Do you want to raise a reader? Check out Mommy Din’s tips on how to encourage reading habits at an early age.
In this article, you’ll read:
Mommy Din’s story on how they instilled a love for reading in their toddler
7 Tips on how to encourage reading habits in your child
I remembered a conversation I had with my husband, Beejay, 4 years ago, when our daughter, Monica was just less than a year old. “Love, bibili tayo ulit ng books, parang ang dami na?” Beej answered, “Love, ‘wag na ‘wag tayong manghihinayang sa books.”
Since then, books had become a staple in Monica’s routines. She would choose books over her toys. We read books every day, no fail.
Monica learned about letters. numbers, shapes, and colors at 1 year and 3 months, with no pressure nor force. She was just really interested which made it easy for her to absorb and understand.
Image courtesy of Mommy Din
How they raised a reader
So, how did we enable Monica to read?
I’ve always believed that reading doesn’t start and end with just plain “reading.” At 2 years old, Monica can already distinguish traffic and road signs and that’s good enough for us. We just continued with storytelling and nurturing her interests without the pressure of making her read early.
When she entered preschool at 3 years old, her interest in letters became more evident. I noticed she can already read sight words but I didn’t really make a big deal out of it because I know that kids learn fast. As days went by, Monica got better with phonics.
It was the middle of the school year when I confirmed she’s really trying to read on her own. She has gotten better with sight words and she would try to read the words based on how they sound.
That’s when we became more involved – we practiced and read things together until one day, she started reading in sentences all on her own. Every night, and she would read 5 books before she goes to sleep.
What makes it more special? She understands what she reads and she enjoys doing it. It is very important that she’s not only reading but comprehending as well.
How do I know? We will talk about the book as soon as she’s done reading it. And voila, she can answer my questions correctly.
How reading helped sharpen other skills
Fast forward to the present – aside from reading non-stop, she would also write her own stories. I lost count of how many stories she had written the past year.
At 4 years old, she would beg me to give her more Reading Comprehension activities. Aside from continuously developing as a reader, we’ve also noticed an enormous improvement in Monica’s writing and spelling skills. Whatever she reads, she can easily translate into writing.
Note that she didn’t start writing words with correct spelling right away. It was a phase, a process.
She started with inventive spelling – writing words based on how she reads them. And because she’s been reading a lot, her spelling improved over time. All these milestones without us correcting her nor teaching her how to do it. She discovered them all on her own as she went along.
Image courtesy of Mommy Din
Tips on how to encourage reading habits in your child
Parents, you can also help your child develop a love for reading. Below are some tips that you can try.
Just a reminder: these tips are based on OUR experience. I am not a formal educator and I don’t claim to be one. Just sharing our learnings and what worked for us.
1. Don’t pressure your child to read. When she’s ready, it will just be easy.
I can’t stress this enough. A lot of parents have been asking me why and how Monica is able to read already and I always say, “Because she likes it, that’s why it’s easy for her.”
2. Make the books accessible.
Monica’s books are just within her reach. I guess this is why a day doesn’t go by without her reading or holding a book. This helped Monica in becoming more interested with them.
Image courtesy of Mommy Din
3. Master phonetics.
Monica’s school did a really great job on this. I don’t really teach her at home, I just do some follow-throughs. All her lessons came from school and I think they have a big impact on Monica. If you can’t enroll your kid yet, I guess, you can learn the phonics together. Again, only when your child is ready.
4. Practice the most common sight words.
This is easy to do. Just make sure you don’t overdo it as your kid might get tired of it right away. Start with simple and rhyming words. Read it aloud to her or with her.
5. Don’t correct your child right away.
Build your child’s confidence. When Monica doesn’t read some words correctly, I would ask her to repeat and she will figure them out on her own. I only correct when she asks me to.
6. Make reading a fun experience for you and your child.
In our case, we maximized different activities to nurture her reading skills. We tried Word Hunt, Match The Words, Color the Word, Reading and Comprehension activities, and so on.
7. Zero to less gadget use.
This works for us, but of course, I cannot force this on anyone.
Monica has not had any gadget use for over a year now. I noticed that her focus is very good and she can handle her emotions well. I think this helps in her being interested in reading as her energy gets diverted into learning instead of just watching and playing with a gadget.
How to encourage reading habits in your child? More than all these things, what really matters is how our child responds to whatever we teach them. Let’s respect when they are ready – I tell you, when that time comes, everything will be easy.
About the author
Din Real Bautista is a wife and a mother to her daughter, Monica. She’s a full-time homemaker, part-time content creator, blogger, and writer.