How do you get kids to read?
Hey! What’s up? Friends?
Since childhood, I have been trying to be friends with ‘BOOKS’. Well, I’m friends with them but may not be their best friend.
My mentor always said, “Reading is a must. Always look up a dictionary when you come across a difficult word.”
My creative writing trainer said, “Reading is necessary to write well.”
Time and again I have consciously tried to inculcate this habit sometimes by choice and a few times by force. I love getting lost in someone else’s story, which is clearly why I am a movie buff too. Somehow, with books, I could not stay in touch.
I tried different tricks. My best friend who is an avid reader came to my rescue a few times. I asked my other friend who is a bookstore owner to keep track and give me deadlines. I fixed a time frame, made mind maps to somehow accommodate reading in my day. It worked sometimes but not always. Kindle didn’t help either.
Every time I finished a book, the procrastinator in me said, “Oh! Actually I’ve not been able to find a new book worth reading.”
I deliberately picked different genres to keep the interest alive. When I began meditation, spiritual books caught my eye. Books to deal with children which is my primary work drew me. The philosopher in me always enjoyed non-fiction. The ‘adventurous me’ liked thrillers. I also took aid to admire my idols through their autobiographies & biographies. To my delight, this worked. Now, I always have a book in my bag.
If books don’t attract you, you attract them. They give access to experiences, memories, stories and a new world.
But how do we get the kids to read?
If they are constantly pressurized, they won’t touch them. Let it flow as a part of their lifestyle, not their ‘must do’s routine chores’.
Sometimes the right ambience does the trick. A designated reading area, their personal mini library with stuffed friends, kiddie bookmarks and comfy seating make up for the perfect setting.
Reading doesn’t mean just out of books. Encourage it anywhere and everywhere. For instance, menu cards, hoardings on roads, names of stores, instructions on games etc. For younger kids, recognizing a shape, a logo and a letter is also reading.
Children love imitating. Be their idol. Discuss what you are reading. Ask about their experience. You can also have a parent-baby reading adventure. Encourage them to gift books to their friends and family.
Introduce them to different genres. Let them choose. Help them read. Sometimes children refrain, as they can’t read. Don’t be pushy. Introduce ‘role play’ where a teacher reads to a child. Let them imitate and enact their favorite characters.
You’ll have a passionate reader who finds reading rejuvenating and not boring.
So, Loosen up! Read and let read!