“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” – Maya Angelou
Reading is more than a mere hobby. Books fuel the reader’s imagination, keep their brain active and make them more creative. Books have the power to transport the reader into a world of fantasy.
There is no right age to pick up the first book, but the sooner we begin the better it is. It has a comprehensive affect on the personality and intelligence of the reader.
Why should children read?
All good habits should begin from an early age, reading is no different.
Children are like sponge and exposing them to the world of books will ensure they become smart, inquisitive, imaginative adults. Books tell children that there is lot more to the world than they know at present.
The early years are crucial for a child’s development and hence an ideal time to inculcate reading habit into children. Children who read are more likely to have a more focused attention span, grasping power and memory. This helps them in their academics as well.
In a recent study conducted it was found that people who start reading since their early age have better inter personal skills, vocabulary and a better hold on written and spoken language.
Children get to experience the world through the books and stories they read. A simple story like red riding hood or the snowman can teach children to become a better human and accept everyone irrespective of the differences.
Role of parents
It is a parent’s responsibility to expose their kids to this magical world of books. You will be amazed to know that a child can develop good reading habits much before they actually start reading.
Here are few tips for parents which will help them raise a reader-
- Begin from day one– As soon as you get your new born home, you can start reading to them. They will eventually get used to your voice and start looking forward to this daily routine.
- Lead by example– Children may not listen to what the parents say but they will always observe the parents. When the kids see their parents reading books or the morning paper daily they are more likely to develop the same.
- Read along– The best way to develop a child’s interest in books is reading along with them. Reading aloud short stories in an animated way will catch their attention and will help them retain it. Taking kids to bookshops and allowing them to explore and pickup books of their liking is another easy and fun way to develop kids into voracious readers.
- Bargain– Parents are the ultimate deal makers and what better bargain to use with them than books. Allow kids to watch an hour of television if and when they have finished reading one book. Just be sure that children don’t make it a habit.
- Discuss the book– Just plain reading can be quite monotonous. As much as possible, parents should help the child to connect the content of the book with real life. This will keep the story alive in the mind of the child and also understand life with a better perspective.
- Reward them– Children love to get rewards. Praise them, motivate them and even buy them gifts when they successfully finish reading a book. This will keep them motivated to read more.
Role of schools
After parents, a school has the maximum impact on a child’s overall development. Their curriculum, methodology, teachers and infrastructure have a greater affect on children than we realize.
Choosing a school that is well aware of the benefits of reading and works to foster the 4 C’S- critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration among children will help develop your child reading and other 21st century skills.
Schools like Sesame Street Preschool – a venture of Sesame School House works with a globally acclaimed curriculum and offers programmes like AANCHOO’S BOOKROOM for children between 3-7 years which helps them in developing their language, social skills, creativity and imagination.
Another important factor that differentiates Sesame Street Preschool from other schools is the range of content they expose the kids to. Every kid is unique and none of them have a similar interest in reading. The only way their interest can be kept alive is by allowing them to read about whatever topic interests them.
A teacher has a crucial role to play in helping a child develop a reading habit. Not every child will have a natural interest in reading and the only thing that will catch their attention is how the story is presented to them. When a story is presented with a little bit of animation the story becomes more real in their head and they are able to retain it for a longer period of time, remember Tom Sawyer!
Teachers have to be gentle with kids. If you observe the child is not too keen on picking up reading as a hobby, it is important not to push them but give them time and space. If you push them, they may stall like a wild horse! For such kids, technology comes in handy. Introducing them to audio books, DVDS, Airtel Vod, Google play and fun & educational shows like Galli Galli Sim Sim and Sesame Street will be a good way to begin. The idea is to keep the approach fun, educational and innovative.
Children spend most of their time at home and school. Hence both the parents and school have to work in unison for successfully developing a young child into not only a reader but a better human. While the parents can sow the seed of reading into a child, it’s a schools responsibility to nurture it with constant love and encouragement.