Best gift you can give your child!

As a child is born in the family, everyone in the family starts thinking about giving the best for the child. Be it the bedding, dress, doctor, food, friends, school, art exposure etc. But do you know the best gift parents can give the child? “Love of Reading”.
Reading is the key to learning. It opens the door of the world they haven’t seen yet. Here are the ways and means to help you give this best gift to your child.

Starting Early:
At just few months of age when the child can sit upright, an infant can look into the picture, listen to your voice and associate the mapping. Initially, when you start reading to the child, the child may cooperate for less time, may be 2 to 3 mins. But when we do the same activity of reading books everyday at a particular point of the day, the child will slowly get hooked to the books and starts looking forward for the reading time. Slowly this 2 or 3 mins can increase to even 15 to 30 mins.
As they are in the sensitive period for language learning, they get hooked to the human voice and picks up the words we use while reading the books so easily and associate it to the pictures or objects they have seen.

As a parent we have so many important activities in a day to take care of the child. But it is equally important to include reading time in that. Scheduling time for reading with your child will bring in that order in the child as well your routine. Once the order is set in the child, they will be bringing you the book and demand you to read aloud for them. Please understand that this child is having the hunger for language now and as parents we must feed them on time.

How to read:

1. Infants: This child is hungry for sounds. So read anything to them in a very slow pace. Try to choose a book with one picture in a page. You can show that picture and read what is printed as well keep talking about the picture on details what a child can relate to. This child is ready to pick up only nouns at this stage. So be specific and clear in the nouns you use. For eg: If a Dog picture is printed on the page, Please refer it as “Dog” instead of using baby language like “ Bow Bow” or “Tho Tho”.

2. Toddlers: This child is now comfortably moving. To make a toddler sit in a place, one of the easiest magic wands is “Reading”. This child now has words(nouns). He is also looking for more details about things he already knows. You can choose picture books or even short stories. You can either read the printed text or give your own narration on the story/picture. But it is important we stick to a language. Translation during reading is not required. The child can absorb the language you offer as it is. It is important you frame sentences as you flip the book. Eg: “This is an apple”, “This is a banana” etc. instead of just saying “Apple”, “Banana” etc.

So, give the language beautifully using the help of the books. He may demand you to read a particular book over and again that might be a little boring activity for you. But remember he is the child who climbs up and down the stairs tirelessly as he started walking. So, repetition is very important at this age to quench their thirst for their development. Don’t worry about introducing variety of books to your child, if he is interested only in selected books. He is still enjoying reading.

3. Threes and Fours: The child can comfortably talk framing sentences now. He is interested in books for more stories. His reproductive imagination is at play now. If you read about a white cat climbing into the hall through the window, the child can imagine this scene in his mind even if the picture is not printed in the book. So, it is important we read slowly for this child to follow on every detail of your reading. Please avoid questioning the child in the middle about their understanding of the story. After finishing the book, leave the child dwell in the story for a while. Children may not ask any question or discuss about the story immediately. Sometimes, children will come back to you after couple of days, with the discussion on the story when you least expect it.

4. Five to Seven: Most of the children explode into independent reading at this age. As parents, we will be interested in reading the book for the child with an intension to help their reading. Please move your finger slowly under the word you are reading making sure the child gets the sight of the word read. Continue to read out loud not expecting them to participate in reading. More reading will aid them in their sight words. But they may not be comfortable to read until they are really ready for it. It is important for us to continue with their interest towards reading books than helping them in self reading.

5. At any age beyond 7 years, if the child request you to read out loud for them, don’t push them back asking them to read by themselves. Just be with them to quench their thirst for reading. You can introduce informative books to the child along with story books.
A book is a gift you can open again and again. So, encourage your child to choose books for gifting his friends. Also, you find opportunities to gift books to your child.
A regular trip to library and encouraging them to borrow books is the next milestone. Having set this preparation with your child, you have introduced your child into the world of books in a guided way. Am sure this child is now all set to immerse himself in any book he comes across.

Happy Reading!!


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