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As a parent, it is a joy when your children love to read and enjoy school work without you breathing down their necks. But reading habits don’t occur by themselves; it is up to you to encourage and inculcate a reading culture. Whether reading their favourite picture book or accompanying them to the library, you have to be involved in the process.

Here are some tips that will help you promote your child’s reading habits.

Design a Reading Space

Whether you have a full-blown library or study, or you just have a bookshelf corner at home, it is important to have a space designated for reading. A quiet place that is free from distractions promotes concentration. Switch the TV off so the child has nothing competing with their reading time.

Read in the Presence of Your Child

Young children do not always do what they are told, but they do what they see others doing. When you read in front of your child, there is a high probability of intriguing a reading desire in them. Children perform better from observation, so let them observe and learn from your actions.

Let Your Child Explore

Your child will enjoy reading more if they get to choose what to read. If you are the only one always picking books for them, they might retract and not enjoy the activity. Allowing them to choose a book according to their liking and taste fosters independent reading.

Accompany them to the Library

As much as you can, accompany your child to the library. It would mean a lot to them to see that you are interested in what they do. There are libraries with reading programmes and when your child sees other children enjoy reading, they will likely do so too.

Make a Habit of Reading Daily

Consistency is key to nurturing any habit and reading is no exception. When your child focuses on reading a chapter or a book every day, they will easily create time for the activity. Join them and keep each other company as you each enjoy your favourite books.

Add to the Reading List

Books should not be the only thing that your child can read. If you are out and about, encourage your child to read signposts or billboards. By doing so, reading becomes fun and they get to learn new things as they grow. Grocery lists and even supermarket receipts make good lists for a child to challenge their brains and learn new words.

Now that you know what to do, get at it! Remember to make reading a fun activity and join in the fun too!

Jane Masila

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