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How to cultivate a reading culture in your child


Date Posted: 3/16/2018 8:34:09 AM

Posted By: Ara Akinyi  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 187

They say if you want to hide something from an African hide it in a book, why? Because they don't like reading, this may be relatively true but we can change it. Reading just like any other good virtue has to be nurtured, we need to cultivate it as early as possible in our young ones if we want a future generation that values books and the vast knowledge they contain. There is a Swahili proverb that says that 'samaki mkunje angali mbichi' roughly translated, if you want to cut a fish into a specific shape you should do it when it's still fresh. On that note, if you want to develop a specific culture or behavior in your child or in the society at large then you should start when they are still young. I'll discuss three ways that will help us achieve this goal.

1. Read to them
When a child is still small, obviously they cannot read for themselves, therefore at this stage they need someone to read for them. Make it a routine, read for them before they go to sleep, be consistent with this. Choose books with lots of pictures, pictures capture the attention of children and they will enjoy the story more when they are seeing pictorial representation of what is being read. Allow them to choose the book you are going to read for them, this will make them feel part of the activity. Do this until they are old enough to read for themselves.

2.Let them read for you
When the child is old enough to read for themselves,let them now read their own bed time stories, you need to be around as they read so that you can correct them when they don't get the pronunciation right or when a word

is difficult for them to read. Reading will help improve their grammar and widen their vocabulary. This step can also be practiced as you drive or take a walk around town, ask them to read the billboards and advertisement and let them tell you what they have understood. (of cause choose those that are child friendly). When you going for shopping you can tag your child, give them the shopping list and let them read what is in the shopping list and point them when they see them on the shelves. Make reading as fun as possible, don't be too hard on them, be lenientbut firm. You can also ask them to read short articles in newspapers and magazines. At this stage you can reward them with their favorite snacks or one hour to watch television if they read well.

3.Buy them books
last but not least, gift them with books when they do something exemplary either in school or at home. Instead of buying them gifts which may not be very beneficial to them, buy them good books instead, this will improve their brain development and will also help them to have an open mind which is very essential in solving life issues as they age and will help them to be more innovative and open to new ideas. It is very important to note that you should only gift them with books that you have read and know their content and you know they will be good for your child, alternatively get them books that have been highly recommended by people you trust. In order for your child to develop a liking for books at least you should also have a liking for them, children learn mostly by observation, so if you want them to read you should be reading yourself. Don't preach water and drink wine, don't tell them to read,and watch television instead, you should lead by example. The wise men once said too much of something is poisonous, balance the reading with other activities such as exercising, cooking, bird watching or any other leisure activity that you both enjoy.

I hope you find this article resourceful and that you put these simple steps into practice so that in the long run we'll have a reading nation, remember readers are leaders.

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