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Qatar Reads highlights importance of promoting reading habit in children

Qatar Reads highlights importance of promoting reading habit in children

Tribune News Network
Doha
Qatar Reads, in collaboration with Qatar National Library (QNL), hosted an interactive webinar highlighting the benefits of reading for children from a young age, and the importance of creating positive habits, as part of its unique ‘Mommy to Be’ programme.
The event addressed how reading can help promote the development of language and literacy skills, and encourage a love of learning in children. With new mothers at the centre of the discussion, it also addressed topics such as how to build bridges between parents and children, and ways to promote a culture of reading from an early age.
“A parent is a child’s first teacher,” said Faten Azzam, senior information services librarian, QNL, who led the discussion. “And, importantly, children acquire language skills through listening to the conversation of those around them.”
According to Azzam, one of the most wonderful ways to talk to children is to discuss a certain book. “Use a language that they can understand, talk to your child, ask them questions and allow them to answer. Even if they do not directly interact with you, the process itself can develop a child’s linguistic skills.
“Infants are born with millions of nerve cells, and reading to them can help stimulate these cells. They can develop the ability to absorb language and skills, and can connect an image with a name, or an object with its use and sound.”
Reading can also introduce children to writing and prepare them for school. “Reading and writing are two compatible skills. Through reading, children can be introduced to written texts, and they can look at the text and memorise the shape of printed words,” said Azzam.
The best types of books to use in the early learning stages are picture books, according to Azzam, as they allow children to understand the story through images. And they often include short text, which children can see and parents can read aloud.
Sharing tips on how to read to children, Azzam said: “It is very important to go through the book on your own before you read it to your child to decide if it’s suitable for their age. And remember to pick a book that matches your child’s interest.”
Reading to children in an interactive process, according to Azzam. “You can allow your child to flip the pages of the book to increase their participation in the reading process. Explain new terminology, ask questions and help with the answers. It is not necessary to read the whole story at once, but it is necessary to make reading a habit.
“Reading time should become your child’s favourite time. You need to work on making it a fun experience that your child enjoys and loves. Make your children treat their books like their favorite toys to play with,” she concluded.
The ‘Mommy to Be’ is a joint program between Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Reads initiative and QNL.

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