Habit of Reading

In this time, bringing the habit of reading to children is very challenging for the parents. As parents, we were trying different things to make our daughter getting in to this habit. Buying books is the easiest part. We were as well having scheduled time for reading, where all three of us would spend that hour reading what each wants. There are many excuses why its not working out. Especially for children, there is no inherent motivation in reading. And they have lot of entertainment stuffs to get distracted or prioritize. After a period of time, she started having aversion on reading just because we insisted on reading. Reading is good for you, it will open up the world for you, you can become what you want, all that blah blah worked out in the opposite direction.

We tried telling school principal (the school my daughter studies hear and apply what we suggest) to advocate reading as a habit. And as children, they obey to what teacher says than us. Principal suggested to get us attached to some local library that way she get to go pick, explore books. She suggested few children series too. We were going to Anna centenary library frequently but habit needs even more regular reading.

We found Read and Rejoice library near by and been regular borrower of books since 2022. It has more books for children than adults. They have diverse collection across indian and foreign books. Most of the popular children series are available and include indian publishers like Pratham, Tulika, Thumbi. I have seen some interesting comics in tamil as well. My daughter is more attracted towards fairy books (inspite of our demystifying efforts on equality). Which we generally avoid and tend to buy ‘good’ books. During the visits to libary, she picks what she wants (giving our own suggestion on good books) but she gets to pick what she wants to read. Hoping, first reading and over the period, she will cross the boundaries that is set by the society to explore different genres. Now, after 6 months, she picks books and either completes on the way or within a day. And she is getting attached to particular series that will make her read continuously. Yeah, children series books are infinite.

As bonus, library has limited but very good set of adult books. We are surprised to see the collections across tamil, fiction, personal finance, history, philosophy, self help. Some of the books that i didnt expect it to be here are War and peace (tamil edition by T.S. Chokalingam), Jared diamond books, dhandho investor, Sophie’s world (Philosophical fiction). And the library is willing to buy books that we dont find here. They as well conduct workshops and events where she gets to meet children with varied interests and their love for reading.

Thinking back, getting us attached to a library bring changes to both children and us parents in a good way. If we ourselves not reading, then how can we expect our children to? In a recent movie, there was this dialogue that stayed. Father leaves his new born son in the hospital parking lot. After 50+ years, son comes and ask the father

“you just left him?”

“I wished him happiness every day since then” says his dad

“you just wished for your child’s happiness. you have to make them happy.”

“you can give if you have received” his dad says profundly.

I think this applies for our reading as well. Of all, we should have that habit to give it to our children!

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