Which Books Should Your Child Read? For Beginners
Posted in Learning & Development on Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
“Children don’t read books anymore” – this is a common lament of most parents, elders and teachers these days. However, it is wrong to blame children entirely. We are the bigger culprits. Aren’t we all so caught up with our lives that we constantly rely on instant, ready-to-consume things such as television, fast-food, video games, and internet games/movies?
We as parents, introduce the many gadgets to our little ones right from their infancy so that they can be ‘occupied’ while we are trying to send one of those important mails, preparing next quarter’s strategy, cooking or finishing off our chores. Be honest, how often do you do this?
Reading is a habit that can be easily inculcated in children very early on. All that you need to do are:
• Have a scheduled time (howsoever short) every day for reading
• Read the right type of books depending on your child’s age
• Encourage your child to touch, see and flip through the pages of her book. This will breed familiarity.
In a two-part series, we will discuss how to choose the right book for your child. In this present article, we help you with an age-wise listing for the beginners:
For Infants – 6 months to 1 year: At this stage when your child has just started crawling, manages to hold things somewhat, can recognise basic things like lights, fans, etc, you need to get her simple picture books. Book-shops have plenty of those hard-bound books with card-board pages with one/two picture(s) per page of fruits, animals, flowers etc. Try to connect the pictures with real life things – show her that the apple in her book is the same as the one on the dining table, her ball or the bird in the garden looks like the one in her book. Once your baby gets acquainted with these, buy books that show different colours, shapes, fruits, vegetables, flowers, automobiles etc.
For Little Toddlers – 1 to 2 years: This is when you can buy books with lots of beautiful illustrations but those that have one simple line per page. Examples are – books on Winnie the Pooh, Phonics that teach sound and pronunciation, Pepper, Noddy books that teach manners etc. Idea is to have simple story-ideas with creative illustrations that fire up your child’s imagination. Simple stories spanning just 5-6 pages such as Meg and her Pet, The Cats and their Friends, Pepper’s Birthday Party, will familiarise your child with things around her and get her interested in more books.
During the pre-primary Years – Upto 5 years: At this stage, your child understands simple but complete sentences. So why not introduce her to the lovely and rich Indian tales of Panchatantra, Lord Krishna and his Friends, Tales from the different states of India? This is also the stage where you can read them the picture versions of your own favourite fairy tales such as Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, etc. Remember to still buy picture books with about 7-8 pages because children relate to pictures first.
Primary Years – Between 5 to 7 years: Even now, your child cannot read entirely on her own. But you will find that she likes longer stories with a few pictures here and there. Now is the time to buy the good old Enid Blytons or stories of elves, pixies, giants, meadows, magical mountains etc. Do delve into India’s treasure house of stories too. Choose editions written for children of epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Introduce historical figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Kalidasa and Valmiki. Panchatantra charms them even now. The key is to look for stories that are maximum 15 pages long and see how your child sits through the length of it imploring you to complete the story.
Make sure that you do not confine her to books written in English language only. India is rich in her tradition and literature. So if you can read/write vernacular/regional languages too, buy books in that language and introduce your child to your mother-tongue early on. Nothing beats the joy of having your child know her own roots and literature. What do you say?