NEXT AND THE READING HABIT
"I love to read, but my child doesn't!" Sound
Well, you need not be the one saying it anymore. I've
been interacting with
children for five years now, having worked in a school
library and freelance, conducting workshops in reading
enrichment - and I have realized that all it takes is
a few inputs from you, to get your child interested.
Here goes then : Give your child a model to
imitate. You probably read while the child is asleep,
or in school, but that way your child doesn't see you
and can't emulate you. So, be seen holding a
book, reading it, getting excited about it. Quote passages
or narrate incidents to your child or spouse.
some time reading with your child. A good rule of thumb
is - at least fifteen minutes a day, five times a week,
spent exclusively reading and talking about what's in
the book. Clarify values, non-judgmentally as far as
possible. Like: Loyalty v/s. honesty: the character
saw his best friend cheat - should he tell teacher?
You'll be surprised at the insights your youngster
comes out with, given half a chance.
If you can, take your child to bookshops. Give him/her
a budget, discuss the choice of books. I've seen kids
as young as six understand what a budget is, and stick
to it. It's best not to buy expensive books for your
children - you shouldn't be saying, "Be careful with
that book!" so often that your child gets put off books
completely. I've got scribbles or food stains on all
my first books, and today I bristle if anyone so much
as dog-ears a book. A kid who loves books can be taught
how to care for them at a later stage.
absolute non-readers, start with non-fiction. He likes
cricket? Fine. There are several books and magazines
on the game and the players. Usually, non-readers consider
reading 'stories' a waste of time. So hook them with
something that's not a waste of time, according
Actually, a subscription to any magazine in the child's
name gives the child a feeling of receiving something
that's "mine" in the mail, and that can just turn the
Making the child feel the book is "mine" really helps.
A rubber-stamp with "LIBRARY OF PRANAV" is a conversation
piece! And giving books as presents/prizes/return gifts
during parties is a good way to get the peer group interested
Parents, the reading habit is not dying out. I've seen
nine-year-olds fighting over a copy of "Black Beauty",
and a two-year-old sleeping with her favourite book
under the pillow. All it takes is a little tap in the
right direction, from you.