It’s the number of words that counts! That was my response to my son’s 4th-grade teacher, when we spoke about him reading (and enjoying) comic books as opposed to chapter books. It's not important how the words and images are laid out in a paper book. All that matters is that they're recognizing the letters and words, stringing the story together comprehensively, and enjoying the experience.
But with the omnipresence of smartphones and other electronic gadgets competing for our kids’ attention, it's no wonder kids are reading less and less. So, how do we encourage our children to read more books when they are so easily distracted by flashing screens from electronic devices?
Below, are five tips that help me to help my children enjoy reading 'real paper' books.
1. Read aloud: Read to your child or have them read aloud to you. Without the distraction of phones or TV, this becomes your special time, which also serves to improve your child’s reading skills. The key here is adding expression to character dialogue and scenarios; surprise, wonder, emotion - all of which would be featured in a TV or online game or show.
2. Follow the leader: Children pick-up on the habits of those around them. If they see you reading, and can tell that you're thoroughly enjoying yourself doing so, they will be more likely to pick-up a book, too.
3. Make it easy: Create a mini-library within their reach, so they can pick out books easily.
4. Focus on their interests: Interests change over time. Be flexible with your child and accommodate these changes. Fortunately there are thousands of books to choose from online and at your local library.
5. Don't dis Comics: For those very reluctant readers, try comics. Comic books range from beginner to advanced, and cover a myriad of different topics. For many children, seeing images and text broken-up into segments is a lot less intimidating than trying to concentrate on 'mass-word' paragraphs in chapter books.
These are some tips I suggest you use to help your child enjoy the 'paper book' reading experience. Perhaps you have a tip or two to share as well? Feel free to mention them in the comments. The more we mothers share our wisdom with one another, the better-equipped we will be to help our children flourish!
A simple 'learning to read' book from my collection - one that also serves to help little ones learn about teeth - is My Teeth! With great illustrations and word-pronunciation help, this picture book is perfect for inspiring teeny-tots to brush their teeth and understand how the teeth in their mouth are arranged.