love to read, but my child doesn't!"
Sound familiar ?
Well, you need not be the one saying it anymore. I've been interacting
with children for five years now, having worked in a school library
and freelance, conducting workshops in reading
enrichment - and I have realized that all it takes is a few inputs
from you, to get your child interested.
Here goes then : Give your child a model to imitate. You probably
read while the child is asleep, or in school, but that way your child
doesn't see you and can't emulate you. So, be seen holding
a book, reading it, getting excited about it. Quote passages or narrate
incidents to your child or spouse.
some time reading with your child. A good rule of thumb is - at least
fifteen minutes a day, five times a week, spent exclusively reading
and talking about what's in the book. Clarify values,
non-judgmentally as far as possible.
Like : Loyalty v/s. honesty: the character saw his best friend
cheat - should he tell teacher? You'll be surprised at the
insights your youngster comes out with, given half a chance.
If you can, take your child to bookshops. Give him/her a budget, discuss
the choice of books. I've seen kids as young as six understand what
a budget is, and stick to it. It's best not to buy expensive books
for your children - you shouldn't be saying, "Be careful with that
book!" so often that your child gets put off books completely. I've
got scribbles or food stains on all my first books, and today I bristle
if anyone so much as dog-ears a book. A kid who loves books can be
taught how to care for them at a later stage.
absolute non-readers, start with non-fiction. He likes cricket? Fine.
There are several books and magazines on the game and the players.
Usually, non-readers consider reading 'stories' a waste of time. So
hook them with something that's not a waste of time, according
Actually, a subscription to any magazine in the child's name gives
the child a feeling of receiving something that's "mine" in the mail,
and that can just turn the key!
Making the child feel the book is "mine" really helps. A rubber-stamp
with "LIBRARY OF PRANAV" is a conversation piece! And giving books
as presents/prizes/return gifts during parties is a good way to
get the peer group interested as well.
Parents, the reading habit is not dying out. I've seen nine-year-olds
fighting over a copy of "Black Beauty", and a two-year-old sleeping
with her favourite book under the pillow. All it takes is a little
tap in the right direction, from you.