Reading numbers in Poland shrink every year. Children are more eager to find entertainment in cellphones and tablets instead of books. This is a very disturbing phenomenon because, despite booming technology, reading improves the development of the youngest and stimulates them to further discover the world. How to encourage a child to reach for books and how to train his focus while learning to read?
Strength lies in the group
If you want your child to become interested in a story written on paper, you have to be together with him in this adventure. Changing the tone of your voice and introducing role-playing can help to make it more attractive. Thanks to active reading, your child will see the whole process as great fun full of laughter and time well spent together. In the next stage, you can invite other children and organise reading meetings with role-playing, when one group would read and the other imitate the characters.
When choosing books for your children, remember that they need to become familiar with these items. They may want to touch, fold, open it during their meal or show you something right after playing in the garden. We know that fancy editions can cost a fortune, so before you pass on the respect to books, be prepared for… disrespect. After all, you have to remember that the more restrictions in the reading, the less interested your child will be.
Of course, at the beginning you should focus on the general rules of reading, on the pictures and on what the book is made of – the more fun, the better. With time, however, it is worth to start asking questions, e.g. about the features of characters in tales, what the child remembered or what he thinks about the ending of a story. Questions during reading will help your child to remember the information and combine them into a coherent whole.
Nothing by force
Reading is very important but you cannot force your child to do it. Do not set fixed times for learning (unless your child wants it). Do not create an atmosphere of commands, bans and obligations because you will quickly discourage him. If your child has problems with concentration, you can try to sit and read underneath a sensory blanket. The body covered with a special blanket with a heavier filling starts to work completely differently. The nervous system regulates. The level of cortisol (stress hormone) decreases, while the production of serotonin, responsible for the feeling of happiness, increases. It is not only a good method for building attention but also for a more effective sleep.
Be an example
It is hard to demand from children things that are problematic even to us. For this reason, if we want them to read, we need to show them that we also do it in our free time – surrounded by books, newspapers, publications and all kinds of written word. Even if we lack time to do it during the day, let us at least show that we take our favourite book, e.g. to work, to reach for it in our free time. This way, it will be easier to encourage children to put their favourite fairy tale in the school bag, and then there is a chance that they will reach for it during the break.