When we choose an English medium school in India – we have to give priority to developing English fluency in the early years. English is not the language spoken in our country and for the children to be able to learn in English as they grow up, having a strong foundation of English is of utmost importance. It is therefore very necessary to invest time and energy in developing a good command over the language.
Here are some good parenting tips to help your preschooler develop the reading habit:
- Read aloud to the children: That helps them gain more vocabulary and be excited about books and stories. It can also set a good, comforting, calming bedtime routine.
- Be a role model: Toddlers will try to copy what you do. So if they see you reading a book, they will copy it with their book, even if they can’t really read.
- Show that reading is enjoyable: You can use different voices and facial expressions while reading along with actions. Make it a fun activity!
- Let the child choose the book frequently – say alternately: Kids love repetition – so even if it’s the same book for many turns, that’s okay.
- Show that books are important: Have a dedicated place for them in the house. Take care of them, put them back properly after using them.
- Let the child have easy access to his/her books: Keep them in a low shelf or a basket where they can get them whenever they want. You can even keep some in your carry along bag so you don’t have to keep giving the child the phone to be entertained when you have to wait in lines or in traffic!
As children get comfortable with the reading activity, they will start exploring books on their own. They will listen to longer stories and be able to tell stories on their own. They will start stringing letters to sounds to words and to complete sentences and paragraphs and will become fluent in the language. This greatly helps with their academic load when they grow older and they do not need to depend on extra tuition etc. Reading to preschoolers is the starting point of this journey and a wonderful bonding activity. So, just do it!