In today’s world which is full of technology, children are very adept to using an IPad, computer, video games or IPhone. How are they so good at it – even better than us elders? They are literally growing up with it – it is around them in their environment. This proves that children have a natural ability to pick up things from their environment.
All this is wonderful – but one drawback, it is taking them away from ‘BOOKS’. They do not like to read. Would you like your child to be a reader? The remedy is to read to your child when the child is growing up. The best time to start reading is right at birth. Now you will say that the child does not understand or has no concentration, so how can we read? The amazing thing is that from 0 to 4 years children have an intelligence growth of 50%. They can absorb and pick up things from the environment. This is called “subconscious” learning. Whatever they see and hear gets embedded in their mind. They just bring it out as and when they need it.
Just take the child in your lap and show the colourful pictures and read aloud. The child lives the mother’s voice, enjoys these sessions of reading and in turn is he/she is never afraid of books thereafter. We normally introduce books in school so the association of books is with studying and no one likes to study (or very few?).
Have you noticed one thing – the child picks up the language, which he or she hears. No one teaches them the language, hence if we speak two languages, the child will pick up that too. Learning a language is more difficult than picking up the language. Exposure is very important hence read and speak to the child in the vernacular language plus English.
Reading to the child helps him to develop the love of books and reading in him develops concentration, which children lack these days. It helps in vocabulary building, language skills, imagination and makes him more knowledgeable and confident. If a child can develop so many skills, then why not introduce reading at an early age?
(Pramila Nanda, with over 15 years of experience in teaching, her stint as Marketing Manager with Educational Technologies Limited (formerly Time Life) has given her immense knowhow in understanding children’s world and is always available to share her knowledge.)