If you have been part of any kids’ reading group, you’ll be amazed at the variation among kids as far reading is concerned. Some kids are voracious readers, often finishing several books a week. Some treat books as if they were vermin of the lowest order. And there are some who will read nothing but Geronimo Stilton or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Moms being moms, of course, want their kids to become avid readers, reading a wide variety of books. As one who has raised one such kid (see her book recommendations here), let me bust some myths and offer a few tips.
Myth 1: Reading is educational. To kids (and to most adults) reading is more about entertainment than education. They read because it is fun, not because it will help them become smarter.
Myth 2: Reading is for introverts. Among kids, reading is an extremely social activity. They discuss and bond over books. There’s hardly any correlation between reading and introversion.
Myth 3: Books can make my kid learn to eat properly / behave properly / <insert any desirable behaviour>. Books are just a medium (an awesome one, though). They can’t replace parenting.
And now, for some tips.
Tip 1: Children become readers in the laps of their parents. Buying ten books cannot substitute for actually reading just one to your child. Take out the time to read to them. And they’ll start reading with you.
Tip 2: Reading CAN compete with television. Remember, reading is entertainment. To kids, entertainment is all about experience. They love Dora or Doraemon because they indirectly share their experiences. Books offer a much better way to share these experiences because they don’t constrain kids’ fertile imagination. You just need to ignite the spark by reading to them.
Tip 3: What constitutes a good book is an extremely personal choice. What your kid likes need not be one of your favourites. Let them choose, and defer to their choices. Some kids like variety, while some prefer to finish one series before moving on to another. Don’t worry either way. Every kid moves past Geronimo Stilton. Eventually.
Tip 4: (This might seem counter-intuitive). Occasionally, threaten to curtail reading time if the kid has been naughty. This dramatically increases the desirability of reading. After all, every kid in the world wants more anything that mommy rations out.
About the Author
Aanchal Suri is the Co-Founder and CEO of bookle.in – India’s first online bookstore for kids. Bookle offers a wide variety of used children’s books imported from the UK at affordable prices. Aanchal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.