“Words are how we think, Stories are how we link.” – Christina Baldwin”
Stories are always beautiful- whether read or told. Our life itself is a mysterious bag of stories- those we hear, those we tell, those we read, those we believe and those we don’t. Even, businesses today don’t just sell their products, they tell their stories.
We grew up with stories and probably will perish with them. Some make stories to be told later, some write stories to be narrated later and some just enjoy the essence of a beautiful story.
And what better way to enjoy a story than reading a book. Books can take you anywhere, anytime. As said by Joseph Addison, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Books empower your soul, unleash your imagination and help you discover YOURSELF.
I loved the quote by Garrison Keillor, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” So why not empower our children with this wonderful gift and help them dream with open eyes.
When was the last time you bought a nice book for your child? When was the last time you read to him/her? When was the last time your child told you about a story he read? How many books on the shelf have your child actually read? Who is their favourite author(s)? How often do they read? Which book impacted them and how?
Well, too many questions and too little to answer. Let me help you with a few facts and figures. According to a study by Common Sense Media in the US:
“Since 1984, the percent of 13-year-olds who are weekly readers went down from 70% to 53%, and the percent of 17-year-olds who are weekly readers went from 64% to 40%. The percent of 17-year-olds who never or hardly ever read tripled during this period, from 9% to 27%.”
Are you concerned, not yet? According to an article in Forbes dated January 30, 2015 by Jordan Shapiro:
“According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading Report, among parents of children 6-17, almost three-quarters (71%) agree, “I wish my children would do more things that did not involve screen time. 75% agree, “I wish my child would read more books for fun.”
The report also states that:
“51% of kids ages 6-17 are “currently reading a book for fun and another one in five (20%) just finished one.” These kids are “frequent readers,” or “children who read books for fun 5-7 days a week. “Infrequent Readers,” who only read for fun one day a week. 75% of Infrequent Readers “say they haven’t read a book for fun in a while. A Frequent reader, age 6-11, reads about 44 books per year, while an Infrequent reader reads only around 22. And that difference increases substantially as kids get older. Infrequent readers, age 12-17, only read 4.7 books a year.”
Well, you must be thinking why so much fuss about reading. The benefits of reading are nothing new to us. The reasons why one should read are countless. The knowledge base it creates in you is nothing less than valuable. Just listing a few important reasons for cultivating reading skills in your child:
1) Reading helps your child analyze and reason things better
2) Reading introduces your child to a new world of ideas, thought, views and help in forming their own
3) Reading increases and improves their vocabulary and communication skills.
4) Reading helps to improve their articulation and writing skills. It is also a big boost to their academic performance.
5) Reading also helps to reduce stress and relax their minds.
6) Reading helps to teach essential life and character building qualities fromm biographies and autobiographies.
7) Reading makes them SMART and keeps them updated with news, views and events.
Is your child already reading? Is he/she spending sufficient time? Are they reluctant to pick up a book and read? Are they reading the right books?
If you are thinking twice answering these questions, it is time you take few simple steps to encourage your child to read, inculcate good reading habits and probably change a habit or two, yourself.
Get into the habit yourself: Study shows that kids don’t read books because parents don’t read books. It was found that an ordinary kid reads as infrequently as an ordinary adult that is less than 5 books a year. So, get into the habit of reading (if you don’t) to inculcate good reading habits in your child. Read newspapers, books, blogs, on anything you like. Subscribe to a library or a book-lending shop. Let your child see you read meaningful stuff. Become your child’s biggest inspiration.
Buy them books: Sometimes, buy books appropriate for them instead of toys and gadgets. Keep reading materials or books in plain sight so that they are tempted to read. Show them examples of how reading can help. Make reading interactive with them. Encourage them to read in the native language if they like and then they can change to English.
Give incentive to read: Show them how they can know more about something from books. Tell them they can watch television only if they finish a chapter in the new story book. Whenever they ask you something, ask them to read about it and tell you instead. If they see something on TV, ask them to read and find out one new thing about that animal or event or anything that interests them.
Discuss books: Take interest in what they are reading. Discuss later how the book has impacted them and what they have learnt. Over a period of time, you will see that they have developed a taste in books. Ask them why they like a particular author and what books they want to read next. Encourage them to talk about and exchange books among friends. In case, they seem disinterested, show them the pictures or diagrams or illustrations in the book instead. They might gradually take interest in reading the text too.
Ask them to write a line or two about the book in a letter to you or write the new words they learnt from the book or use those in words in writing. This also helps them to practice their writing skills. You can also encourage them to start their own blog, if they are interested.
External participation: Take the to a library periodically or encourage them to participate in reading or book clubs. Participate together in storytelling sessions where they encourage kids to read too, like probably next time they have to tell a story. Also motivate them to take part in elocution or extempore contents in school for which they are bound to read and prepare. Also teach them how to handle and manage books properly.
Few words of caution:
1) Make sure your kid is reading the right and appropriate material
2) Make sure they are not getting inappropriate reading material from other sources of over the Internet.
3) Make sure they do not use certain unparliamentary words, they might have mistakenly.
4) Make sure your child is positively impacted by what they read and not emotionally stressed.
Start TODAY by gifting your child a book to READ. Read and share together as will only increase the joy of reading. Read and learn TODAY for a better TOMORROW!
“I am an avid reader and read a variety of books, but still I get confused what book to buy for my kid. So, do a bit of research before giving a book to your child. Give them a good start so that they want to develop reading skills. An inappropriate book might have adverse effects.”