Author – Gayatri D
”Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading valueless books.” (John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies (1865).
What Ruskin told us 150 years ago is still valid. Don’t you think? How many of us still remember and feel happy that some particular book has made so much of an impression that it is etched into our souls? A school textbook, an article from a magazine, an Enid Blyton’s story or even a grandma’s lullaby, anything that has taught us something and helped us understand the intricacies of life. We all acknowledge the value of books. Don’t we? We know how it contributed to our growth as a person. But before I move on further, I want to make sure I convey this message that when I talk about books adding value to our lives the value is to our soul alone and nothing monetary.
A Real Book
What makes me feel sad today is that books have taken a backbench in a child’s life. The advent of technology has eased our life and robbed us of our books. Tablet games, PlayStations are really fun but how much value can they add in the long run? Children see gadgets as a toy rather than a learning tool, which is very natural considering their maturity level. The tablet may read out a book but it is never a real book! Place a real book in a child’s hand and see the magic work. A real book with real pages that can be smelt and turned, something which can be carried anywhere without electric charge. It can give your child the joy of doing naughty things like Dennis, to fly on a carpet like Aladdin, to see the beautiful Snow White, or even listen to Pied Piper’s addictive music .Has your child experienced all these? He will once he has a book in his hand.
So what can a book do to a child anyway? It will add dash of imagination to a child’s mind. He/she will be able visualise what the author writes in the book and enter the magical world of the book. This also helps them understand what’s real and what’s not. Reading a story to the child from a book and making him co-relate the pictures and words is a fruitful exercise. The child understands words in pictures. What a fantastic teaching that is! Today the same concept is used in presentations, White Papers etc. A picture is worth a thousand words indeed!
Children need our help
Can the child do all this alone? No! He needs our help. The parents and guardians of the child should make time for reading books. We need to sit with the child and assure him that we are also part of the wonderful book-reading journey. Once the child is secure, he will pay attention to us. When this becomes a habit, the child will automatically show interest towards reading. Put in an effort to select a book by the age group and what may add value to the child in future. Browse one book for your child at an online store and get it delivered as a gift. The child will love it when a book comes all the way to him!
In addition to it, you can read bedtime stories to your kids. And also inculcate a habit of reading the stories aloud. Tell them about famous kid lit writers like Ruskin Bond, R.K. Narayan, Enid Blyton, etc. and their famous works. This kind of activities often strengthen the parent-child relationship in a healthy way. Also, encourage them to participate in storytelling competitions organized by a few organizations. Recently, Landmark stores and Scholastic books conducted one such storytelling contest, giving the winning kid an opportunity to meet Ruskin Bond. These kind of contests rouse their interest in books and everything related to it.
Books Have No Boundaries
Sometimes parents tend to feel they are burdening the child by introducing high-level books to them. But don’t let this deter you. Every piece of information is worth sharing with your child. Nothing is too difficult or small for him. He/she sees the information as information only. His virtue of judgement is still raw hence the child absorbs whatever information we give him in its original form without attaching anything to it. For example, my son could tell all planets’ name and even their moons at the age of three. He enjoyed learning about the journey of “space” from a “3D planet book” and he still loves it. Here, you could just say that Books and children share a unique bond which is not confined to a specific area.
So go ahead, grab a book and let your child enter the world of “books” and watch how it adds value to his life. Happy Reading to all of you!