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I don’t remember when exactly it happened, but as far back in my life as I can remember, the books pulled me to them. The sight of words (the yellower the pages, the better), the musty smell, and their ability to take me around the world always made me late on all the other things that I had to be doing at that point in time, in favour of reading “just one more page”!
So, when we were expecting our baby, along with all the stuff that moms start thinking of (which never works out the way they think, BTW!), I was very, very clear on this one thing – my baby will be a reader. I didn’t have a strategy, a plan, not even an idea of how was I going to achieve this, but I couldn’t imagine it to be otherwise.
When he was about 6 months old, his grandmothers insisted that I should talk to him so that he gets to hear words, as it was just the two of us at home most of the time. For all my motherly love, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him about random things under the sun. So, books came to the rescue – and we started reading. Properly.
Did it work?
Absolutely. He was ready with a pretty impressive vocabulary by the time he was ready to speak. Did he turn out to be a reader? Fortunately, yes! At the age of 5 years, he is happily reading chapter books on his own.
Looking back, I think the reading aloud was the biggest contributor in making him a reader. He hardly ever went to sleep without having a story read to him, and I saw my husband happily taking over the bedtime ritual of reading. It’s the sacrosanct father-son bonding time, but the roles are now reversed – it’s the boy who reads the story for his dad now.
Does it get better than that?
Only time will tell. But if you do want to spend some quality time with your child, my honest advice will be – start reading to them, and never stop, no matter how old they grow. There’s something really special about the time shared between the pages of a book with your child, away from the cacophony of the gadgets, of the TV, and of the worries of life.
Do you have a special reading ritual with your child? Let us know!