Guaranteed intelligence booster: reading
You don't have to do a lot of reading yourself to know there is one great way to boost your child's intelligence -- read to them. Time after time, studies show that school performance correlates with children's reading abilities.
Most kids love flicking through books as toddlers, looking at the pictures, but that thrill doesn't always stick. As kids grow older, toys or computers become more interesting and books can fall by the wayside. Yet the kids that perform best at school are those that enjoy reading merely for the fun of it.
Reading can be hard work, and life offers so many other forms of entertainment, but the fundamentals of enjoying a story, reading it with Mum and then enjoying the journey of learning to read on independently is one of life's great discoveries.
How to encourage babies and children to love reading:
1. Read aloud to your child from the earliest age
And not just at bedtime. Buy board books and cloth books as some of your child's first toys. Create a night time ritual of connection in which you both associate love and cuddling with reading. Anytime either of you needs a break, grab a book and read to your child. Post tantrum, during lunch, after school, while you have your coffee on Sunday, any time can be book time.
2. Visit the library
If you do this by by the time your child is two and she may well prefer reading to any other activity. Use the time in the library to read to your child as well as to select books. Keep library books on a separate shelf in the living room or kitchen so you don't lose them and so you can always easily find something new to read.
3. Read even when it seems odd
If children are picky eaters, try reading to them during lunch or dinner to keep them sitting. Kids are much more likely to try the foods with the diversion of a book, than if you simply pressure them to keep eating.
4. Don't push your child to learn to read
He will read naturally once he develops the preliminary skills. Your goal is not to help him sound out words, but to encourage a love of books, both pictures and stories. If you push him, he'll feel put on the spot, and if he tries before he's ready, he'll feel dumb. That feeling will last his whole life, and it won't endear reading to him. Some very smart children don't learn to read until they're over seven years old. Don't worry. They quickly catch up, as long as they learn to love reading.
This article was written for Kidspot New Zealand.