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The Books

The Hidden Keys

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How to instil a passion for reading in your child.

By Stephan J Myers FCIPD, MSc., Oct 3 2017 02:31PM

If you love to read, you will likely want your children to share the same joy as you do. You will also be aware of the value of both reading to your child, and them reading themselves, in terms of their cognitive development in other areas. However, if your child doesn't seem to be drawn to books, or be a natural reader, how do you get them excited about books?

The first important point to consider is whether the books you are choosing are right for your child. This is important both at home and in school. Children develop differently and their attainment level may not be that same as books pitched at their age range. It's up to you, maybe with input from a teacher, to know your child well enough to judge their reading ability. Correctly choosing the right difficulty of book for your child will allow them to engage with the story, whilst at the same time not being bored.

Also important is to allow your child to find their chosen genre. Your child has their own personality, and likes and dislikes of their own, and your favourite childhood stories may not be theirs! Experiment with different books such as non-fiction, poetry, and different styles of illustration. Your child can then make their own choices about which books fire their imagination. Visiting the library for instance, is a good way to expose your child to many different types of books.

If you are an avid reader, you will likely have your current read readily available in your home, maybe face down on your bedside, or coffee table. Do the same for your child. Make sure books are visible and within reach, maybe choosing a particular place in your home. This way it is easy for them to have independent access to reading. This is valuable even before your child can read, as it makes books familiar to them.

However, never underestimate how enjoyable it is for your child to be read to. Reading aloud to your child, especially with enthusiastic delivery, is a great way to inspire passion, as your child on this occasion is not distracted by reading the words, but can immerse themselves in the story. You may want to develop their interest by allowing them to tell parts of the story. Building on this, why not suggest they write their own story, which will further immerse them in the joy of words. In fact, why not write them a story yourself?-You will be well rewarded by their response!

Above all, try not to make reading a chore. Of course, they will need to read for school homework, but if you have encouraged reading for pleasure and a love of books from a pre-school age, they will likely view this in a more positive light.

Make your home a place where books abound and are part of the furniture, both yours, and theirs. Let them see you read, read to them, listen to them read, and above all immerse yourselves together in the love of literature.

Till next time and hoping you find the very best of words.

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The funny thing about writing and illustrating children's books is that people rarely take you seriously but I've come to find that I do my best thinking with a pen in my hand. Writing or doodling I'm often drawn to a train of thought which I just have to get down on paper. Most of the posts here are inspired by discussions with parents, teachers and young readers and I hope you find them interesting. More importantly, I always value the comments you care to leave.

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