Dr. Mortimer Adler identified reading as a basic tool needed to lead a good life. Summer holidays provide parents with an opportunity to help their child acquire and practice the skill of reading proficiently. Reading is a crucial skill required not only for lifelong learning but one’s survival depends on it. Reading helps us in all walks of life, be it following directions for taking medication, trying a new recipe, following road signs, maps etc.
Books though a great way to teach reading are not the only means of doing so. Our environment is full of rich reading resources, which can be explored and used to promote reading. Everyday activities can be used to create learning opportunities. Some ideas for reading with your child are to read road signs, posters and billboard and street signs while going for a drive or a walk. While shopping you can read labels, price tags, aisle information boards and receipts. In the kitchen you can read recipes off the boxes. At a visit to the doctor or the dentist you can read the information brochures with your child. These are some examples of real life information that one has to learn to use throughout their life. Parents and caregivers play a central role in their child’s learning. The best way to instill a desired behavior in your child is to lead by example. If you make it a habit to read to your child in their early years and with your child as they grow older, you will raise good readers. An idea to make reading a quality time fun activity is to let your child select a book and to read with them, if you have more than one child make it one book, one night, one child routine. This gives you quality time with each child as well as information about what they like as well as provide an opportunity to guide their reading. You can use this time to help them develop their thinking skills by providing them with strategies such as following the 3 Ps:
- Pause (let the child work out the word)
- Prompt (clues from the context)
- Praise (encourage trying)
Children need to feel comfortable and confident at every reading phase. Praise and encouragement as well as enjoying the reading activity is crucial. Make this summer the time to inculcate the love of reading in your child and help them open their minds to explore the world. As Dr. Seuss said: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”