Get Kids Into Reading Without Taking Away Their Screen Time
by Inside Manila Team, September 10, 2019 3:25pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
In school, curricula are updated to include tech-friendly ways to learn, slowly sidelining books. Technology as a reading tool becomes a part of a child's growth and development.
Many pieces of research show that gadgets cause harm during a child's early-stage development but Prof. Gabriela Lee of the English and Comparative Literature Department at UP Diliman College of Arts and Letters, does not think that handheld devices are necessarily a bane to reading practices. She suggests tips and tricks to help parents make their kids pick up books while also allowing them to use electronics on the side.
Limit Screen Time
Screen time is okay as long as it is in healthy amounts. Children’s literature author Joji Reynes Santos, who also holds a Reading Education master’s degree from UP Diliman, says that although there are many phone apps that aid in a child’s education, many pieces of research show that gadgets cause harm during a child’s early-stage development. Negotiate rules and use books as an alternative to gadgets.
Lee also suggests a reward system where children get something for finishing a book and summarizing it for the family. “Rewards deliver a more positive impact when it comes to encouraging reading,’’ according to the book “Parental Involvement in Children’s Reading by Keith Topping and Sheila Wolfendale.
Have Books Accessible Within A Child's Reach
An April 2019 study by Early Education researches at Edge Hill University found that lack of access to pictures, books, and other materials in children's daily routines has a significant impact on their reading development.
“The challenge is really to cultivate an attention span that will allow a child to associate reading with pleasure,” Lee says. “Just letting children hold a book, or giving them the choice to pick out which books to read will be helpful.
The mere presence of accessible books in a child's space already encourages them to get used to holding a book.
Be With Them While They Read
Interactive reading fosters vivid imagination in kids, this helps them develop creativity and critical thinking skills. Allowing children to associate reading with family time or downtime helps children get closer to you and to books, too.
“If the child is exposed to the habit of reading earlier by the people around them, then perhaps they will pick it up even before attending school,” says Lee.
Bring them to Bookstores or Book fairs
Make trips to the bookstore feel like going to a toy store or a playground. Start their bookworm journey at the 40th Manila International Book Fair. Set at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia from September 11 to 15, publishers, booksellers, and enthusiasts help enrich children’s lives by exposing them to different kinds of books early.
Publishing companies like Adarna House Inc., Abiva Publishing House, Inc., Anvil Publishing, Inc, Ilaw ng Tahanan, Inc., and Lampara Publishing House, Inc. will showcase child-friendly books that will surely enhance the reading experience and help your kids make reading part of their daily routine.
There will also be learning sessions and seminars such as “Sparking Curiosity in PreSchoolers and Why It Matters Today” by Donna Simpao, MD, and Liana Lim Cruz, ME Ed; “Why Reading is Hard for Some”, by Victor A. Villanueva of the Reading Association of the Philippines, and “Best Literary Practices in the Classroom”, to be conducted by Frederick Perez, president of the Reading Association of the Philippines.
For more information about the Manila International Book Fair visit their website or follow their official facebook page