Reading – a habit I developed seeing my mum. Although, what she reads and what I read is completely different, but I am so thankful to her for introducing me to the world of books. In fact, her collection of Bengali literary works by Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee etc. inspired me to build a library of my own choice of books. Hopefully, I will get there some day.
Now it’s my turn to introduce my little ones to books, to reading. The reader in me wants my kids to fall in love with books and reap the myriad benefits of reading. After all, “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
― Charles William Eliot
Is your Child Completely Appalled by the Idea of Reading?
Many mothers find it difficult to develop the habit of reading in their children. Often the little ones are averted to the whole idea of reading and associate it with academics. The moment these kids realise that the story books can transport them to a different world altogether, they will start enjoy reading.Just that they need to find the right book to ignite their interest.
Here’s how we mothers can help in developing this ‘precious’ habit in our children:
Yes, start as early as possible. Around one year. Ofcourse, children won’t know how to read but getting them associated with books early on helps in developing their reading habit in future, easily. For infants, you should get interactive books such as audio books, books with puppets or with big graphics. For toddlers, get some illustrated books, with a picture and a sentence in each page. By choosing interesting books for your little ones, they great attracted to the whole idea of ‘reading’.
Are you Giving your Kids the Right Books to Read?
Try to identify your child’s likes and dislikes. Usually, the toddlers are super fond of animals. So, why not get them books that revolve around the animal theme. As your child grows, you will notice that her choices will change. Some might prefer fantasy stories while others might like the sci-fi ones. Once your child gets comfortable with a particular subject, introduce other to other genre too. This will cut down the monotony and also will help in expanding their knowledgebase on a wide range of subjects.
Are you Involved in your Child’s Reading Process?
Buying the most suitable books for kids is not enough. Your involvement plays a big role.
You can help in maintaining their interest in books by reading with them. Set a time for book reading with your kids. Many parents choose book reading before bed time. If your child is as curious as mine, be ready to answer hundreds of questions that will come your way. Don’t shrug them off, instead answer to their queries patiently and then move on. If the story is long, just read a few pages at a time.
If your child is big enough to read on her own, you can always have a book discussion with your child. By generating relevant conversations around the books she reads, you will encourage your child to think independently and read more often.
Give them a Separate Book Shelf
Get a separate book shelf for your children and teach them how they should keep all their books organized in that particular shelf. Whenever, they want to read a book, they can take it out ,read it and keep it back when over. By constantly seeing the books around them, the kids will be motivated to read more often. This will also ensure that they value their books and respect them. After all, for a reader, her books are her most prized possession.
How about a Book-ey Trip?
I have such fond memories of going to the British Council Library and other local libraries in my school and college years. If you are a member of any library, one of the evenings take your child to the library. You could also enrol your child to a library or encourage her to borrow books from her school library. Many local libraries organize book reading sessions where you can encourage your child to participate.
These days almost every city has literary fests and book fairs. Go to such events with your kid. This will expose your little ones to a different world altogether. Or , if you are bored one evening, just visit the nearest book store with your child and see what’s new in stock- for you as well as for your kid.
Organize a BYOB Party
No, I am not talking about Bring Your Own Booze Parties. For kids, organize a BYOB ( Bring Your Own Book ) party. Invite your child’s friends and ask them to get their favourite book. The kids can take a look at one another’s books, discuss their favourite character and even can exchange or borrow the books from each other. What a delightful idea!
Be the Reading Role Model
When my little one barely learnt to walk, she would pick any newspaper and go and give it to her Daddy. And my son tries really hard to get his hands on my books and read them. “Sweet child o’ mine, there’s a long way to go before you can read them and I doubt, our choices will match”. However, 'i have kept aside some books exclusively for my son and my daughter, which I would want them to read once they grow up. War & Peace, Diary of Anne Frank, Animal Farm, Great Expectations, Monk who sold his Ferrari, Doll House, Many Master, Many Lives, Only Love is Real to name a few!
When you are trying to develop your child’s reading habits, don’t just restrict it to reading books. Introduce them to newspapers, brochures, magazines etc. Make informed choices for your kids, be the role model of a reader. Reading can be never be forced upon, you have to subtly introduce the habit to them and then with time, let them choose their preferred genre, author and medium of reading – be it kindle or paperbacks!
Wondering which books to get started with for your kids?
Touch and Feel books for Toddlers
Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Pepper story books
Would like to share your ideas on how to help your child develop the reading habit? Or would you like to recommend some books for kids? Would love your feedback!