Reading, a way of life: Instilling Reading habit in your Children

 “To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

-Victor Hugo, French Writer

Reading is a very essential habit, culture and a way of life that every parent must cultivate in their children. “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” is a famous quote of the English playwright Joseph Addison. Reading not only refreshes mind and keeps it active but also helps the children see a new world, sharpens their insights about things around and nurtures curiosity to keep them learning and growing. Whatever their age might be, whatever their personal interests/skills might be, instilling the “love for reading” in them is an important responsibility of a parent.

This article does not intend to say that kids these days do not learn. They in fact learn more since technology is accessible. “But do their reading pattern show a change?” is an important question to ponder upon. Do they really need to make reading as a habit? If then how are we as parents going to deal with it?

While Social media has become the primary source of information for the new age kids, it has really widened their spectrum of knowledge. Without denying the significance of this process of modern knowledge accumulation, one will also have to look at the negative sides of it to understand how it has deviated from the traditional system of learning. As we all know how information is capsuled in the form of tidbits and served in the social media, kids are accustomed to knowing things in a superficial way which in turn affects their critical thinking and analysis skills. They grow up being anxious and restless making them devoid of a consistent research behavior. When they are made to believe that information is just a “finger-tap” away, their perseverance and curiosity to build knowledge fades away.

On the other hand, when reading (other than what he/she browses or skims through online) becomes a habit, it will have a vital effect on the child’s behavior. Reading develops the child’s mind and its ability to imagine/create. It instils curiosity in young minds. When we are into a book, we are made to imagine the characters, locality, the underlying meanings of phrases. We step into the shoes of the author, or often critically evaluate what the author might have meant. While reading being a process, there are several ways one would adopt it based on our innate skills and interests. Since reading helps children understand on what someone else is communicating, they also eventually become good listeners, which most of the kids these days find difficult to. Reading enhances their sense of empathy towards others around. When reading becomes a consistent habit, the child’s concentration power is enhanced as well. The child becomes aware that knowledge accumulation and production is more than mere information gathering and it requires more commitment and effort.

Hence, the significance of reading should be emphasized by parents. And there are some interesting tips to make reading a fun activity in households. :

  • Understand your kid’s interests, skills and make a list of appropriate books.
  • Make a list each month and ensure that at least 20 pages are read per day.
  • Reading together makes the activity much more interesting. Read along with the family. Make a specific reading time. It also helps you all bond together.
  • Enroll your kid in a local library or a book club. Book clubs can be formed with the kid’s friends in the neighborhood. That helps them all build a sense of community as well.
  • Spend money on books and tools that aid reading: Tablets, eBook readers, Journals, Mobile apps etc.
  • Be a role model yourself. Read regularly. Inspire your kid on what reading actually means and the pleasure it can provide.

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