“A person who doesn’t read has no advantage over the one who can’t read”
~ Mark Twain
Nisha was admiring her three-year-old daughter Diya happily flapping through the pages of books on animals. Nisha, herself a book lover knows that her daughter will benefit hugely if she starts the habit of reading at an early age. In fact, she herself still loves diving into imaginary worlds and finding herself among different characters and situations. And she hopes that her daughter too grows up to make books her best friends.
Shalini’ mom helps her in looking after her son, Aryan, when Shalini is away for work. Shalini’s mother is very fond of reading newspaper. And 18-month-old Aryan, who can’t recognize a single alphabet,holds The Economic Times, as if he is he understands the world economy.
Your child will follow your example and not your advice
Many parents struggle with their eight-nine-year-old children, when the school curriculum demands them to read more, but children cannot settle on liking any type of books or reading material.
Parents have to lead the way and that too early on. Even for children as young as 3 months, it can do wonders if they see their parents reading books, magazines, newspapers. Parents can hold colourful books and read out loud to children. When the child is playing and she observes her parent reading a book or even a boring looking newspaper, she is bound to become inquisitive.
We must remember, books in the hands of children are less strenuous as compared to television, tabs and mobiles.
How to makereading fun
Initially Nisha was a little confused on the kind of books she should introduce to her daughter at such a tender age. Diya was just beginning to recognize her alphabets and it would be impossible for her to read sentences, let alone understand them. Thankfully, the musical or the sound book gifted by her sister a couple of years back was such a wonderful way to pique Diya’s interest in reading. The book was one of her first ever and she was instantly attracted to its unique colors and sounds.
It is important that the books we choose for our little children are beautiful and illustrative. At the same time, they serve the purpose of instigating their curiosity and imagination.
The reading list
‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go’ – Dr. Seuss
Early reading is obviously the foundation which helps to broaden the child’s vocabulary, imagination, information and communication skills. If the right kinds of books are introduced from an early age, the love for books grows with time and children continue to keep up the good habit of reading even later in their life. But just as Nisha, many parents are interested to know about the various kinds of books that can be read by little children. So let’s take a look at some of the different types of books for children below the age of 6. These books are informative, fun and help children learn basic mannerisms and words.
Sound Books - Sound books are such savior for both very young children, say less than 2-year-olds and their parents. With a press of the button, words are said aloud. Why words, some also have musical rhythms, animal sounds etc. Sound books are great for the child to listen, learn and read.
Hardcover picture books –These are the most common types of books available for young ones. The design is such that it is easy for the child to hold the book. Also, the thick paper makes it impossible for children to tear off pages (an activity that they particularly enjoy at this age!). These are perfect for even children below the age of three who cannot read at all because they can easily flip pages and learn from the colorful pictures. Also, the colors, shapes and designs attract them to explore and learn new words. They start to relate images with words which are essential for effective reading later on.
Activity books are ideal for children between the ages of 4-6 years. These books engage the child with activities, such as connecting the dots, sticking the stickers etc. The child learns to follow simple instructions through visually reading them and also sees the final output of his/her own creativity.
Finally, there are the evergreen story books that children love to read and hear. The tales of magic, fairies, elves, animals, things and people that can help them to be both compassionate and critical.Some delightful books to start early reading include The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Happy Egg, Where’s my Teddy, Where is Amma, The Famous Smile and so many more.
Undoubtedly, there are various books available in the market and online that we can buy for our children. But the chances that the child will just pick up the book and read on her own are very slim. In fact, in today’s technology driven world it is harder to let go off the smartphone and enjoy a book instead. So, let’s quickly share some tips on how to encourage little ones to read!
Power of stories - Tell them stories. Stories are very powerful. Start with telling them stories without a book. When they get hooked to the stories, read out stories from the books, as if you have exhausted all the stories you knew. You will see the transition will be so quick.
Read to them with expressions - This is one of the best ways to develop interest in the stories. And then slowly allow them to read on their own with you by their side.
Age appropriate reading material - Make sure the reading material is age appropriate for the child. If it’s difficult for them to understand they will lose interest soon.
Keep changing the reading material - It is also important to remember that children can easily get addicted to reading the same book just like playing the same game. So, it is in our hands to keep changing their reading material from time to time.
Create a reading corner - Maybe throw in some comfortable pillows and a colorful mattress and allow the child to feel a special connection with their reading space. But keep it least distracting with no smart phones, gadgets and eateries in that area.
Most important – become a reader, a role model. The best way to inculcate the habit of reading is when the child sees the parents setting aside time themselves and enjoying a good book.
If we implement some of these basic practices, Diya, Aryan and many other kids can start making their books, their BFFs.