I was following the comments on an article ‘How to teach your child love reading’ posted in the writing group on FB. As I was about to add my comment I thought I had more than just a comment to say and so thought of penning it in this post. When I said I wanted to say more I absolutely didn’t mean providing any solution- just sharing my personal experience of coming across a wonderful joy of life. Today, the challenges are quite different.
I’m an alright reader. Had I been born in any other home I would have stayed away from books. I stay away from anything that looks like an intelligent stuff. But books were fun, were introduced as fun. Family dinner outings in my childhood had two high points that was food and books. While my father purchased his read he let us hover on the children books at the book stall. He didn’t buy for us; we chose the books and chose mostly comics or anything with fascinating title and pictures. The dining was temporary happiness which would have made our hearts heavy on our way back home if it weren’t for books, they consoled and promised that end of this evening didn’t mean end of all the fun.
However it wasn’t in overnight that I got interested in them. In more younger days I remember how my father had bought a Chandoba (Chandamama in Marathi) which looked like a heavy read then. It could be because I went to English medium and though we spoke Marathi at home I wasn’t used to Marathi script. For more than a year I have just looked at pictures of Chandoba and instead of taking trouble to read the story I made up stories for myself trying to explain the pictures –the characters and overall scene. I’m thankful to my father for he never asked any updates on Chandoba he had bought!!!
Comics were easier and helped me read and then I slowly started reading Chandoba by finishing first the stories that had appealed more (short were sweet). I did finish reading the whole magazine one day and needless to mention here that all the stories turned out to be quite different then mine with same pictures….
I don’t remember my father extensively preaching us to read, he adopted a smarter way instead. Yes, the picture of him absorbed in reading did make us curious about what was he deep into. But then I’m reminded of a dear friend who never developed any interest in reading despite her mother being a well known writer. My father shared the parts that tickled his funny bone and read it aloud; his sudden outburst of laughter while reading them would make us eager to know. I feel wit crosses the barrier of age difference, a child’s mind works fast to grasp the amusement and hence to hand a humorous book to a child is the best way to help him/her read.
It is something like ‘give them fishing rod’ but also let them see how you are having a blast with that fishing rod. Helping your child read book will do both – determine and establish a close bonding within the family.