“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy.
The above line about the love of books made me think of the memorable journey with my child towards inculcating the habit of reading
How did I start the journey of reading books with my child?
I started reading books for my daughter when we were in UK and she was around seven months old.
She was crawling and playing, and I wasn’t sure whether she was listening to the stories I was reading to her. But Children do listen. I never gave up the habit of reading books to my daughter. Meanwhile, I was taking her regularly to the song and story sessions conducted by a Song Club for kids called MUMBABA at the local Libraries. I realised the power of listening when she was 14 months old.
I still remember the first book I bought for her “Put me in the Zoo” by Robert Lopshire. This was a story that introduces colours through a spotted animal. One day, while cooking I called out a line from the book and to my surprise, I found that my little one with her tiny steps was walking quickly to grab the book from her personal library that was well below the TV cabinet. That was the moment I realised that she had been listening to me all along. I recognised the power of reading and listening.
Her interest motivated me to read more books to her over the next few years till she was able to read on her own. The weekly visits to the library exposed me the various books available for different age groups.
Benefits of Reading:
It has been 13 years and I have been observing how her interest in books has grown with time. Due to her exposure to books written by different authors and genres as an early age her repertoire of books is vast. This I feel was the most important benefit of reading.
Secondly, it has helped her to expand her knowledge about various aspects of the world. Reading both fiction and non-fiction books has enhanced her vocabulary tremendously.
Thirdly, reading has helped her strengthen her creative writing abilities. It has given her the ability to use appropriate words to express herself in different contexts.
Last but not the least, reading has helped her to think out of the box and contributed towards her memory development.
Books have always been her best companion. Although I must say that sometimes I feel that it has restricted her social skills to some extent, but I cannot blame books for that entirely.
Tips for parents to help children read:
“I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp” – J K Rowling.
Taking the author’s words into consideration, a regular twenty-minute bedtime routine of ‘read out aloud’ books could be brought into practice.
Regular visits to the library to try different genres so that it helps both the parents and the children find the right book which ignites their interest.
A small book club can be formed to cultivate the habit of reading. It would encourage children to exchange opinion on the books and the characters of their choice. This can eventually motivate other children to try different genres.
It has been 13 years since I introduced my daughter to the world of books. The benefits that I have mentioned here are just a few but I am sure it would add a lot of tangible attributes to her in the future. It is never too late to start the habit of reading, if you have not done it so far, now is the time.
The habit of reading books is the most precious gift which parents should think of giving their children.