Sunday, July 9, 2006

Positive Habits for Children - The Joy of Reading

An uncle in the neighborhood stimulated my interest for books, when I was in fourth standard. Every Saturday he used to bring an Enid Blyton book. Sometimes the joy of books made me skip playing sessions. Today, I owe much of my knowledge of that uncle. Not all children ate as luck, which is why you should take your child into the world of books.

Begin by reading bedtime stories and you will soon see your child longing for the nights to come. Choose stories that have plenty of pictures, are about either children or animals. Open the book for them to see and relate to the characters in the book. Reading stirs up the child’s imagination, helps build up their vocabulary and enriches their understanding of the world around him.

You can even read to children below two years. Although they may not understand everything, you will see that they respond to your voice, relates to things they understands and is generally excited and sits glued to your lap.

When children old enough to read, buy comics, the Panchatantra tales or stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Then you could progress to Lad Bird, Harry Potter, Enid Blyton and the like. If child is old enough make it a habit to read the newspaper together. It’s not necessary to read only in the hall, get to the terrace, balcony, under a tree or the garden. The surroundings too add to the joy.

A small library is a must in the home. Start by browsing through the second-hand bookstalls on the pavements in the neighborhood. An encyclopedia is certainly recommended. Membership in a school or private library will go a long way in keeping him occupied when there’s time in hand.

Dramatize when you read, let your voice go up and down, use your hands frequently to portray the size of the animal being spoken about. This helps the child visualize and they will display a range of feelings wonder, anger, revulsion, joy etc…Teach them to visualize by asking to close their eyes and imagine the elephant bathing in the river. Can your child see the trunk pumping the water on the elephant’s back? Keep an eye on the child’s interest, if it wants shut the book and try anther activity.

KS Rajasekar