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How to awake a love of books
in children

It’s never too early to start fostering a love of books in children. What does it matter that in kindergarten they usually can’t read or write yet. They first come into contact with books as listeners. Already at this stage, they are developing pre-reading skills that are the foundation for later literacy.

But getting people interested in books is sometimes not an easy task. Today’s times offer all kinds of entertainment options for children, but reading books is not exactly conducive. The written word is being crowded out by the TV screen or the smartphone screen. The ritual of reading together is disappearing in families.

Reading is the best investment in children’s futures because it develops the ability to understand text and thus fosters a positive attitude to learning.

chlapec s dívkou čtou knihu

Books in general have great power. They can calm, promote concentration and train attention and memory. They develop imagination, transmit values and moral patterns, and teach empathy. Moreover, they expand children’s vocabulary and hone their expressive skills.

So how can we foster a love of books in children from kindergarten onwards? We’ve put our heads together and come up with some ideas.

  1. Reading

    Reading is the easiest and most effective way to awaken children’s interest in language and literature. You can gain the attention of young listeners by reading expressively, working with pace, voice modulation or facial expressions.

    In the plethora of children’s books, you are sure to find one that fits your curriculum thematically.
    The following books appealed to us:

    • Virtually anything by Petr Horacek
    • Daniel Rušar: The giver and the weak-willed
    • Marek Baroš: Tales from the Dump
    • Ester Stará: And Then It Happened
    • Monika Čechová Golasová: The Secret of the Old Garden
    • Sandra Dieckmann: The Dog Who Swallowed the World
    • Isabella Paglia: The Box
  2. Interactive reading

    A fairy tale before an afternoon nap is fine, but it’s not enough on its own. Incorporate guided reading and supplement it with other activities to immerse children in the story fully and preferably with all their senses.

    Focus on comprehension
    Allow children to continually ask follow-up questions and make guesses about future events. When you have finished reading, discuss the story together, express feelings and thoughts, look for lessons, comment on the pictures. Ask the children to retell the story in their own words or act it out with puppets. Bring out the crayons to complete the story with a picture.

    Make the content real
    In every book you read together, you’re sure to find something you can try out live with your children. Have fun playing wolf and baby goat. Bake a cake that Little Red Riding Hood brought to Grandma for the holiday. Watch the beans sprout, and see if they, like the magical ones, grow to the sky.

    Encourage your own creativity
    Make up alternative endings to familiar fairy tales with your children. Motivate older children in particular to create their own stories. Show them how to make handmade paper and turn it into a picture book or book. Or help them to dramatize the story.

  3. Reading corner

    Make space in your classroom for a reading corner. All you need is a small bookshelf and a few comfortable cushions where children can read undisturbed. Choose books that are richly illustrated and age-appropriate for the children in the class. Change the range of books regularly so that everyone can find their own.

  4. Visit the library

    Take your children to the nearest library. Meeting an experienced librarian among shelves full of books is an experience in itself. Let’s add an engaging program and the chance to browse the shelves. Take advantage of this and let the children choose the books they like best. You can then borrow and read them together at nursery.

  5. Fun projects

    Join one of the national projects to promote children’s reading:

    • Grandma and Grandpa to Kindergarten
      As part of the Whole Czech Republic Reads to Children initiative, an intergenerational project called Grandma and Grandpa to Kindergarten was created. The project can be joined at any time of the year, either on your own or with the support of the organizers.A volunteer from among the seniors comes to the selected classroom every morning for at least five consecutive days. He or she puts on a magical cloak and transforms into a grandmother or grandfather from a fairy tale. He or she reads a short story to the children that fits in with the curriculum and then talks, paints and plays with the children. She also makes fairy tale blocks with the children and pastes a new fairy tale into them each day. The parents then have the task of reading it to the children at home.
    • Night with Andersen
      To mark the anniversary of the Danish storyteller’s birth, the annual Night with Andersen event takes place at the beginning of April.Children gather in the evening at the library, kindergarten or school for a fairy tale program and a night of reading together. Such adventures can attract even the most die-hard book reluctant.

Offer children an environment rich in language and literacy. Read to them so that they are exposed to the written word, at least in kindergarten if not at home. Try to think of other activities that will immerse them fully in the story. Raise children to be readers, you will give them a great foundation for life.

27. 4. 2023 | Martina Zatloukalová

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