Five top tips to get your kids reading!

3 May, 2016: As part of its continuous efforts to instill essential educational values within children, KidZania Kuwait, the exciting kid-sized metropolis recently held a fun activity led by one of its five unique characters, Urbano, to shed light on the importance of learning among children.

Entrusted with the right to know, Urbano is a 9 year old boy, a savvy bookworm, curious adventurer, science explorer and space lover, who represents children's fundamental right to education and continuously encourages them to be passionate about reading, exploring and seeking knowledge.

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In line with this belief, KidZania advocates reading to toddlers and pre-school children (aged two to five years), as it helps enhance their cognitive, intellectual and linguistic development. Not only that, but reading to children can also foster a stronger emotional bond between parents and children that will draw the two closer together.

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As a parent, you must always remember that you, too, have the power to boost your child's learning potential simply by incorporating reading as an essential part of their daily routine. According to Child Psychology Expert at Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute, Saima Bhati, below are suggested tips that can help foster your child's love for reading:

1. Read by example: Become a good role model for your kids. You can motivate your little ones to read simply by reading yourself. When they observe you read books, magazines, newspapers and other materials they are inclined to do so themselves.

2. Establish reading time: Make reading a daily habit by dedicating at least 5 to 10 minutes a day to read to your child, be it before bedtime, during lunch, while bathing, etc. The options are endless!

3. Read it out loud: Reading aloud to your kid is one of the most important activities for literacy development and in building word-sound awareness in children. In fact, many psychological research studies reveal that it can stimulate language development even before a child is able to talk.

4. Consider reading outside of books: Get creative and diversify your reading resources to make it fun for the little ones. Ask your child to read off of cereal boxes, billboards, toy boxes and magazines. You could also make a grocery list and ask your child for help in listing, writing and naming the items needed, or stick menus to the fridge and allow him/her to practice by reading it out loud to you. This will not only challenge their literacy skills but also emphasize on the importance of reading in the real world.

5. Make it interactive: While reading to your child, don't be afraid to ask questions about the story. Pause every now and then to build anticipation and attention, or simply propose new character names and story endings.

As a parent, you often strive to raise smart, bright children. However, you must always remember that the key to your child's academic excellence lies in your commitment to fostering his literacy skills during early childhood. By utilizing the endless resources available at hand, making reading part of a daily lifestyle, and using a bit of imagination and creativity, you are guaranteed to nurture a child who appreciates the values of reading and literacy development, long before his first academic year.

KidZania's activity with Urbano also coincided with World Book Day where he got to visit the National Library of Kuwait and enjoyed learning exciting facts about the history and heritage of Kuwait