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How to instill a love of reading in youngsters

Reading is a rewarding activity that can benefit people throughout their lives. A great way to pass time on a summer day at the beach, reading also can provide a host health benefits, some of which may surprise even the most avid reader.

According to a review from the Cochrane Library, a scientific review board in the United Kingdom, mentally challenging tasks may be beneficial for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. Mental stimulation improved scores on memory and thinking tests for people with dementia.

But the benefits of reading are perhaps even more profound for children. The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital notes that reading and writing skills can help children perform better in the classroom and even benefit them down the road in their professional lives. When children read, they develop skills such as phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear, identify and play with individual sounds in spoken words. Reading also can help kids develop their vocabulary and reading comprehension skills.

As much as parents promote reading to their youngsters, getting kids to embrace reading can be difficult. That may be especially true today, when children have distractions like tablets, phones and social media competing for their attention. Parents who want to make reading part of their family lifestyle can try these tips, courtesy of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

• Turn off your devices. The AAP says children youngster than 18 months should be discouraged from using screen media other than video chatting. Children between 18 and 24 months of age should only use digital devices together with their parents. For children older than two years of age, screen use should be limited to no more than one hour per day. Turning off these devices and promoting reading limits kids' exposure to digital media while providing a perfect opportunity to read.

• Set an example. Children mimic their parents' behavior. Kids who see their parents reading books, magazines and newspapers may be more likely to embrace reading than youngsters who do not see their parents reading.

• Read as a family. The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital notes that reading together with children is a wonderful way for parents to foster a language-rich environment in their families. Reading can open lines of communication between parents and children, providing a chance for them to discuss books and their themes.

• Visit the library. A trip to the library can help children discover books that align with their interests. Such books may serve as a catalyst for a love of reading in youngsters.

A love of reading can benefit youngsters in numerous ways. Parents can try various strategies to instill a love of reading in their children.

Pulaski Citizen