Print Motivation, one of crucial early literacy skills, builds interest in and enjoyment of books and reading in a child.
In today’s world of technology and multimedia, parents wonder whether it is necessary to create love of books in their children or not. The answer is ‘YES’. Even though a child can learn through multimedia, it is not a complete replacement for reading. It is a proven fact that most successful learners and achievers in academics are the children who are proficient readers.
Through reading the nerve connections in the brain of children gets strengthened and also new connections are formed. Reading is a better exercise for brain than watching a video. It also improves concentration and patience in a child.
More important is the fact that reading leaves much to the child’s imagination, unlike a video or multimedia learning. This makes the child more creative and innovative.
Now that we have enough reasons for creating love of books in our children, let us find out how we go about it.
books for babies
When you introduce a book to your baby, do not expect him/her to show interest in it. In fact, for a baby everything is edible and food, including the book. Show patience in slowly introducing your baby to looking at the pictures and turning pages.
Do not buy books that can be bitten off by your baby. Instead, buy something which is hard and safe. Do not use books to distract, pacify or calm down your baby. Let books be a part of play when the baby is well fed, had his/her share of sleep and is feeling playful.
Let the activity be fun and creative. Do not be monotonous and boring to your child by making reading time a chore to be completed. Patience and creativity is the key for developing love of books in your baby.
Now you can start reading to your child, but be careful that you do not get excited about finishing a book you started. That can be quite de-motivating for your child. Rather, move on when your child gets bored with the book. Infants have very short attention span.
Let your child handle the books you are reading. If you love a book and feel that is best for your child, it is not necessary that your child love it as well. If the child rejects your favourite book, accept the rejection and get him/her something they love. Giving choices is the best print motivation you can give to your infant.
Make bedtime reading something your child will look forward to every night. Let both parents take turns to read the bedtime story.
Toddlers look up to caretakers and other adults at home as their role models. Start showing interest in reading books so that your child will be motivated to read as well.
Start reading stories to your child and ask him/her to repeat few sentences after you. For e.g.- when you say, “The farmer went to the market to sell his donkey”. Ask your child after reading the sentence, “where did the farmer go to sell his donkey?” and wait for the toddler to answer your question. Every time your toddler responds, show excitement, enthusiasm and respond with a cheerful voice.
If your toddler identifies words and reads them on own, show your appreciation without holding back. Now is the time to make reading more interesting for your child through acting out characters, using hand puppets, mimicking voices and discussing the stories with your child.
Start visiting library with your child. Let your child look at books and pick up something he/she wishes to read. Make this a pleasant experience your child will cherish. It is your connection with your child and bonding that will make them love and relate to books in a more enjoyable way.