Here is a short story that tells you about how a parent inculcated the habit of reading the newspaper to his daughter.
While the father knew that his daughter was smart and sharp, he also knew that she was lazy to inculcate discipline and develop a productive habit. The lethargic attitude of his daughter posed a challenge to inculcate the habit of reading newspaper. Here is what he did. He told her that if she picked a new word from a news byte that she read from the newspaper, he would owe her ONE RUPEE. The pact that they got into was that she can earn a rupee a day by sharing a new word that she picked from the newspaper and creating a sentence of her own! This gave the child an incentive to read the newspaper, learn a new word and apply it in a sentence.
My Learning Yantra has already featured an exclusive article on how parents can introduce and improve reading skills with the help of reading games and free tools, to their children. This segment is exclusive to how you can introduce the habit of reading the newspaper and at the same time enhance your child’s reading skills.
How does reading the newspaper help you and your child?
We have already mentioned is our 30-second parenting hacks that reading a newspaper would be a great way to strengthen your bond with your child. You could begin with simple engagement like reading out the headlines, describing images or suddenly talking about a new word!
Reading the newspaper to your child not only enhances reading skills but also adds encyclopedic knowledge, builds critical thinking, reasoning skills, language skills and debating ability. Being a curious parent, you may want to dig deeper and ask yourself, “how can all this be made possible?”. We have it answered for you, right below, with the help of few real-time activities.
Pick a news article and start elaborating the nuances of it in detail. Pick a random snippet from a newspaper. In the image below, we explain how many encyclopedic bits can be transferred to your kid. This list can be increased based on the curiosity of your child. Since, you may have the fear that the newspaper may have a lot of information that is not appropriate to their age, pick such snippets that are relevant to their age group.
Using the same screenshot help them think and delve deeper into “why something is happening the way it is?”. For instance, here you could dig deeper into ‘why the repo rates have remained unchanged’. This is an opportunity to start thinking critically if that decision is well justified in the article.
Reasoning skills are the ability to identify patterns that are not obvious at the surface of an argument. If you pick the headline about ‘Beef Row’, there is an apparent irony in the statement. This needs to be introduced to the child from a perspective to understand why the government has taken such a decision about beef row and despite which the export markets are behaving in a contradicting manner. Don’t hesitate to introduce of higher complexity in understanding. As you proceed, the child will start picking up topics of a higher degree of advancement.
This is a very obvious skill the child learns in the process of reading. Language skills are a combination of reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Discussions about a given headline and diving into logical reasoning, evaluating the conclusion and understanding the meaning of different terminologies and words introduced in the article would help in developing your child’s language. For instance, in the image below, we have underlined a few words that your child can explore further.
If you encourage your children into adding new perspectives and taking a stand over their opinion, it would help them in developing good debating abilities.
How to encourage your child to read news – step by step guide
Reading the headlines
Start by reading the headlines. Anything that is of common interest or a headline that particularly catches your child’s attention should be discussed in detail.
Finding new vocabulary
Vocabulary is the new currency! Once you choose a headline and start reading the article in detail, start encouraging your kid to use the dictionary and knowing the meaning of each word. We recommend using the Dictionary.com app. Installing it comes in very handy and our team uses it extensively to grab meanings of words unknown where their children enquire.
Designing a newspaper
Encourage your child to find an area of interest and create a newspaper around it. Designing a newspaper would help them think like an editor. If building a paper newspaper is expensive, let them create a blog. Help them in sharing their blog/ newspaper all across the school or neighborhood community. In the process of creating a blog or a newspaper, your child will pick up skills like
- Communication design
- Editorial skills
- News & content prioritization
- Image optimization
With all this in place, they will be encouraged to write and read more to keep the newspaper/ blog running. Hence, reading skills would become a self-taught effort rather than hand-hold them all the time. This makes them self-sufficient and they gather a deal of interest in reading.
Apply this with your child and let us know your experience.