Anuradha Kaistha is the mother of two teenage sons. While her elder son took to reading very early, her younger son was more of a reluctant reader.
Let's find out how Anuradha helped her son discover the wonders of reading.
"It is never too late to read to your child."
I work with children to help develop their reading and writing skills and write a little myself. My passion to work with children stemmed out of my role as a mother, a role that ultimately took precedence over everything else. I have two grown up teenage boys. However, I vividly recall the most joyful learning experiences with them in their earlier years.
One such experience was with my younger son when I wanted to get him to start reading. I have always loved and cherished reading. Like all parents, I also wanted my children to imbibe the essential reading habit. My son, who is now 14, started reading early but I couldn’t get him to pick books out of his own will and enjoy them. When he was in grade 3, I decided that I needed to do something about it before it was too late. I had an idea. I had always read to him at bedtime. I thought to myself, “Why not make it a daily activity and do some fun things with it?”
I began by reading a few chapters at a time from Charlotte’s Web, the beautiful and endearing book about friendship and love. He would often ask me questions about the characters and story, and I answered them enthusiastically. My reading helped him understand the story better and visualize it with ease. I then encouraged him to read a few chapters by himself. Slowly he began to master the art of reading for pleasure. He learnt to journey along with the characters and the story came alive for him.
We even did a few extension activities like drawing the characters, writing adjectives to describe them, crossword puzzles and other craft activities. The internet was full of ideas of fun activities around books. He began to see the magic in reading. This was truly a turnaround experience for my son. It was a fascinating adventure for both of us. After that, there was no looking back and he has read his fair share of fiction till date. I was so pleased with my experiment and its results that I have recommended this strategy to many parents in my circle since.
8 years have passed but reading to my son still works! I want my son to start reading non-fiction and start developing a world view like all young adults should. Taking a cue from my old endeavour, I have begun to read “I am Malala” to him. To my surprise and delight, he still enjoys being read to. The sensational story about a young girl who stood up for girls’ right to education against the Taliban and became a messiah of hope and peace around the world really struck a chord with him. I feel that he understands her life story much better when he has me to discuss it with. We enjoy our sacrosanct time reading together. I have just realized that it is also a great way to bond with teen aged children. It is true when they say that it is never too late to read to your child!
Our reading journey continues along new paths and brings newer discoveries each day.