Monday, January 21, 2013

Books and children
''Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.'' (John Ruskin,Sesame and Lillies(1865)). What Ruskin told us  some 150 years back is still valid.Don't you think? How many of us feel so proud and happy that such and such book has made so much of  an impression that it is etched into our souls. A school textbook,an article from a magazine,an Enid Blyton's story , a Jane Austen's novel  or even a grandma's lullaby ,anything that has taught us something ,taught us to understand the  intricacies of life.We all understand the value of books don;t we? We all know how it contributed to our growth as a person. But before I move on further ,I want to make sure I convey this message that when I talk about books adding value to our lives   the value is to our soul alone  and nothing monetory.

What makes me feel sad today is that books have taken a backbench in a child's life.The advent of technology has eased our life no doubt but it has robbed us of our books. Tablet games, Playstations are fun but how much value can they add in the long run? Children see gadgets as a toy rather than a learning tool , which is very natural considering their maturity level.A book is not that complicated.A book is a book. The child needs a real book with real pages.The joy of doing naughty things like Dennis ,to fly on a carpet like Alddin,to see  beautiful Snow White , or to listen to Pied Piper's addictive music .Has your child experienced all these?We have ,when we were children. I remember taking so many book from the library during the summer holidays and literally devouring them.
So what can a book do to a child anyway. Ok I am no expert in children psycholgy but I feel a book will add dash of imagination to a child's mind.He/she will be able visulaise what the author writes in the book and enter the magical world of the book.This also helps them understand what's real and what's not. Reading a story to the child from a book and making him co-relate the pictures and words is a fruitful exercise. The child understands words in pictures. What a fantastic teaching that is .Today the same concept is used in presentations, White Papers etc. A picture is worth a thousand words indeed!. The books meant for learning to read definitely help the child to start reading earlier.The Encyclopaedias are a life-long treasure for a child. They can easily match what they see in real life to the book. How about newspapers? The science and technology section and children's sections are worth a shot.

But can the child do all this alone? NO. He needs our help. The parents and guardians around the child should make time for reading books . We need to sit with the child and first assure him that we are also part of the wonderful book reading journey. Once the child is secure he will pay attention to us. When this becomes a habit the child automatically will read and show interest towards reading.Buy a book as a gift to the child. Toys are good but books are good too. They are the best gift we can give to a child. Put in a effort to select a book by the age group and what may add value to the child in future. Read bedtime stories to the child.The activity not only strengthens parent child relationship but also makes a place in the child's heart .Read-aloud books are fantastic in terms of their simplicity and age -appropriateness. There are many libraries  today which deliver book at doorstep. Browse a book for your child and get it delivered.The child will love it when a book comes all the way to him ! It will rouse his interest.Try it!

Sometimes parents tend to feel they maybe burdening the child if they introduce the child to books which may seem high level.But don't let this deter you.Every piece of information is worth sharing with your child.Nothing is too difficult or small for him.The child sees the information as information only.His  virtue of judgement is still raw hence the child absorbs whatever information we give him in its original form without attaching anything too it. A sample of this is ,my son could tell all planet's name and even their moons at the age of three. And boy how he enjoyed the journey of "space".The book which made him learn all this was a "3D planet book". He still loves it.

So go ahead and grab a book and let your child enter the world of "bookdom" and  watch how it can add value to his life.A stepping stone in his life!All the best.

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