“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ― Charles William Eliot
Manini loves to read. Often, when I look into her room, I find her curled up on her bed engrossed in a book or one of the kids’ magazines, she gets regularly.
It fills my heart with joy and mama pride.
Reading is SUCH a good habit for so many reasons that it was my greatest hope that she develop a look for books, just like Mayank and I.
How Reading Helps Kids
Reading helps kids nurture their imagination and creative thinking skills.
It strengthens vocabulary and powers of expression.
It instills a love for language.
It is a tech-free, screen-free hobby that takes very little to indulge.
Reading bonds families as you read books together and talk about them.
A book can teach you values, skills and also, impart knowledge about people, places and cultures.
Yes, books can be the best education a child can get.
How to Encourage a Love for Reading in a First Grader
1. Start early.
While she’s started literally, devouring her books this year, we actually started reading to her when she was a few months old. I’ve been reading to her for as long as I remember. And while at that time, it didn’t really seem to make much for a difference other than keep her engaged, I guess it was one of the stepping stones that helped build her love for reading.
I’ve shared how we read together when she was young here.
So, regardless of how old your little one may be, start.
2. Join a Library
Earlier, we were part of a library, that would deliver the books to us at home. It worked well because we’d order online and they’d drop the books at home.
However, this year, we joined the local British Council Library and took Manini there to choose her books, browse, read and spend time.
Seeing the library filled with people of all ages, sitting and reading quietly is a lovely sight for a young mind. She LOVED it. She enjoyed picking out her own books, finding a little nook and reading on her own. This is now one of our regular weekend activities.
3. Read Together
Although she is a fairly independent reader, we still love to read together. It is our special time and I love reading some of the more advanced classics to her. She gets the stories but the words are still a challenge for her, so we read together.
We then, discuss the books, ask questions and even, build on stories. She loves storytelling and reading is encouraging her to create her own special stories with new and old characters.
By reading together, I also mean, read your own books together. Very often, in the evening, she reads her book while I read mine. Children do learn best from example and reading is no different.
4. Don’t Just Go for Books
While books are BIG at our home, magazines aren’t far behind. Every month, Manini buys 4 issues of a weekly children’s magazine and 2 issues each of a fortnightly one. Yes, that may seem like a lot of magazines but you’d be surprised to hear that as soon as she gets them home, you’ll find her like this
She reads them all REAL quick. The magazines have short stories and fun activities and are a nice break from regular books. So, don’t just stick to books. Magazines for kids are excellent too!
Highlights Genies, Kids Explore and Magic Pot are her favorites.
5. Make Time to Read
Finally, and most importantly, the life of a first grader can be a surprisingly busy one. She has school, after-school activities, homework, home study and of course, play. But in the midst of all of this, we always, always make time for reading every day. Whether it is 15 minutes at bedtime or forgoing home study for reading, making time for reading keeps that love alive.
Are you instilling a love for reading in your kids? I’d love to hear what’s working for you?