The first book is something really important - a bit like the first step, the first word and the first tooth. Very often this is the book which will define the interest of the child towards books as a whole. That is why it is necessary to choose wisely.
1. Prepare the child for reading a book by telling him the stories from it.
Actually, this is a very easy and effective method with which you can test the interest of a child towards a specific book. Children like the normal and repetitive activities - how many times have they made you read the same story again and again or to play the same song over and over? If the child likes the story which you are telling him and then sees it recreated in pictures and text, for sure you have ignited the first desire for the child to read the book. But the final result of the endeavor depends on the following factors:
2. Choose a book with big letters and a readable font. It is not necessary to create technical difficulties for the child. The child must be able to see and discern the letters. Your goal is not to create obstacles but to facilitate his journey in the land of books. There are many beautiful books which are totally unreadable because they are written in illegible and twisted fonts and instead of attracting the young readers, they frustrate and discourage them.
3. Make sure the first texts that the child reads consist of clear and short sentences, if possible without too complicated or quaint words. Thus, the child will read it quickly and easily and will feel victorious– he just read his first book!
4. The pictures are very important, especially for the contemporary children, who since young age are fervent fans of TV, video canals in internet and so on. But don’t forget that what you see as beautiful, is not always seen in the same way by your children. Yes, it is a fact that the parents are responsible for their children education, especially for the aesthetical one, but it cannot be forced. The sense for aesthetics, beauty and style are different for everyone. Pay attention to the interests and the preferences of your child.
5. Choose a topic, which fascinates your child a lot. Yes, of course you would like to read with the child about love, friendship, loneliness fears and a lot of other spiritual stuff. But sometimes the things, which interest children, are quite simple – new toys, cute baby animals, an argument with the pals, stuff that happened in the kindergarten. The focus in the beginning should be the child reading the book and liking it. Now it is the time to acquire the habit of reading – later the time and habit for realizing will come.
6. Find an entertaining story. This is only a suggestion, but believe me, humor always wins. Children love laughing, joy, the positive feelings. The entertaining stuff will hold the child’s attention and will give him pleasure. And this is exactly what we would like to teach the child - that reading is pleasure. With time, the child will understand that the book may make you laugh, cry, inspire, fill you with anger and that is part of its power. But let’s start with laughter.
7. Choose a book which you yourself like or try to like the book the child has chosen. Because it is good to discuss it after reading it – what happened, what the child did and didn’t like. Try to ask questions and to listen. Keep to the rule 80 % listening, 20 % talking.
Reading a book is more difficult than watching movies because it requires more effort. The challenge in front of parents and teachers is to show that difficulties can be awarded. Books allows us to live one thousand lives, to visit other worlds, to learn and to develop as people and personalities.
And all of that starts with small steps – of the little kids to their little books. Let’s help them.
Author Petya Marinova – teacher