To start with, why must our children read?
I have been asked to talk about “improving the reading culture of young children”.

This for me is a very sensitive yet timely topic.

And what is reading itself?

I am going to speak on each point I raised. I will start with what is reading?

Reading is a complex “cognitive process” of decoding symbols in order to construct or derive meaning (reading comprehension). Reading is a means of language acquisition, communication, and of sharing informationand ideas.

For a child to have a good reading habit, he or she must first know how to learn how to pronounce letters and then words.

This I believe can be achieved both at home and from school

Though we tend to resort to the latter. And of course that is not bad, after all that’s essence of the existence of the teaching profession. However as parents, its important we get involved in this process too. I will tell you why later on

Sometimes, some kids start to read a bit later than their peers, this may be as a result of an illness, or body metabolism that slows down understanding, however inadvertently they start to read.

The style and method of teaching also aid or affect the reading ability of a child. If the style is right, the child we start reading faster but if the style is wrong like it was when I was in the primary school in the 80s 😂😂😂😂😂, the child will not start reading as fast as he or she should and compared to his or her peers under other styles and methods.

It is also important to note that what works for child A may not work for child B. However, kindly note that I am not a teacher nor an educationist, son my knowledge on this topic may be limited.

Now, let’s about reading culture. There are a lot to read and to read about these days. You can get information from your TV set, Facebook, twitter and of course Instagram and other social media platforms.

But for the benefit of this discuss, we will focus on books.

How can we improve the reading culture of a child? I will start by telling you a story. When my wife conceived our first son, I named him Jedidiah on the night she told me she was pregnant. And from that day we started communicating with him from the womb right when he was still but a blood clot. I understand this principle because God told me that children hears right from the womb especially from the third month. So I started talking to him. When he was born, we started reading books and telling him stories and of course we exposed him to “Banney”.

Right now my 9 year old son had finished a 700pages book in a week. Why, because he’s being exposed to books and reading right from the first day of his life.

To improve a healthy reading culture in our children we must be involved and be deliberate about it. This is not a job to be left to teachers alone. As a matter of fact children tend to do something more and better when they see their parent do same. That is leading by example

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To improve a healthy reading culture in our children we must be involved and be deliberate about it. This is not a job to be left to teachers alone. As a matter of fact children tend to do something more and better when they see their parent do same. That is leading by example

We must make a deliberate effort to read to our children always. We must set a particular time in a day or week (for the busy parents). We must have what I call, family reading time. The best days is for you to decide. Since you know your schedule, but this is very important. You must be deliberate about this and there’s no excuse for not finding out time to do it. Pls not that both parents must be involved in this process.

We must surround them with different kinds of books. Meaning we must buy books for them not occasionally but always. I know man whose only birthday gift for his children are books. Of course at first, the children hate the idea, they thought their dad was wicked and stingy but over time they got use to it and they loved it. As a matter of fact, they draw up list of books their dad should get for them any time he is going to the US

To incite the love for books in children, we must start with interesting story books especially the animated ones. You can also get books that has a cartoon adaptation, seeing the movie first will want them to read the book more

Another way to improve and encourage a healthy reading culture in children is by carrot and stick system. By this I mean reward them when they read what you ask them to and also discipline them why they fail to. That means that we must set a reading target for them. And our help can not help with this. That’s if the house help can read anyway.

I will like to resound this, we must not leave the work of ensuring our children read to their teachers alone, we must involved from the go.

And remember, reading is not only about reading their school notes or books, encourage them to read wide. All sorts of books that are healthy for their age.

Reading helps kids to improve on their vocabularies and grammar, you can tell them to write out the new word they find in books, look for their meanings and form sentences with them.

I believe we all know that, in this age and time, they must also be exposed to e-books. So let them read books/stories on your phones, tablets or computer sets.

Never forget to monitor their progress and help them with any big words they can’t pronounce.

I will like to hear from you now

Another thing didn’t mention is that reading to your children and having family reading time improves bounding in families because you talk more to one another.

Another wrong thing we do is that, we forget playing is part of learning. We labour these kids too much. Why would a child goes to school by 7am, comes back by 4pm, start lesson by then and end lesson by 7pm, is such child writing thesis for Cambridge university? Playing is a prerequisites for growth in children pls don’t deny them of play, don’t let their childhood stage pass them by. It will have a future effect. Remember Michael Jackson who preferred playing with children because he had no childhood.

OK guys, its been a beautiful time. I really enjoyed myself. I like it when am stretched. But unfortunately I have to go now. My food is getting cold. However I will like to inform you that we are attempting another Guinness World Record. This time its in the “most people in a reading relay” 13670 people will be reading a book and from one single book. If you’re interested, you can DM me. But pls kindly follow me on twitter on @iread_bayode and on Instagram on @iread,bayode and @ireadafrica

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