Guest Post : Open a Book…Together #writebravely

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6‘ and this is my post for Day 6 in response to the prompt – ‘Feature a guest.’

For my guest post, I am thankful to Sunaina Bhatia who agreed to do this post for me at a short notice. Sunaina Bhatia is an avid reader and a talented blogger who blogs at ‘When I stopped to smell a rose’ and ‘Mere desh ki mitti’She is a good friend, I have found courtesy the world of blogging, and both of us share the same passion and commitment for raising readers. You have read about my reading journey with Dhruv quite a lot. Today, Sunaina will be taking you along her reading journey with her 2 children.

If you think raising a single child as a reader is a challenge, then Sunaina is an inspiration for all of us because she is doing the same with 2 kids.

Let’s give her a warm welcome.


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Image source : Pixabay

 When my son was born, among other things that I bought for him in the first six months were books. Small, colourful picture books that he started holding the day he started sitting up. It was a ‘weird’ sight for many, and some even laughed at me and considered me crazy. But I turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to all criticism and continued my ‘crazy’ shopping. I even started going to the library, a blessing in the US. Free access to countless treasures in print lured me almost every week. And icing on the cake was the library bus, the Bookmobile, that would visit every fortnight, the complex we lived in.
 
I was an avid reader myself as a child. I didn’t travel much, didn’t go to many places. But thanks to my parents, I was blessed to have books every now and then. From detective fiction to literature, my parents endowed me with a wealth that would stay with me forever. Books would often let me travel to places unseen and unheard of. The feeling is indescribable in words for me. It is something only a reader like myself can savour, can relate to. Needless to say, I wanted my kids to experience the same joy, the same delight. 
 
Raising a reader is not something that happens overnight. When it was time for transition from picture books to stories, I was faced with a challenge. Children have strong personalities that is reflected in the way they play, the choices they make when they are little. It is not at all necessary that they will enjoy the same stories which we have loved. So, I would bring books after books from the library to understand my son’s (my first born) taste. After umpteen number of attempts, I finally found a book that absorbed him completely. It was titled Henry and the Dump Truck, a story of a shy boy who was fascinated with the dump truck that came to pick their trash every week. I read that book to him during daytime, and night-time, whenever he demanded. And so began our ‘reading’ time. I have read to him every day if my memory serves me right –  even after he started reading on his own, because he enjoys this ‘together’ time a lot. I pick books for him even now, although he is eight and has clear interests. I don’t intend to impose my likes and interests on him but I wish to expand his horizon. 
 
The challenge to figure out your child’s leaning is something I have faced with my daughter (my second born) as well. She has inherited her brother’s collection but she has made strong, definitive choices of her own. This reflects her taste, and boosts her individuality too. This I think is very important in raising a reader. Let them choose, and respect their choices. It is crucial in developing their confidence. So, while offering them a range of topics that are diverse and new to them, I have given them space to enjoy their princesses, monsters, Fly-Guys, Captain Underpants, and Ballerinas.
 
Reading sensitizes the mind. It opens up one’s perspective. It lets one imagine, it allows one to delve into the other’s shoe and look at things from a different angle. Reading together is even more important because it gives you a chance to interact, to express difficult feelings like that of anger, and loss. It also gives both the child and parent a chance to come closer by communicating the thoughts that come up while going through a story together. It tells you what is going on in the child’s mind – his worries, his concerns, his queries.
As a parent, it is so important to know what is going on with your growing child, right? And don’t worry if a book doesn’t catch your child’s fancy. It is okay. It shows that s/he has a taste. Also don’t grudge if the book that s/he chooses is not as per your taste. It ought not bother you because s/he is the reader, not you. The best that you can do is to give your child the freedom to choose. Make books accessible in your home. Give them gift of books. Read, read together. Make it enjoyable – for you and for your child.
 
Read together with your child
About things that are funny and wise
Tell him about things that are true
and things that are only lies
Let him imagine 
Let him pretend
Give him the chance to make book his best friend…..

I hope you enjoyed reading this post by Sunaina.

You can also follow her on Twitter

#Writetribe #Writingbravely #festivalofwords

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54 thoughts on “Guest Post : Open a Book…Together #writebravely

  1. Obsessivemom says:

    Loved Sunaina’s journey. She’s right in that it isn’t easy to raise a reader and that they may not like the books you liked. The thing is to not give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aesha says:

    My daughter was not a keen reader despite my efforts of making her choose her own books and encouraging her to read. I myself am a avid reader so I assumed she will watch me and develop a love for reading . She is 8 years old now and has started enjoying it a bit . Recently she exchanged books with her friend who is an avid reader. I an hopeful that her peers & friends will invoke her interest in books.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. BellyBytes says:

    I’ve raised two readers and can identify with Sunaina’s journey. The American library system makes things easier with not only a larger selection of books but also the wonderful reading programs they organise

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Balaka says:

    I am an avid reader however my son doesn’t like to read on his own. He is eight years old yet he insists that I read the books for him. He only loves to read books related to cars. So he has this big collection of car books that he reads on his own, rest everything I have to read for him 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Esha Mookerjee-Dutta says:

    What a wonderful post, Sunaina. Thanks for hosting her on your blog today, Anamika. I am a great admirer of her writing and can feel very strongly about the things she mentions in her post. I too remember having the same experience when A was a baby and reading out to him every single day until he and the books were inseparable. I’ve always believed that the love for books is something only a parent can inculcate in a child and that too in those very early years because once their tastes develop and if reading does not figure in that list of tastes, there is pretty much nothing one can do to instil the love for reading anymore!

    Liked by 2 people

    • sunainabhatia says:

      Thanks so much Esha. I am so happy that you could relate to my journey. Parenting is a difficult thing and I hope I am giving my kids the ability to choose right over wrong, and books are going to help them make correct choices in the long run.

      Liked by 1 person

    • sunainabhatia says:

      Totally agree with you. When my son was in first grade, his teacher told me that she has kids who try to flip the page of a book as if it is an iPad. I have made sure that my kids get the feel of real books. They can choose kindle and iPad when the time comes but for now it is the real thing for them.

      Like

    • sunainabhatia says:

      Every kid is different. It is ok if they other passions. Maybe you could get books about the things they love. I try to get a book on the subject my son has caught his fancy on – be it Pokémon or magic or anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Rajlakshmi says:

    It’s amazing how kids have such strong preference. One would think that they would like any book with pictures. Loved how you experimented with different books before you found the one he liked. Wonderful to read Sunaina’s thoughtful post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sulekha says:

    Sunaina has got it right. My daughter was 2 years old when she started picking out books from the shelves of our local library. By the time she was 4 years old she insisted on being taken to the library everyday. We were living in the Naval area, Goa, then and the Officers institute was just across the road. The library was inside the club premises, a happy place to be in. She has been a voracious reader since her early years and is an advocate now. Her love for books has multiplied with age 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • sunainabhatia says:

      So nice to hear about your daughter, Sulekha. It is amazing indeed and kudos to you on giving her the much needed encouragement. You know what, I come from a family of lawyers too. My father and brother were advocates and I wanted to be one too but destiny had planned differently for me. 🙂

      Like

  8. vishalbheeroo says:

    Agree with you Sunaina. It’s one of the preferred methods to inculcate the reading culture in children while giving them the creative freedom to appreciate the story. Reading to children is something that many should do.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reema D'souza says:

    Reading is one of the best gifts that I got from my dad. My dad was an avid reader and he got me books even before I could read. He used to read them out to me.
    Enjoyed reading about Sunaina’s journey here.

    Like

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