“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein
― Albert Einstein
Yes, it is indeed Einstein who said this about reading and fairy tales. It may seem surprising, to think that one of the greatest scientific minds in the world is recommending fairy tales, but it is true.
To introduce your children to the magical world of books, you don’t need to wait for them to start reading on their own. You can read to them today, now! Pick up a book and read-a-loud to your little children, it will be the most amazing bonding experience ever. Personally, as a parent, I have been reading to my child since she was 0 years old. Children love listening to your voice and enjoy the intimacy of the experience. Try Black and White! by Bianca Lucas, a fun board book in the first colors that babies can see, Black and White. Tulika board books, with their bright illustrations and sing-song style, are also great for little children : Akkad, Bakkad, Dosa Amma Dosa . Frankly, for children below the age of 1, any book with bright colorful illustrations will be perfect. Even if the book has an elaborate story line, children will love it, because remember, the point is to give them your time and a chance to explore new colors, sounds/words, textures.
As children cross the age of one, you can read them books with simple story lines. A very popular book for toddlers is The Very Hungry Caterpillar . It was my child’s favorite book when she was little.
Please remember, you MUST read and re-read story books to children.
The thought that children will get bored of hearing the same story again and again is not true. It is the adults who may get bored of reading the same book multiple times, but children enjoy it. Every time you read the same book, it gives children a chance to be an active participant in your story time. They get a sense of accomplishment and excitement to complete the sentence for you, tell you what happens next in the story and they will even be able to recognize words by sight, which will help them as they progress into early reading. I have read Gajapati Kulapati, over a 100 times since the time my child was 2 years old. She loves that book and was very quickly able to narrate the entire story and relate to all the words. Remember, it isn’t always about the quantity of books, it is also about how much time your child spends each book. Of course, there are times when I fall asleep half way through a book during bedtime (I would have already read it three-four times in the same night), but trust me, the effort is all worth it! Every night my child and I, read 2-3 books at bedtime. We may read different books or the same books for an entire week. Enjoy the process, discuss the pictures, talk to them and involve them in the stories.
Besides bedtime, another good time to spend reading could be meal times. Instead of TV and YouTube, read to your child during meals. You don’t have to necessarily carve out any “special” time everyday for reading, you can mix it in as part of your daily activities.
I feel “level readers” don’t really matter when it comes to reading aloud to your child. Once your child has developed a habit of listening to stories you can read out longer stories, all depending on how much they can comprehend, with you explaining new words and their context. My child is now 5 and a book we enjoyed reading recently was a Level 3 book Dipa Karmarkar – In perfect Balance by Tulika. She was very excited to hear about India’s star gymnast. If you go by the levels, her reading skills don’t fit the criteria for this level, but she did enjoy it all the same. If you understand your child’s ability to grasp storylines, then any level book is fine based on their ability. Don’t let any generalizations about levels stop you from trying out a new book with your child and always remember every child is different irrespective of them being the same age.
Though level readers don’t matter for read-a-loud story time, it is perfect to help children who have just started learning to read, to gain confidence in reading alone/assisted reading (with support). Fat Cat on a Mat , is one such fun book for children who are learning to identify and read three letter words. As they grow older and can confidently read alone, then their options are endless as to what titles to choose.
We want children of every age to experience and enjoy the joy of books and it is with this vision, that we welcome you to this library, My Once Upon A Time. Let us kickstart and continue this journey with your little ones into the magical world of words. See you around!