The availability and the growing market of electronics has somehow taken over the way kids these days spend their day. Reading books has taken a backseat over electronic games, cellphones, dvd players, etc. For me, it's a cause for alarm for I want my little boy to grow with a passion for books and reading. I do not want him to be controlled nor dominated by electronic gadgets that are at his disposal. Instead, I would instill in him the passion for reading.
A child opening a book and looking over its contents is bringing himself to a world of imagination and great possibilities. With the guidance of the parents, kids will go to great lengths when it comes to skills and success.
Hubby and I had introduced an array of board books as well as picture books to Miguel when he was still in the infant stages.
Now that he is a 2-year old naughty (hehehe) but adorable boy, I am continuing what we have started. Starting young is what's best for them to acquire the attachment, passion and understanding.
I have set up a reading routine for both of us. I now read to him in the late afternoon when he's done watching Barney or Blues' Clues or Dora the Explorer or even finished playing with his toys . I make sure that the tv is off or that I have no other immediate activities needing my time-to-time attention. I choose the afternoons because during this time, it's peacefully quiet around the house and the neighborhood. The calm ambiance helps ward off the distractions that will lure him to drop the book and start clamoring for toys or Boots or BJ or Roary.
We also read before bedtime. He would pick up the books he like from his bookshelf and bring them in the bedroom. I am slowly trying to make bedtime-reading a normal part of our day. I still have to establish a going-in-the-bedroom time. We have an irregular schedule when it comes to that but we are working on it. :)
To make reading more personal for him, I let him sit on my lap while he holds the book. I guide him through the pages and read to him with sounds and actions (if needed). He would sometimes mimic and we would both laugh with each other. I also read the book with my fingers in the words so the process of "memory retain or recognition" (or whatever it is called) will do its own work.
As mentioned, I allow him to choose the book he likes for me to read. In that way, I know that he will be interested to listen. But there are times that his attention will wander or his interest will wane. Normally, I would feel sad about it that I might not be doing things correctly. And then I realize, he is just a 2-year old boy who wants to do his own thing and I should not pressure him to read or else, I just defeated the purpose of having him discover and learn the love for reading. When I see that he's not interested anymore or he would wander elsewhere, I still continue reading to him in a voice pitch that he can hear. Sometimes, he ignores me but there are also instances that he comes back and we finish a book or two. He loves to be the one to say "The End." Hehehe.
Make sure that your kids see you reading books, too. I usually read in the evenings, bedtime actually. As a bibliophile myself, I have books anywhere in the house (except for the toilet...hehehe). I noticed that when I started opening a paperback, he would tell me that he needed to go out of the room and with that, I would hear the door banging as he rushed out. In a few seconds, I would hear him hollering for me to open the door because he could not do it himself because "madaming dala" or in English, he's carrying a lot of books. Once settled in the bed, he would also read solo - recognizing letters or numbers, shapes and colors, things or animals. I encourage him all the more by praising him for being so good in reading.
Another realization hit me. I need to provide ample space for Miguel's books in my shelves in the bedroom, too. I believe in the power of subtle influencing. Partnered with a reading routine, a house full of books plus someone he always sees holding a book to read, I am absolutely certain that Miguel's attitude towards reading will be more favorable than I expect it to be.
A child's reading development starts at home and continuously honed at school. It is best that as parents, we should take the upper hand to gear our kids to the path where they will discover the magical world of books and reading.