You and l know that love for reading starts early during childhood. We, parents are the ones who need to inculcate in our children the beautiful habit of reading. Even for our special kids, this habit of daily reading could be cultivated early on. Exploring books together with your special kid is one of the best forms of parental-child bonding, maybe second to playing with them. I assure you there are tons of benefits of reading everyday to your special child.
Of course, kids will always be kids. They enjoy time with their parents and caregivers. They will always feel safe when they are around with their beloved mom and dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle, or their nanny. Make reading to your special child a daily habit. He will always look forward to reading with you.
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What are the benefits of reading to your special child?
Even if your special child has delayed mental development, he will still enjoy sitting down with you or lying down in the bed with you. He will always tend to snuggle or hug you while listening to your story-telling.
So aside from just being happy together, there are lots of positive output that reading to your child will bring:
- A strong bond is developed between you and your special child.
- Your child will have a sense of security when he is there in the bed or chair with you.
- You are both able to explore the world, your town, province or country.
- He gradually forms a deep trust in you.
- He learns to appreciate that you are trying to help him improve or overcome his incapacities.
- Your special child will slowly increase his vocabulary.
- He gradually improves his language skills.
- His mental capability will be boosted.
- You are opening your child’s awareness to his surroundings, thus he learns coping skills.
- You are helping your child’s teacher in a way because your kid will be more receptive with lessons in school.
- Reading will develop your child’s imagination and creativity.
- He will learn to relax and quiet his mind during reading sessions with you.
Make reading together a habit
We learn easily when we do things again and again.
Your child with special needs will truly benefit from you when you make reading to him a habit and reading with him daily is the best thing!
Rather than make your child watch nursery rhymes on television or you tube day after day, develop the habit of reading to him instead at bedtime or just anytime that you feel he is receptive to listen to your story telling.
Making reading to him a daily thing will surely increase his trust in you and he will always look forward to that special time together.
Gradually, you are increasing his vocabulary and his understanding of his environment.
This special time will also make you feel that you are giving him a special part of you.
Enjoy reading with your child
Read aloud to your child.
Act out and speak out like the characters in the book that you are reading.
If you are reading a dialogue for an old lady, let your voice be slow and quivering. If you are reading a man’s dialogue, speak in a deep tone. You can even mimic some animals’ sounds. Surely your child will giggle and enjoy hearing your story.
You can even both dress up and mimic what the characters in the story look like. It will be fun for both of you. Your creativity will spark his imagination as well. You can do this in the weekend when you have time to plan things.
You yourself will feel very happy and at peace after these sessions. Your child’s laughter will wash away all the worries or stresses that you maybe experiencing at that moment. It will be so fulfilling seeing that sparkle in your child’s eyes knowing that you satisfied his excitement to learn from you.
Incorporate the assignments from school in your reading sessions
During homework time, start by reading to your child a good story book. This will develop his enthusiasm in doing his assignment.
Answering questions or completing his tasks that his teacher sent home will be a breeze if his brain is programmed to respond positively.
Encourage him to answer his homework by himself. Let him ask you questions as well or let him know that you can help him if he cannot answer the questions.
Guide him if you can, instead of giving him all the answers. This way, you are encouraging him to think and decide for himself what is the best answer.
His teacher will be very appreciative learning that you are there to help her encourage your child to learn each day.
Read various topics
To increase your special child’s vocabulary and develop his language skills, try to read a variety of topics from animals, cartoon characters, plants, school, home, family, food, etc.
After reading, talk about the story that you just read.
Ask him questions like, ” What part of the story did you like most? “, “Who is your favorite character? “, or ” What did you learn from the story?”
Encourage him to ask questions to you as well. This will also gauge if he understood the topic or not.
An inquisitive mind is open to more learning.
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Love You Forever
I would like to mention especially this book, Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. This has been my favorite book ever since I read it to my son back when he was younger.
I have given away most of my son’s children’s books, but not this.
I’ve kept it and I read it again and again, even just by myself. It’s so beautiful and inspiring.
It tells about a mother’s love, which is unconditional and infinite, from birth up until the son grew old.
Love you Forever is so rich with moral lessons, especially about a mother’s love which was later on reciprocated by her son.
The story is so touching, you could’t help but cry after reading it because it’s so full of love and gratefulness.
Go grab this book, the very young and the old alike will truly appreciate it and be touched by this book.
Keep reading time short and sweet
A special child will have limited attention span, so plan to read short stories. Their intellectual capacities are also restricted, so they lose interest easily.
You might need to speak very slowly too, so he can understand every word and appreciate the story.
Don’t be upset when your child doesn’t decipher everything that you read to him. Keep in mind that he has delayed mental capabilities, so his brain is slow to digest.
Instead, always appreciate that he enjoys time with you even though he is learning slowly.
Plan on going to the library regularly
A trip to the library on a weekend or right after school on a certain day is something that you can develop with your special child.
This will teach him the value of reading regularly. Likewise, he will be exposed to different books and topics.
Let him choose what he wants you to read to him. This way, you will encourage him to explore.
Start with small books or short stories.
Picture books are awesome for small kids to begin with.
You yourself can also borrow your own books while visiting the library. Always find time to read, this is a very relaxing ” me ” time for you, my dear parents.
Introduce reading to your special child from birth
Reading to your newborn or a few months old special baby can certainly give benefits both to you and him.
You will develop a special bond right away aside from his feeding schedules.
His brain will be exposed very early to this stimulating activity and as he grows and develops, reading will aid in forming his language skills early on.
Your voice will soothe him to let him sleep good at night.
Developing that good habit of reading everyday will surely help him overcome his mental delay sooner because his brain will be rewired early.
As your child grows older, he would be learning to choose his favorite topic, author, or book.
All these because you have started to expose him early on and he has developed that habit of reading ( or listening to you while you read, if he has not learned reading by himself ).
Reap the benefits of reading everyday to your special child by starting early on!
Enroll in subscription boxes
One of the best ways to ensure that you sustain that excitement to read with your special child is to enroll in subscription boxes. This means that you get a book or books every month, sometimes with craft materials or costumes depending on what kind of subscription you buy.
There are various book subscriptions like books about animals, story books, craft books, etc. You will know what to subscribe, depending on your child’s age, interests, and capabilities as a child with special needs. It’s just like going to the bookstore every month, but instead these are delivered right in your doorstep. Click here to choose your book subscription for your little one.
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Reading is always fun and educational
I hope I have inspired you, dear mom and dad to start reading to your special child now and continue this awesome bonding activity daily! He will grow up loving reading and learning to appreciate the world around him through the books that he reads.
Your special child will always feel secure and inspired to read with you, have fun and gain knowledge to his advantage.
Wishing you and your child happy reading!
Originally Published: June 13, 2018 Updated: August 10, 2020
When did you start reading to your special child? Are you reading to him everyday?
What is his favorite book about? Please share your story with us.