A child reading a book quietly under a tree oblivious to the world around is according to me one of the most beautiful images in the world.
We all aspire to have that image to be our child. But how do we get there? I mean oblivious to the world is a little unreasonable in this day and age, but yes, a book reader nonetheless.
Some hacks that worked for us:
- Start with interests The key is to figure out what interests them the most. Just like us, they have preferences too. At the age of 4-5 they start developing those interests and that’s when its important to expose them to as many genres’ as possible. Adventure, Comedy, Fairy tales, real life inspiring stories, science, thrillers and many more. Once you know what interests them, invest in those books and make sure they have enough supply of those. Don’t worry about they being stuck to any one genre. Once they like reading, they will devour anything.
- Don’t Judge Sometimes they will pick up books which according to you are senseless, but we all have been there and read Mills & Boons. So let them too read a ‘Captain underpants’ or ‘Dogman’ every once a while (apologies for judging). But yes, slowly nudge them towards better writings and books.
- School is best at disciplining A child always listens to the teacher compared to the parent. They have more influence. So make sure your child’s school has a library period and they actually read and discuss books. Maybe also write a short review on the books they read. If that’s not the case, please insist the school to take it up.
- Discuss the book This one requires a bit of work from our end. But its important that we do it. Because reading just for the sake of reading is good but not enough. We want them to develop those critical thinking skills through these books. Discuss why they did or did not like a particular book. Ask questions like ‘what if there could be different ending’ or ‘how would you react if you were the character’. Don’t forget to discuss the books you are reading currently. They understand more than what we give them credit for.
- Be a reader yourself This one goes without saying. I don’t remember my mother ever forcing me to read. But she always had a book with her to read. A Thursday evening library trip could never be missed for anything. Come rain, storm, guests anything. That got me hooked and I insisted to having a library ticket for myself at the age of 10. These days we as parents have so many other options to library, buying preloved books, bartering with friends.
So pickup that book which you have been meaning to since so many days and get the beautiful journey started. Both for you and your child.