10 Mistakes To Avoid When Raising A Reader - I

As J. K. Rowling famously says, "If you don't like to read, you haven't found the right book." Being an avid reader and having seen first hand how amazing the world of books can be, I am already a life-long fan; and as a parent, I am naturally striving to inculcate the love for books and reading in my little one too! 

Needless to say, I started my efforts in this direction early on. I ensured that my baby was always surrounded by books. I myself read all the time when I was around him, sometimes even read out aloud to him. And my little one was a mere four months old when I bought him, his very own book!

When I decided to raise a reader; like most parents, I listened to my instincts a bit and relied on Google a lot. And I thought I was doing a great job, till I realised that every time I visited the mall, my little one happily gravitated towards the toys' section while I wandered the book aisles in search of the perfect books for him! 

That is not to say that my little one doesn't read, of course he does; and is often found sitting on the huge rocking chair at home, rocking precariously, engrossed in The Enchanted Wood or The Fantastic Mr. Fox. So, yes, he reads, and quite a bit, compared to most of his peers. But does he love books the way I do? I really don't know. Then again, he is still young. So, while whether my little one will grow up to a book lover or not, remains to be seen; I would definitely love to share what I am learning in this journey as a mother who is trying to raise a reader. 

Here's the list of a few things I have seen most parents (sometimes myself included) doing wrong in the enthusiasm of encouraging our budding readers. Hope this list of what to avoid, will come in handy for parents who love books and wish their children to do the same. I have so far, put together a list of 10 mistakes to avoid when raising a reader. And as you can see, I can't control myself when talking about books and hence, I bring you this list in two parts. 
(You can read Part II here)

So, here's Part - I:

1) Not letting the children choose the books
One of the most interesting things about reading books is the joy of picking out something that catches your eye on a book shelf or interests you from the synopsis on the back cover! As adults, we mostly choose books by hearsay, or because it's a bestseller or because we like the description about it and so on. Needless to say, when it comes to children's books, we go the same way; only, we don't necessarily take kids along with us to the library or the books store. 
But if you really plan to raise a child who loves books and all things books; it is important to let the child be the one choosing. Let the child like what he sees on the book cover, let him read the synopsis at the back or maybe leaf through a few pages, maybe read a couple of pages - and then select the book. This will help build the excitement and interest to read the book. 

2) Not having children read aloud
Unless a book is extremely interesting, your child's attention is bound to wander; and reading aloud can help with that. Most times, when it comes to studying we tell our children to read out their notes aloud, because we know this will help keep their attention on the page. General reading should be no different. Also, reading books aloud will elders correct any pronunciation mistakes that children make when introduced to new words. 

3) Not reading with the children
Most of us parents are relieved when our children begin to show interest in reading by themselves independently. We are glad when they find the interest that helps keep them busy for a long period of time, engaged in a great activity that is making them smarter and at the same time keeping them out of our way! But it is important to note, that even if children are old enough to read on their own, they definitely love it if parents occasionally read to them or with them. If taking time out during the day is not possible, it definitely helps to establish a bed time routine of reading a chapter or a short story before getting children to bed. This helps make books a part of their comfort zone; not to mention the memories they will cherish forever of reading in bed with you!

4) Not making the time to visit the library/ Rushing the child when visiting the library
Once upon a time, I would pick up books for my little one on my way back from work or when I was out on errands. It was much easier that way, less fuss and less stuff to lug around. But the first time I happened to take my little one to the library, I realised how wrong I had been! That day we spent more than two hours in the library; and my little one was totally excited and he read the whole time! That's when I realised, it is absolutely worth your time to take children to visit the library regularly. Not just to pick out books but to spend time there, surrounded by books, reading. And it is equally important to not rush your child when he is engrossed in his book or even when he's just browsing through the aisles.

5) Not sticking to age-appropriate suggestions / Sticking too much to age-appropriate suggestions
Any parent would tell you that if you don't already have a list or stack of books handy to give your budding reader, then Google is the best place to find one! When my little one began reading, I gave him the books that I already had at home from my time as a child. But soon, I was scouring the internet to look for age-appropriate books that I could get him to read. Now, this is good, but only to an extent. It is important to let your child find his own way through trial and error when it comes to finding the books that he may or may not like. Not all children are the same - they may have different intellectual capacity and maturity levels - and it is best to let your child guide you when it comes to getting something for him to read.  

As I said, this is only the first part of the list and I will post Part - II soon.  
Till then, happy reading and happy parenting!!

Images courtesy: Pixabay.com


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