Helping your students develop a love for reading is one of the most important gifts you can give them and well worth the time you spend doing it. In this article, written by Amina Shakoor and TRC staff, we discuss how to get children, not just reading, but doing so with enthusiasm. We are living in an era where each new day adds more innovative gadgets with multiple Apps to our already gadget-ridden lives. While electronic devices in themselves are not bad, our dependence on them for everything, from feeding addictions to games, and for sending impossibly abbreviated, curt and phonics-based text messages, has lead to shortened attention spans and a situation where many find it difficult to stay present or focused. Not surprisingly our children end up mirroring our lives and the values we live by. In many homes, high tech phones, iPads and an electronic media that sends out dangerously confusing and unsuitable messages all day, are babysitting children. Problems such as these have led me, a storyteller, to reach out and start motivating young children to start reading “old fashioned” books. Storytelling: A precursor to reading The art of storytelling probably started at around the same time as when people started speaking to each other. It is easily the finest precursor to reading and should be started in the early years. Anyone, a parent, an older sibling or a teacher, can be a storyteller and by regularly reading to a child that person can spark off a lifelong love for reading. Even as early as 3 to 5 months old, a child can be introduced to picture books with colourful images. The adult caregiver can show the child the pictures and talk about them in an animated way to gain their attention. As they grow older and enter school, the class or school library can offer hardcover storybooks with colourful pictures that are easy for children to handle. Easing into reading Between the ages of 3 and 5 years, the brightly coloured pictures in many children’s books provide just the right impetus forchildren to begin to read. At this stage if a teacher wants to read a book to her class she should even try and translate it into the language that is most easily understood by her students. Start by choosing a picture book that appeals to you and read through it beforehand. You should sit with the children in a place in the classroom from where your young audience can see the words and pictures in the book. Spend some time discussing the images on the cover and any blurbs before starting to read. With such a young audience, it is important that you ‘get into the role’ and do an animated and involved reading with lots of expressions. Children should be encouraged to join you as you say repeated phrases or rhymes, such as ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down’ or ‘One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish…’ Show them the pictures on each page and read slowly so that the children can follow you, but avoid interruptions unless anyone wants to ask something or comment. Let the children dwell on the illustrations after you are done reading. As they grow older, teachers should offer or inform children about reading material that reflects their interest and is also age appropriate. Even between the ages of 8-11, teachers can continue to read aloud to children; however they should also encourage children to read independently. Involve parents at this stage and ask them to support their child whenever he or she makes an effort to read, even if the childmakes mistakes. Also tell them to encourage their child to read whatever they want at this stage, be it magazines, comics, books that they think the child has outgrown and things on the internet, as long as it is appropriate. This is also the time when you, the teacher (and also parents), should discuss the books that you may have read and enjoyed. Also ask children to recommend books to you. However, because of the plethora of unsuitable reading material that is readily available, teachers and parents should be vigilant and aware of all that their children are reading. When children enter adolescence they automatically have a lot to distract them, yet they can also be engaged with reading. One way to do this is to encourage them to create something from the books they love. For instance, ask them to write a short excerpt or even a short novel using the characters from a novel that they like. 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