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  • Writer's pictureThe Read Aloud Project

Tips on making a child enjoy books!

Hi, I love reading and I want to instill the habit of reading in my child too. How do I go about it?

What books should I start with? Could you share some recipe for enjoying books? Should we read daily? If yes, then how long? 

These are some of the voices that echo in my inbox almost daily. So that led me to document my 2 cents in a form of tips. These tips are tried and tested in my own household so I guarantee the authenticity of them.

Tip 1 - 

When you read the book, show the cover page to your child. If your cover page is not catchy or interesting, get a book which has lovely illustrations from your bookshelf. Take a minute from your reading and show them those pictures. Name the characters if the8re are any or make up the story of that cover page. Repeat this activity with them periodically. Ask them what are their names and what are they doing in this picture. Get them talking and bring animated expressions on your face. This will definitely get them attracted towards the print.

Tip 2 -

Children love to decide things. Be that clothes, color pencils or the toys they want to play with. Decision making starts at a very early age and it also gives a chance to explore options. They love to pick and choose their things which they are comfortable with. So why not extend their decision making to books? Let them pick the book they want to read or color. Let them have a first-hand authority on their choice of books. We can be an anchor to their choices. It is not mandatory to limit this approach to a book store alone instead we can use this in our households. Let them sit and run their minds over the pile. And decide and pick the book of their choice and make the reading time fun-filled. 

Tip 3 -

I am, by and large, a quiet fellow, averse to noisy people and noisy places, happiest when I 'm on my own in my small room with a book or a writing pad in front of me, and the window opening to the mountains and the rising sun. - Ruskin Bond in his book 'With love from the hills'

It was pleasant to take a hot drink up to her room and have it beside her as she sat in her silent room reading in the empty house in the afternoons. The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village. - Extract from Matilda

Both the descriptions give a setting which talks about pattern that exists in book reading. Toddlers, more than adults, love pattern. They get used to the sameness and attach importance to that in their everyday life. So choose the setting that is place and time for reading books. The convenient time is in your head so stop looking at the clock stuck in the wall. Choose any place in your house and sit with a book. Repeat the same thing daily. Over a period of time, they will follow this pattern and it becomes their daily necessary ritual in no time. Thereby, reading becoming an essential and vital part of their routine.

Tip 4 –

Language erases the barrier in a communication. The expression is registered in a memory if two individuals share the same language. It gets easier to say and feel when spoken in a language which is native to both the parties. Speakers of the same language not only recognise that they are speaking the same language but also comprehend each other. 

When you read to your child in your native language, it becomes easier for a child to decipher the meaning of the text more clearly and it reaches straight to his/her heart. Of course one cannot maintain grammar, punctuation or other orthography of the language in the speech but what matters most is the way one articulates. A mother explaining things her own way in the mother tongue using animated expressions and required pauses will send out a message more powerfully that reading out a text in a language that is foreign to both mother and child. 

These tips are hand-picked few from the set of tips of author's planned book - fun ways of making reading accessible to a child.

By Saranya Iyer

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