving loved ones who live far away. Using Skype or another video conferencing program, have your child share a book with relatives. Make sure the book is one that your reader has read a few times already; repetition is a fantastic way to enhance reading skills. Younger readers love to show off their fluency, and oral reading builds confidence. Grandma will be pretty thrilled as well.

8. Kid Karaoke. Download songs and their lyrics for a family karaoke night. Seeing words and singing them at the same time is a fun way to develop vocabulary… and practice your Elvis impersonations!

9. Family Reading Web pages. Using simple and free online programs, create a family reading Web page. Include sections for each family member's book reviews, favorite book lists, "authors I'd like to lunch with" lists, pictures of famous authors, links to local libraries, kid-safe fan pages, and reading games.

Those ideas are just samples of the many ways parents can help kids start on a reading habit. For sure, with some creativity the parents themselves can come up with more. The kids can even be encouraged to come up with their suggestions. (FREEMAN)

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with