Read what you love until you love what you read

Author : Lakshmi Satish

. . . an interesting poster that has stuck with me ever since I saw it someday, sometime on the Internet!

How do I get my child to get interested to even look at a book? How can I get my child started on reading? Frequently asked questions from parents and teachers when we do reading sessions with them.

I have found books about children and their own experiences the most captivating materials to start reading with them. Children love to see their pictures and read about themselves. They are keen to listen to the narrative of these stories – whether being told to them or read to. Many parents who write their children’s stories as their primary reading material often share that they find the children being able to pick up on whole lot of things related to reading – they read whole words more naturally than other methods, they understand what they read or listen to, they reflect on the day’s happenings, become more self-aware and so on. They are most importantly motivated to handle a book and read.  Interestingly, these books, because they are about children themselves, have a gamut of emotions and situations that provide the fodder for any well written story. Fiction or non-fiction, fantasy or realistic – all genres are covered in their experiences. We can use these to get children to think about people, things, situations, emotions, etc.

“Amma can you write about our cab ride today - how it broke down and how I got upset?” Sushil asked his mother one day. He prompted her to finish the story by giving her a changed ending. From that day on he would experiment with changing one aspect of what really happened with something different, sometimes with something silly and funny. And that is how a writer was born from this whole experience. Today, Sushil has many many books that he has co-authored with his mother. He illustrates them too. He reads other story books and non-fiction too presently, but his favourites are the ones that are based on his life scripts.

So how does one go about making these books? Take photos of children - during trips; at play; during their routines; during their favourite activities, etc. and make a booklet, with the picture stuck on one page and corresponding text written on the facing page, and so on for all pictures in sequence. Texts can vary from: very simple to complex based on the language level of the child; descriptive to narrative; first person to third person, etc. Children progress beautifully from reading about their own experiences to reading about others.

And then it’s a whole new world of books and more books.

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