For a lot of people, reading their favorite books aloud with their friends and family has been the fondest memory of their childhood. And why not? Imagine how monotonous our childhood would have been had we not been exposed to the world of books and the magic that convinced us that dreams do come true. They taught us to make sense of the world, articulate our feelings and become better thinkers.
Trivandrum based Anjali Manoj, a broadcast journalist by education and a storyteller and teacher by passion understands the pivotal role books play in the overall development of the kids and started “Read Right Centre” with an objective to share her love for reading books with kids in her city.
She says that her children were toddlers when she realized that just like her, people might find it difficult to identify age-appropriate books and get the time to read to their children. This idea to start something that would help children to enhance their writing and speaking skills was set into motion when some of her friends asked her to suggest books for their kids and also wanted to know ways to make reading more interesting to their children.
Children see….children do ! The best way for a parent to encourage children to read is by reading themselves. Let the child see how much you enjoy a book and you won’t find it difficult.
Her journey had some hiccups as the concept of storytelling was unheard of nine years ago in Trivandrum so it was difficult to convince parents about the world of good it could do to their kids. Procuring an adequate number of copies of any book was another challenge. Parents also were apprehensive about sending their children to a class when they could do it themselves.
Reading books and its plethora of benefits
Talking about the myriad of advantages reading books has, she explains that reading improves spoken and written skills, helps children concentrate, encourages creativity and helps them express feelings by identifying with fictional characters. She also opined that it’s very important to start early because the older they are, the charm of the television or any electronic gadget becomes more overpowering. The classes are held once in a week. She takes two sessions in a day.
We all know the extent to which gadgets have started ruling children’s lives but she strongly believes that no matter how fancy a gadget is, if you ask any book lover they will tell you that the touch, feel and smell of a book is irreplaceable. “Children see….children do ! The best way for a parent to encourage children to read is by reading themselves. Let the child see how much you enjoy a book and you won’t find it difficult.”, she quipped.
Children love magic and as long as they realize that there is nothing more magical than a story where anything can happen…you’ve got a reader for life!
“My oldest students are now professionals in various fields and reluctant readers are now voracious readers!”, she shares. She also shares that in her second year, she had a child who refused to even sit in the class because he didn’t want to read and now he now reads at a level way beyond his age!
Turning kids into lifetime readers
Talking about how children can be turned into lifetime readers, she says that we need to show them the magic of the book. “Children love magic and as long as they realize that there is nothing more magical than a story where anything can happen…you’ve got a reader for life!”, she says.