Frankly, there is no one formula to raise children. Each child is different and we all know that! Yet, we adults compare our children with others with regards to achieving milestones – eating, sleeping, reading, writing, and so on.
Here, I will talk about reading story books! Yes, not all children have an interest in books and it should not be forced because we want them to read books. Having said that, books if introduced at an early stage is definitely an advantage in the long run!
My association as a teacher with a popular kindergarten in Bangalore helped me develop an interest in children’s storybooks and how it supports their development. I began to buy storybooks from the local stores in my city and gifted a stash of books to my 2.5 years old nephew back then. Every day, we sat down for our story time and read out the same 4-5 picture books. Translating the words in our mother tongue, simple and easy words to recollect and their repetition helped him connect to the books instantly. Eventually, he started to come to me with those books after his outdoor play. We had a fixed time and space for reading books.
I gradually added a few more books and as he grew bigger and joined kindergarten, he was compelled to communicate in English and he did not like it a bit! I then started reading the same old stories in English and he would understand as he already knew the storyline and did not need an explanation. He would often ask me to use our mother tongue and I would do so but continued English until he was comfortable. He then learned phonics and started recognizing words in the storybooks, he eventually read all the books on his own and that is when we got him a large collection of books! Today, he is 9 years old and loves sports more than books 🙂
With my daughter, we introduced picture books when she was 9 months old and she instantly loved the pictures and could associate words/sounds with pictures in the story book. She is 15 months now and continues to enjoy us reading books to her in our mother tongue. When we are not around, she flips through the pages herself during the day and tries to repeat certain sounds with the pictures she sees. Our usual story time would be just after her dinner time. Board books like Pooni, Pooni Where Are You? are also some favourite first reads with little ones.
There are numerous ways to introduce books to little children. Do try what worked for me and let me know if it helped. Tweak as you go along to suit what you and your baby are comfortable with.
You may introduce picture books, books with simple vocabulary, content which children can relate to their day to day surroundings, books which have rhythmic lines, and so on. I’ve included some favourites recommended by parents on the MLB Circle of Parents community:
- Golu, the Golden Fish
- Lunch Friends
- I Love Rain
- Junior Kumbhakarna
- Ammachi’s Glasses
- Sunu Sunu Snail – Storm In The Garden
- And every little one’s favourite – The Gajapati Kulapati series
Using props like the My Little Bookshop finger puppets, wooden animals or wooden peg dolls will help you enhance story times with your little ones in a really creative way. Also, our Story Kits are another fun option to try out with children. Bringing stories alive in your own way will create priceless one-of-a-kind experiences for your child. So do not hold yourself back, read aloud to your child, laugh together at the stories, and make memories for a lifetime.