A child who reads

235x96_top-indivine-post“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”- Albert Einstein

fairy tale
Image Courtesy: A glimpse of Paradise

Does your child love to read? Are you surprised that your child has an aversion to reading even though books are your life? It isn’t surprising that kids don’t get attracted towards words when you consider other options like playing. As a child I loved playing with other kids than being cooped in a house with a book. My transformation from indifference to books to loving to read was a miracle devised by parents’ careful planning. My parents inclined me towards reading without forcing me or putting a stop to my outdoor activities.

Frankly, reading isn’t the only way of learning, some kids learn better with experiments and observation than they can ever learn through reading. Still, I feel every child needs to like reading though he may never become an avid reader.

Reasons why reading is important:

  • Our education system is dependent on reading. Even though, the recent changes in education tilt on experiments and projects, students still have to read to get the basics and details necessary, also their text books.
  • Experimentation can teach you basic principles of scientific theories but to understand the complete theories expostulated by earlier scientists, you’ll have to read.
  • Travel might teach you a lot. You might get videos explaining everything, but to understand all point of views you need to read. Most of the older thinkers outclass even the modern-day popular speakers.
  • You might find everything on Google, but you’ll have to read the stuff.
  • When considering fantasies, it’s always better to read them than to watch the movies. In movies, nothing is left to imagination whereas, books boost your imagination.

I can go on and on the topic but the post isn’t about the importance of reading but how you can cultivate this habit in a child. The child will have to do a lot of reading whether he wants it or not. Wouldn’t it be better if likes reading?

So, how can you get a child interested in reading? I have no parenting experience but I have observed expert parenting all my life, and this is how my parents got us to read.


Techniques my parents employed to make us read:

  • My parents always told us bed-time stories even when we were infants. Though I can’t remember my infancy :D, I still remember, my little brother who cried if the bed time-ritual wasn’t followed. Bed-time stories generated our interests in stories and built our imagination.
  • Later, they started reading out the stories from picture books. I used to mimic them and read out the stories to my brother who was fascinated with pictures.
  • When I was old enough to read, they started to leave out the last part for the next day. If I wanted to know the complete story, I’d have to wait a whole day. I pleaded them to complete it. They replied, “If you want to know the whole story now, you should read it yourself.After a few days, I started to read it myself.
  • There comes a stage when kids do the opposite of what is told; the rebel stage in a child’s life. My parents overcame this stage with an idea.I heard my parents talk about some books which, they should never let me read. I had to read the book just to find out why it was forbidden.This happened with many books. (They never told this directly, I always accidentally heard the stuff.)Years later, I asked my mom, “Why was the book forbidden?”She laughed, “It got you to read, didn’t it?”
  • My parents used to discuss some books in our general conversation. Those were typically the books, I hadn’t read. That was the time, I felt grown up with a wide knowledge though everyone still considered me a kid. It was irritating not to be able to join a grown up conversation just because I haven’t read a book. I had to read it so that I wasn’t the only one who was ignorant. (excluding my little brother, of course :P)
  • With my brother, they used sibling rivalry. Oh no, they never divided us. In fact, they are the reason for our strong relationship. What they did was use me as an indirect model.For e.g. : While conversing with my brother, sometimes, my mom started to talk about the plot of a book he hadn’t read, but I had. Then halt suddenly and say, “Oh, I forgot you don’t know anything about it, your sister does.” Then she smiled at some funny incidents in the story. If that didn’t drive my brother to the book, nothing would. Every kid hates not to be a part of jokes his older siblings share with their parents.

The last technique worked wonders with my brother. Here, I have to admit that I became an avid reader but my brother didn’t. My brother doesn’t love books, he loves experiments and videos. The success of my parents is that he has read more books than most of the people who claim themselves fond of books. He can still read a book for fun without getting bored, and that is an achievement to boast.

Every child has his own way of learning, and reading might not work for all of them. This is the beauty of our diverse world, but childhood habits form a part of a person. It is important for a child’s overall development, that he is comfortable with all methods of learning though he may excel only in one of them. Childhood habits are hard to break, so good habits should always begin in childhood.

Are you fond of reading? What techniques did your parents use to arouse your interest? Which of your childhood habits have proved valuable to you?

This post is part of Shankhnaad for happy children, a campaign which would continue all through November. You can also contribute your happy children posts.



24 thoughts on “A child who reads

  1. 100% True.Lovely way to get a child interested in reading.
    Had the opportunity of listening to some lovely stories from my grandparents and parents when we were kids.

  2. Wow! A very interesting post Kiran! By sharing how your parents did make you a reader, you have given lots of wonderful tips for making every child read books!

    I am not a great reader. But, by nature, I love to read anything and everything since I started reading. My siblings too love to read. So, I don’t have any tricks to share.

    TC! Keep smiling 🙂

  3. Your parents were very wise with you. I will use their tricks with my kids. I am a natural reader, I find solace in reading but I tell my husband and brother to read a book and then I check their progress by asking questions like – where have you reached, did that person still alive, did you read that line… It’s more of a teacher-student-homework scenario here with me.

    A nice campaign.

  4. Well said. I think it was through the bed-time stories that I started reading too and fortunately the very first books that I read got me hooked on to the habit, thanks to my dad. the habit should be inculcated right from when kids are young, but at the same time it shouldnt be forced, because we have to accept the fact that not everyone is into reading. But we should atleast make them try.

  5. Lovely notes Kiran.. Totally share your views, reading is of such paramount importance, and the one thing that does cultivate with reading is a sense of patience, knowing fully well that you need to wait till the end, as it may not seem what it appears….. Had left reading for quite some time, renewed my interest recently and after reading your post, for sure, not planning to let it go.. .Will the kids do what I do… Another story 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot. 🙂
      Reading indeed requires patience.Reading is the whole process not just about getting to know the ending. 🙂 I’m glad my post inspired you to start reading again.

  6. That’s great Kiran ! specially the ‘forbidden trick’ and the leaving one child out from the common joke … intelligent and as it worked on you and your brother (in a way) I might use it for my younger one 🙂 Thanks for the beautiful and insightful post 🙂

  7. A nice post. I sometimes read to my daughter , though I must admit I enjoy playing with her more. Some stories are impromptu, but the best part is, in the sheer innocence of childhood, she loves them.

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