Vasudha Gulati is a parent of a teenage daughter, a teacher and a writer. Vasudha says that her daughter used to love reading when she was younger. But as she grew up homework took precedence and now she reads very little. We had a heartfelt conversation with Vasudha about this. She told us how she is trying to over come this problem. Our resident expert, Shipra Parikh, has also shared some interesting solutions every household can use to develop a healthy reading habit in their children.
Let's find out what Vasudha and Shipra have to say.
Ready? Read. Play. Go!
A Conversation with Vasudha Gulati
Us: Why does your daughter read less frequently than she used to?
Vasudha: The pressure of school work has increased. Tuitions and homework take up a lot of her time. So, the time left for leisurely reading has decreased considerably. Moreover, she prefers unwinding with gadgets rather than a book. She says that reading is not entertaining anymore as it feels like extra work after all the reading that she has to do for school assignments and exams.
Us: How are you dealing with this problem?
Vasudha: Whenever I observe that there is a phase where her interest in reading is diminishing, I read to her. We pick up a book of her choice and I read a few chapters to her at a time. Then, I ask her to read a few by herself. We proceed this way until we finish the book.
Us: Has this approach helped?
Vasudha: Yes! She enjoys being read to as it is more relaxing for her rather than undertaking the task of reading by herself. It keeps her interest in reading alive. We discuss the book together. It is our mother-daughter bonding time.
Strategies that can help children keep up the enthusiasm for reading
Shipra Parikh, our In-house early reading expert, recommends the following:
- It is a good idea to have a family circle time. Each member contributes something about what he/she might have read during the week. Invite thoughts, ideas and opinions. For example, a parent shares an excerpt from a book that he/she is reading or even a newspaper/magazine article or poem. The others (including the child) are asked to give their perspectives and views on it.
- Subscribe to a magazine that interests your child. Pick up conversation topics from the articles in the magazine. This way, the entire family gets involved in what the child is reading and the child is motivated to keep reading.
- Let your child read purely for entertainment like reading graphic novels, comics, manga etc. Research suggests that many children lose interest in reading as they grow because they are required to read books that are of high literary value. Schools and parents dissuade children from reading content that is purely entertaining. However, it has been observed and recorded that children who have performed well in reading assessments are those who have read primarily for fun. The content of books matters but we should not pressurise children to read high-quality content at the cost of them losing interest in reading altogether.
- A balance of different types of reading material is the key to keep the interest in reading piqued. Keep different kinds of books at the child’s bedside, maybe two of your choice and three of his/hers. Chances are that the child will eventually pick up the book of your choice and ask being read to!