Three Powerful Tips for Raising a Reader

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The importance of reading for young children is undeniable. A simple internet search will give you countless psychological, academic, social, and developmental reasons children should begin learning to read as early as possible. Unfortunately, encouraging a child to not only read but also want to read can sometimes feel challenging. To help parents imbue this love of reading in their children, we asked the advice of Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s Primary School Curriculum Coordinator Jennifer Mills, an experienced educator who has taught the joys of literature to hundreds of children during her career as an educator. Below are Ms. Mills’ three simple yet powerful tips to help your child discover the love of a good book.

Finding the Right Fit
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Every child whether in kindergarten, Primary, or Secondary school is their own unique individual, meaning that not every book appeals to every child. While one child may have an interest in dinosaurs and nature, another may prefer simpler themes of social interaction. Ms Mills explains that parents should “be guided by our children’s choices.

You may also make suggestions to your child, especially if you want to extend the range of genre and vocabulary your child is being exposed to through reading.” However, the emphasis is on finding your child’s interests. It is OK if they want to read 40 books about ponies; the important point is that they want to read. As a child grows, their tastes will mature and change, so if they have found their niche for the time being, encourage it.

Becoming Actively Engaged in Reading

Once you and your child have found the right book for them, the next step is exploring how to read to or with your child. The key is engaging your child through your reading style to capture their imagination and enthusiasm. “Using different voices for each character is a great way to maintain interest in the story. It’s also a good idea to stop every so often and ask your child some simple questions about the book. This will help your child understand the narrative, explain the motives for the characters behaving in the way they do and keep the interest in the story high.” Together you will both find a rhythm and learn more not just about the story, but also about each other.

qd_f_dsc_2866Nurturing a Bond
The most powerful way to help your child love reading is by simply being with them on their journey. As Mills stresses, “Whatever you do with your child is beneficial because it affirms your interest in them and lets them feel valued.” The true benefit of reading is not just improving vocabulary but also about inspiring an inquisitive mind, a thirst for knowledge, and experiences that can only be quenched through reading. By joining your child during the first steps to becoming an independent reader, you not only increase their self-confidence but also create a bond between the two of you that will last a lifetime.

 

Contribution from YCIS

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I am living in China since 2009 and in Beijing since 2011. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!