10 Mistakes to Avoid When Raising a Reader - II


Readers and book-lovers know only too well, the magic that lies in the world of books! And naturally, they love to introduce as many people as they can to it. You will always find them recommending and discussing about books whenever they can. And they are also the ones who carry books with them, everywhere; and at almost all times!

Additionally, the reader who is also a parent, knows that a child who reads, grows to be an adult who thinks; and is keen on introducing children to this wonderful world as much as they can and as soon as they can. But sometimes, well-meaning, enthusiastic parents, get a little carried away and despite having the right intentions; sometimes end up taking some false steps that may actually turn out to be detrimental, more than helpful. 

In my journey as a reader, trying to raise a child who adores books, I too have made certain mistakes and have, along the way; put together this list of 10 mistakes to avoid when raising a reader. I have already shared Part-I of this list in 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Raising A Reader - IAnd today, I bring you Part II where I continue with the rest of the points!

6) Not having patience
As any parent knows, parenting requires tremendous patience! And if you are a parent with specific taste in books; then you are going to need it even more so; as I can tell from personal experience. Just like any other reader, children too, need to be given time to see for themselves what kind of books they like to read. Some children know clearly what they are looking for; while others need a little more time. But the bottom line is, that we have to give children the freedom of choosing what it is that they like to read; while we tell ourselves that they will eventually (and hopefully) get to where we want them to end up, but we are going to need a huge amount of patience till they get there.    

7) Being judgmental of what your child is reading
There are all kinds of books in the world; and as many different kinds of people with as many different tastes who love them or hate them. No two people can read the same book they say; and even if they do, they don't view the book similarly. So there is really no point in being judgmental about a certain book or genre that your child may or may not like to read. After all, we cannot, as parents wish that our children develop an individual taste in reading while at the same time being the ones to decide what those books should be.



8) Stashing books that you think are great and almost forcing your child to read them
Now this is something, I was myself guilty of for sometime. Personally, I always have a huge pile of to be read books and without realising it, I used to do the same for my little one. All the books that I loved as a child; anything that my friends' children read and loved; anything I read good reviews about and just basically anything that I thought will be good for my little one to read, I hoarded. Then one day, we visited a bookstore and my little one picked up a book in a genre that I never much cared for; and I asked him why doesnt he read what I have already got for him at home instead. His reply, is what made me realise how wrong I had been. "Those are the books that you like, Mum;" he said; "this is what I like!" 

9) Setting a time-table that gives a specific reading time every day
I have a few friends whose children work their day according to a pre-set time-table. There is time in their schedule for "free play" too, which is a specific time allotted to them; and so is "reading." Everyday, at this specific time, these children open their story books and read for an hour. Like clockwork. Maybe it works for them. But to me, this feels boring. Reading because it is time to read. We are much relaxed about the whole reading thing at my home. My little one picks up any book, at any time during the day and reads anything. Sometimes, he starts a book and if interrupted, starts with something entirely new when he gets back to reading. Some days he reads nothing at all, and some days he reads so much, his eyes hurt at night. But I am okay with this haphazard way of reading somehow because I know he is reading what and when he wants to.   

10) Comparing what your child reads with what your friends' children are reading   
This is true not only about books or reading, but with children in general. Children develop at a pace that is entirely their own. They also read and like different things. Comparing what children are reading with what their peers are reading or what you read as a child is only going to act as a detriment and not an encouragement if you are seriously looking to raise a reader. Reading is something we do for pleasure, and what gives one pleasure is purely subjective; and also something that one has to discover oneself. 



When we say reading, we usually think of books. But reading a newspaper or even a pamphlet (for a kid) is also reading in the real sense of the term. Plus, books too are of different types. So as parents, we need to understand that anything that children read is alright, so long as they are making an effort at reading. 

I love books. Fiction entices me, non fiction interests me; history enthralls me and sci-fi fascinates me. But I barely read the newspaper or even comics. I read news headlines on my phone, but I do not read the newspaper cover to cover. My little one on the other hand, devours his newspaper. He also loves to read comics, graphic books and his favourite genre is humour right now. 

And hence, even though I recommend books for a living, so long as my little one thinks he can make it on his own, I am going to be sitting on the sidelines allowing him to make his own choices. Not easy, but I am going to try! 

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