2016 May 24
Parenting with Joanne
“You are never too old, too wacky, too wild to pick up a book and read to a child” – a saying by Dr. Seuss has challenged me in my line of teaching. I have often found that a book can be a source of immediate comfort to a child who is having a bad day and have wondered about the power that is held in these pages bound by hard cover.
Regardless of what or where any other source of knowledge comes from, there are certain very definite benefits that are extended to a child when a parent makes reading a part of his regular routine. Let’s look at some of the reasons why reading with your child is so important.
- Helps build your relationship
When most of our days are filled with activities that come one after the other; with family time spent only while commuting from one place or another, it is difficult to imagine a time when you can actually sit with your child and a book. For those of with schedules such as these, I would say, make reading with your child a part of his bedtime routine. It’s a wonderful way to wind down and helps you spend a few relaxed moments with him.
Reading aloud to your child and having him engaged during this time helps your child interact with you and helps the communication between parent and child.
- Improves speech skills
Most toddlers, are able to speak to express needs but reading aloud to them, can help improve these speech skills. When they listen to you read aloud, the pronunciation of words is reinforced, not to mention the need to comment on the pictures that he sees when pages are being flipped. Ensure that you make reading time one that encourages interaction by asking your child to point to objects or characters and asking questions like ‘what happened?’
- Adds to his knowledge base
If you sense that your child is interested in animals or cars, books are a good way of using his interest for the expansion of his own learning. Purchase a book on animals and read to him on a regular basis. By doing so, you can teach him distinctions of animals in the animal kingdom, their eating habits and survival mechanisms; the boundaries of topics being almost endless.
- Teaches basic literacy skills
Although we don’t pay much attention to reading skills, we need to know in fact that children aren’t born with the basic knowledge about reading. These basics include, reading from left to write in rows and top to bottom on columns. While reading with your child, trace the lines with your finger or encourage your toddler to do so. This way you are actually building essential pre reading skills which we very often overlook.
- Enriches language
Whatever, the main language spoken at home, reading books in that language will assist in enriching that language for your child. When you make reading an interactive activity by asking specific questions like ‘what do you think will happen next?’ ‘What happened before?”, you are encouraging your child to use fundamental concepts needed for the understanding of time and sequencing by adding to his vocabulary, words, in a meaningful way.
- Helps with attention span
Attention span for children can actually be developed, though many parents don’t realize this truth. When a child is engaged even for 10 minutes with a book, you are in fact, developing this skill. Having said this, I need to make a distinction between attention that is used for the purpose of television viewing and video games and attention that is used when reading. Watching television doesn’t normally involve much interaction, hence your child may gaze on without actively being involved. Reading, on the other hand requires your child, to stay focused. Characters in a story need to be remembered and you can go back and forth reinforcing parts of a story that need more attention. Encourage your child, to turn pages as you read. And make reading fun!!!!!
Joanne Sathyadass has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature from the University of Bangalore now serving as a Special Needs Educator
For any queries please email Joanne on firstname.lastname@example.org