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Raise A Reader

We call it a day sharp at 8:30 in the night for the twins. The dinner is done, teeth brushed, pyjamas on, and the mosquito net is in place. And they are all set for their bedtime story reading before they drift off around 9.

Normally, it’s my better half who is the incharge of bed time routine for kids. However, yesterday he had a call scheduled and girls were in no mood to skip the story telling session so I had to take over. Half heartedly, I raced through couple of pages of their story book leaving the girls a little irked. I wanted to quickly make them sleep and rush back to my laptop to finish some work.

The twins dozed off quickly. I went back to my work with guilt swirling in my head. Let me confess I live with this guilt.

One dream that Anshul and I share is that our girls grow up to be avid readers. The addictive word of infinite scroll in digital devices is enchanting not only for adults but for kids as well.

To save them from drowning into the sea of passive content consumption, it’s important to develop the love of reading.

Books can be the only means to give wings to the beauty of imagination in kids. Motion pictures make everything readily available leaving no gaps to fill with own visualization.

To inculcate this reading habit in our kids we as parents need to make a consistent effort in this direction.

Sharing a few tips that might be of help.

1) To raise a reader, be a reader. Kids are very good at copying. If they see you picking up a book regularly they are more likely to do the same. A familiar saying recommends — more is caught, than taught. So all the doting moms if at all reading has slid back to the margins of your life, it’s the perfect time (and excuse) to bring it back.

2) Reading to your children (out and loud) is very important. Consistently, every day. It more fun when you make this activity two-way, i.e, we reading to kids and they explaining it back to us.

3) Surround the kids with the books. Have their books displayed in a room and make a reading corner for them. The books need to be visible to them to grab their attention.

4) You can also try re-reading a particular favourite book your kid loves (the current favourite in our home is Snail and the Whale) and let the kids summarize it for you to assess their understanding of the book.

5) Talking, talking and not stop talking to them would enhance their vocabulary. Narrating what we are doing to them in full sentences will expand their bag of words.

At my place we play a game together where we share a new word every day with them. We learn 5 new words a week and then we try to use those words in our conversations with them. Once they start using those words convincingly we move on to the next set.

All I want to say is that if we are able to develop this one habit in our kids it will automatically take care of a lot of other crucial aspects of their lives ahead.

So on this World Book day, let’s decide to keep making an attempt to gift our kids a friend — the reading habit — that will be with them forever.