By Gary Hendricks
Are you worried about your child's reading habits? Perhaps you feel he or she should be starting to read, but they have no interest in books whatsoever? I had the same problem with my son. Gosh, he would rather chew on 'The Big Book of Nursery Rhymes' than read a word from it! Here's a short list of questions which I find very relevant if you're concerned about your kids' reading habits.
Question: There are some scary children stories like "Hansel and Gretel" out there. Will they disturb my child?
Answer: The important thing here is the manner in which the story is told. If you're reading to your child in words, then there should be no problem. If however, you're watching a movie version of the story, then perhaps there is more impact on the child. However, this is not to say you cannot allow your children to watch, say, "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs".
Just make sure you're there to explain if he or she has any questions - then they'll be fine. As a side note, do remember that scary stories are also required for a child's psychological development - so don't shield them from such material totally.
Question: I've problems finding out which books are best for my child. Please help!
Answer: There are some very good childrens' books out there. Some of my favorite classic childrens' tales which I freely read to my kid include Winnie the Pooh stories, Aesop's Fables and nursery rhymes of any sort. If you're interested, check out the list below for more book references:
* Bernice E. Cullinan, Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read. Scholastic, 1992.
* Kate Hall McMullan, How to Choose Good Books for Kids. Addison-Wesley, 1984.
* Jane A. Williams, How to Stock a Home Library Inexpensively. Bluestocking Press, 1995.
Question: How can I motivate my child to read?
Answer: This has got to be THE most common question parents ask. Well, the answer is simple. Have FUN reading to your child and he or she will be motivated to read!
Vary the types of books you get for them. Some children prefer fairy tales, others prefer books about animals, trucks, or cartoons. Expose them to different genres of literature. If you find one area they're really interested you can zoom in on it and focus on those type of books. You can also try visiting your local bookstore and let your child choose a book on his or her own.
Oh, here's another tip - make your reading dramatic. Sure, it's a bit weird initially, but it does wonders for motivating and stimulating your child. Use funny voices and dramatic gestures! Vary your volume level, act like a clown!
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