Children are really vulnerable. They need to be gently guided to take the right path, professionally and personally. Books can be an interesting way to explore the horizon. But how to inculcate the habit of reading in them and most importantly – what would be the right books for them. So, Psychiatrist Swati Wadhwa helps us explore the topic – Kids and Books – What to Read, for today. This is the second part of the article – Inculcating the Reading Habit. Without much ado, over to the expert:
Kids and Books – What to Read
By Dr Swati Wadhwa
If you ask, which type of books should be best? Nearly all the type, be it a comic, magazine, manuals, poetry, recipes, travel brochures, atlas or a dictionary. All you need is to make it interesting. Take the atlas, ask the kid to choose a place randomly, read about that place, its culture, geography, food, etc. Ask them to close their eyes and open the dictionary and put a finger on a page, read about that word – one word a day. Yes, there are some does and don’ts. Screen the magazines or other fiction for kids-friendly language and content, but not in front of them, do it discretely, without them knowing.
It is good to start with some motivational story or stories with drive home messages. Don’t be gender biased, usually we define a superhero as someone, who saves and help others, 99% of the time, a male figure; while we portray the females/princesses as delicate and weak, with a need to be saved by a superhero. We need to break this stereotype too. The main appeal of superheroes for children is the idea of having a superpower. It is important to share with children that superheroes are not only fictional; they exist in real life too. It is particularly important to highlight women’s contributions to our society since it has not been valued throughout history and their stories often remain untold. Biographies in general sound very boring. Here, I would like to recommend a book – Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elene Favalli and Francesca Cavallo. It is written for kids and teenagers in simple language and with illustrations.
There are some websites and online libraries, especially for kids like Teaching Kids News (TKN), which are available free and have current events written in kids-friendly way. Apart from it, Wikipedia and National Geographic are also good reading material.
To conclude, I would like to mention that building good habits take time and it not necessary that all kids would be interested in a specific book/genre that you might want them to read. Have patience, let them explore the books in their own way.