4 November 2013
One moment, you’re with Bubbles telling him not to eat too much sweets. The next moment, you’re the sparrow warning the forest animals of an impending thunderstorm and the next, you’re Pinkalicious growing pink from too much cupcakes. This is what the wonderful books are capable of: transporting you to different worlds and putting on different roles. And mummy is so glad that you love reading.
I can’t remember at what age did we start reading to you? Is it one or younger? But we’ve been buying books for you even when you’re a baby. And you know what, animal books with morals work best for you. You can learn to share or be co-operative or caring through the different animal characters. It’s better than nagging and drilling values into you.
And today, you amazed me by pulling me into your room and read “Purplicious” from the first word to the last with minimal help. Although we’ve been reading this book to you for a few months because you enjoyed it so much, it still came as a big surprise to see you pick up a book automatically and read. Mummy is so touched that I want to cry and you were beaming away with accomplishment.
Reading is the best gift you can give yourself. With it, you can read and solve anything, you can travel beyond 4 walls of a room and the pages of a book. You can experience emotions and lives beyond your realm of existence.
I took a video of you reading and posted it on facebook. It drew many “likes” and admiration from my friends. From teaching you how to read, I gathered five useful few tips:
1. Start young, even if you think the child don’t understand at 6 months. It’s a form of communication and vocabulary building. The act of seeing you read will cultivate the interest in the child too. They are actually absorbing these sights and sounds more than you and I think they are capable of.
2. Follow the interest of the child. Observe what the child like – animals? Dora? Thomas the train? Princesses? Buy books that have these characters in them will interest your child to pick up a book. Books with moral values are great for inculcation.
3. Allow free expression in the child. Children’s books are full of colourful visuals and sometimes the child gets hijacked by the illustrations and start talking about them. Instead of stopping them and directing back to the words of the book, let the child continue talking about the pictures. The key is to get them interested. Besides talking lets them express their vocabulary and creativity. I’m always impressed by the stories which Clarice improvised from the pictures. Sometimes, it may be better than the original storyline.
4. Know when to stop. If the child lose interest and starts to fidget or get-away, stop reading. The aim is to not to kill their interest. However, if the child starts moving around but still wants you to read, continue to do so. Clarice is like that sometimes. They are still paying attention even though they are not sitting still.
5. Be lively. Finally, having an animated voice which is capable of excitement, high pitch, low pitch, charming or angry voice helps to make the story come alive for the child. Reading is not a monotonous chore but a precious bonding time with a child and the best act you can do to impart him the skill of reading. Make time for it – be it bedtime, morning waking hours or in the car. It’s totally worth it and you’ll be dumbfounded when your child pick up a book and read aloud. You’ll be one proud parent and he/she will be one confident child.