It has always been a part of our daily ritual to sit around mumma (me), and listen to stories either from books or just plain made up. But to get the attention of a 6 year,4 year and 3 year old at the same time has always been a challenge. One day we were reading “When I Grow up “when Ethan suddenly got up and said, mumma lets do Spell Cat. To suddenly transition from a reading a book to doing an activity with all three was something I wasn’t prepared for. So we kept the book aside and gathered at the dining table. The girls ran to their room and got writing boards .
But I wanted to make this game interesting so I got the story book we were reading and opened it to a page. I asked each one of them to pick a 2, 3 and 4 letter word. So while Ethan found a 4 letter word and read it out loud to the girls he took the alphabet cards from the spell cat to form the words while Sarah my 4 year old (just learning to 3 letter words) wrote it on the slate board. Akira( my 3 year old) not to be left behind took a chalk and tried to write the first letter of that word. And for the next 1 hour we found words in the book we were reading and tried writing them, spelling them, and understanding them.
– Pallavi Fernandez, mother of 3 children
I have always, ever since I could read, loved to spend hours reading books, leafing through magazines, and anything that attracted my visual perceptions of the world around. As a mother of three very active kids I have always wished for them to have the same love for books that I have grown up with. While my son always liked listening to stories, I always found it challenging to inspire him to read by himself even though he is 6 years old now.
So it came as a surprise when one day I found Ethan sitting with a book quietly in a corner. Upon close observation I saw him reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which I had bought for myself. This went on for a number of days till one day I sat down with him and asked “ do you like this book”? and he said Mumma I love reading this book with all the drawings in it, and that boy looks a lot like me”!!!!
He loves the quirky illustrations in the book the different fonts and the artistic interpretation . The concept that a kid puts his thoughts down in a diary somehow captured Ethan’s attention so much so that we find him doodling on paper , or making cards for his friends. Now we love to pour over these books together and I find Ethan making the effort to read from billboards, magazines, newspaper words that catch his attention.
– Pallavi Fernandez, mother of a 6 year old boy
As soon as my son learnt to take his first steps, I placed his books on low height tables, spread across the house, that his little hands reached out to for support. Like many other parents I had read of course that he will get more attracted to books if he could reach out on his own. While he was never motivated to pick his books from the tables despite continuous encouragement, he started selecting a book from mumma’s bookshelf when he learnt to take more confident steps. Seeing the joy he experienced while picking that book time and again, I was quick to displace all my books and line up all his on that particular shelf.
Ever since I replaced my adult collection it has been interesting to observe the process of self selection. While initially he was attracted to green coloured books as green was his favourite colour, he soon started picking up books from Dr. Suess’ bright and early board book collection as his colour knowledge expanded. Over time I noticed that instead of picking one book at a time, he would always select collection of books from the same series. Even when they were not placed next to each other, lining them up vertically made it easier for the eye to discern the ones similar in colours, shapes, or sizes.
Observing this process for more than a month, I also realised that his tiny hands were never attracted to bigger books, perhaps because the books are placed in an order of big to small making it easier to access the smaller ones towards the middle and the right. I am soon going to break the adult logic of categorization and mix up bigger books with smaller ones in a random order to encourage him to read a wider variety of books. The joy that I experience every evening standing two steps behind observing how my son selects his books to read is much more than the pleasure I felt watching him take his first steps.