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Values & Education

On Reading

Some time ago, I was with my kids at the park and was discussing with a fellow mother about her daughter’s birthday party. I was generally asking her what she’d prefer as a gift for her six year old daughter’s birthday.

Reading For Kids - Parenting

She kept rattling out ideas like puzzles, board games, dolls, accessories, shiny bags and some such. I gave up midway and asked her if her daughter would prefer books. As a rule, I generally gift books to most of the kids unless there is a specific request by the parent. The mother was okay per se with the book idea but she was doubtful if her husband would approve of it. He asks her not to read to her child and torture the kid by reading books.  My reaction was shock; because I’ve generally not seen someone not approve of reading books. From when did reading become torturous is something I fail to comprehend even now.

For us in our home, reading is a fun activity. The moment I say ‘switch off the TV’, the kids come running to me each with a book in their hand. (Sometimes even a couple in each hand!) Which means, books in the kids’ minds, rank right next to the television. Oh yes.. We are trying to get rid of the screen time completely which is happening at a pretty gradual pace. I digress.

Why do I love books and reading over anything else including technology? One, it is fun like nothing else. Just look at it. There are groups of alphabets which are stringed into sentences. You read them; give it colour with your imagination and voila.. you can actually visualize a story in your minds. And, these visuals are not the same to everyone who reads/ listens to a story. Which is why, I believe that books provide the creativity while the other technology provides just entertainment.

Studies point out that aggressive behaviour in children can be attributed to increased TV viewing time. Now, what can be a possible remedy to calm them down is, of course, reading to them. Reading increases concentration. Reading builds communication skills. Reading helps the kids unravel the mystery of language. Reading makes children think logically. Reading provides newer experiences in children. Reading helps them perform better academically.

My kids, although five, are still not taught to read by themselves. So, it has to be either the husband or me, who have to sit through and read out their books of preference every day(and night!) Now, this sort of a family time cannot be gotten while watching the television or playing on the iPad. We read and talk and laugh throughout the half or one hour time that is dedicated to reading. More than the kids, I look forward to these reading sessions because I feel connected to my kids more during such times.

So well.. Although the parent thinks reading is a torture inflicted upon his daughter, I have made up my mind to prolong that torture by gifting a book to that kid. After all, like Dr.Suess puts it – The more you read, the more you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go!

Indu is a dreamer by nature; a (former) chartered accountant by profession; and a writer by passion. Her life right now, revolves around her four year old twin boy and girl. The two naughty siblings love to play their pranks on her every day, making her both smile and wince at once. She loves to leave a trail of her life at her blog