Reading Habits in Children
Reading fires the imagination in the child. It encourages quick learning and widens his views, expands horizons and helps him learn about different people and places. It encourages imagination and curiosity. Reading gives children skills in handling complex ideas. But the future generation appears to be at a risk of going straight from an oral to a digital culture, skipping over the writing and reading culture in the process. Research shows that there is a relationship between reading and delinquent behaviour. 
There is a flip side to this. Reading the wrong kind of books or books meant for adults, can have an adverse impact on the impressionable minds of the young.
 Why should I be aware of this?
Reading is the only form of entertainment that is also an essential life skill. Reading doesn't just happen. It is a skill that must be nurtured from a child's earliest years. Once children know how to read, they still need gentle coaxing and support to reach their full potential as readers.
When a typical American child starts first grade, he would have already watched some 5,000 hours of television. Another 12 years later when he goes to grad school he would probably have spent more time in front of a screen than in class. Then there are games download, instant messaging, browsing the net. Not to forget audio books and e-books. Consequently reading habits among children are on the decline, Harry Potter notwithstanding.
Our children need help to develop their ability to read so that they can comprehend subjects better at school. Most children with learning disabilities have a problem with reading and related language skills. Children with poor reading skills end up receiving poor grades, get easily distracted and frustrated, have behaviour problems, seem to dislike like school and often fail to develop to their full potential.
 How does this affect me?
Several studies show a disturbing relationship between reading/early literacy and child's emotional and mental health and social behaviour. A study done in the US showed that reading was correlated with delinquency independent of neighborhood, SES, ethnicity, and family involvement effects, was the same in both ethnic groups and was constant over the age range studied. The degree of seriousness of delinquent acts was directly correlated to the degree of severity of reading problem. In other words, the more serious the reading problem, the more serious the delinquent acts. 
The study also showed that early in the primary grades, children who are struggling with literacy begin to experience failure, and with it a potentially devastating cascade of related negative effects in their development of inter- and intra-personal skills. These effects can include task-avoidant and acting-out social behaviors, lowered levels of personal regard, and seeking of personal validation in venues less prosocial than school.
 Reading habits and our social environment
Kids with poor reading habits have higher chances of anti social behaviour. It has been observed that delinquency, school violence, bullying and even incidense of hacking computers (observed by a conerned parent) have a higher correlation with poor reading habits. This does not mean that those with poor reading habits display such behaviours or poor reading habits are mainly reponsible for such behaviour patterns. But good reading habits help in developing a steady and constructive mind.
 All about reading habits
Most of the world’s information is not digitized. The vast majority is in print form, mostly in books. According to different surveys and reports, reading per se among young adults is not exactly on the wane, but the delivery mechanism has changed. Communications with words is thriving, but on a new format. Most reading is now online. Only probable exception being a novel or non-fiction classic, for which now one can order a kindle Most of the world’s information is not digitized. The vast majority is in print form, mostly in books. According to different surveys and reports, reading per se among young adults is not exactly on the wane, but the delivery mechanism has changed. Communications with words is thriving, but on a new format. Most reading is now online. Only probable exception being a novel or non-fiction classic, for which now one can order a kindle e-book reader.
For many years, especially in the West there have been doubts whether the written medium of narration would survive the onslaught of technology. Will children, who spent most of their waking time in front of the TV or computer, continue to read books? Similar fears were expressed in the end of the 19th century with the emergence of films and cartoons. Books survived that era and maintained its position as a parallel “technology.”
Research in Western countries over the last 50 years has indicated a fall in the reading habits of children, though there are country-to-country variations.
 Reasons for decline
Reasons for decline in reading habits among children are offshoots of technological advancements which have brought about overall changes in family, social and economic conditions.
- Reading is not considered a relevant leisure activity as it does not form part of children’s social interaction.
- Reading is considered a solitary pursuit and is not preferred in comparison with interactive chats on the internet.
- There is also an overriding desire amongst young people to spend time with their friends than remain at home and read.
- There is unprecedented rise in the price of books, while CD-ROMs are becoming more affordable.
 Need for integration
Books will never die. But the new media have come to stay. Proportion of people owning home computers and TV will continue to rise, affecting the reading habits not only of children but of the entire family.
 What can I do?
 Parental guidance
Research has shown that children's reading habits improve if they are allowed to read books which are of their level and which they can read independently. Don't worry if the books are not difficult. Reading books they are comfortable with improves their fluency and helps develop comprehension.
It is not necessary to make huge investments in children's books. Visiting the yard sales and your local library wil give access to enough material.
Parents can also help by making reading fun for children. Keep in mind that the goal is for your child to read. Don't hesitate to help him/her with words they don't know.
 How to create reading habits in children
- Create a separate reading area--Ideally a quiet and comfortable area where the child would like to spend time. Try to provide an area which is near your collection of books.
- Give him access to books -- Set up a book collection shelf at home from where he can pick and read items of his choice.
- Set aside time for reading-- Allocate a period of time, maybe 30 minute or so, every day, for your children to spend on reading at the allotted area.
- Encourage reading one good book -- Out of the allotted reading time set aside 10-15 minutes to read one good book that would take many days to complete.
- Spend reading time with your child -- Whenever possible spend time reading with him and then discussing what you read.
- Encourage family reading -- Schedule a period of time when all members of the family can meet and read from their favorite books.
- Make reading fun -- Read to him and act out portions to make the experience lively. This is sure to arouse greater interest.
- Display books in your home -- This will give your children the impression that books have an important role in the household.
- Make him join a library -- Libraries are great places for reading and writing.
 What to Avoid
- Nagging -- Pressurizing and hounding a child will only increase his resistance.
- Bribing -- Bribing can produce negative results. Instead present him with a book and praises on his completing a reading assignment successfully.
- Judging-- Constant judging will take the pleasure out of reading and he will soon lose interest.
- Criticizing his choice-- If he is taking the initiative to read books of his choice, encourage him, even if he is choosing books that are too light and easy to read. In time he will go for more serious options.
- Setting tough goals --Don’t expect great things in short time frames. Encourage him gently, instead.
What, then, is the solution? Dump the PC? Ditch the TV?
The need today is thoughtful integration of book reading with hi-tech. This will become a new object in tune with the times. It will also reverse the decline in book reading among children. An example can be found in POPFICTION  which integrates reading with multimedia activities such as photography, painting and drawing, sewing and crafts, 3-D and digital art, hip-hop and claymation.
Moreover, teachers squeezed by demands for ever-higher test scores say they are pushing aside time once spent reading, and many schools face budget crises. Book spending largely is limited to textbook-based programs for the youngest students, writes, Greg Toppo in USA Today.
- It is estimated that less than 15 percent of the world’s information is digi
- The seventh and final Harry Potter book broke sales records on globally selling 11 million copies in its first 24 hours.
- According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a series of federal tests administered every few years to a sample of students in grades 4, 8 and 12, the percentage of kids who said they read for fun almost every day dropped from 43 percent in fourth grade to 19 percent in eighth grade in 1998, the year “Sorcerer’s Stone” was published in the United States. In 2005, when “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” the sixth book, was published, the results were identical.
- Gift the Reading Habit
- How To Develop Your Child’s Reading Habits at Home
- HOW TO DEVELOP READING HABIT IN KIDS
- Children Who Can Read, But Don't...
- Children's Reading Habits and their Use of the Media
- Funny, but boys do read
 Additional Information
- Popular Fiction
- Why won't Johnny read?.
- 50 "Must Read" Children’s Books
- Visit Tips & Tricks for exhaustive suggestions on encouraging reading habits among children.