Monday, March 11, 2013

Picture books and more....!

Last week saw the celebration of books and reading with World Read Aloud day on March 6th and World Book day on March 7th. I have always enjoyed reading since childhood and it is now my endeavor to have my son follow the same footsteps, in so far as cultivating the reading habit is concerned. Children learn by imitation and so watching their parents read will surely get them interested in the written word. Of course, by now you must know that it is never too early to start reading to your little one. But once they learn to recognize the alphabet, it is a different ball game to initiate them into reading on their own, apart from the picture books! Initially, reading on one’s own requires some effort whereas being read to require none! Parents play a significant role in helping the kids slowly transition from picture books to early readers, then to chapter books and then eventually to fiction! Parents thus have the dual responsibility of not only picking out graded early readers on subjects that are of their children’s interest but also appropriate for their children’s reading level. So Abhay is at a stage now where he can read through most Level 2 Early Readers, but just like everything else, he is choosy about the books he wants to read. So if the Early Reader is on a subject that doesn’t interest him, he doesn’t even bother reading and instead prefers me reading to him as if it were a picture book! Well….its not enough that he is a picky eater…must he be a picky reader too?

Anyway, progressing into Early Readers doesn’t have to mean the end of picture books. So on the occasion of World Book day, I was looking for a book titled “Bookworm” by Lavanya R.N brought out Karadi Tales at a local bookstore, and instead stumbled upon “Song of the Bookworm” by India’s original children’s book author, Anushka Ravishankar and Anitha Balachandran. As her other books, this one too is in rhyming verse and is humorous and thought-provoking at the same time. Narrated in first person, this is an account of a bookworm who describes the pleasures of reading and how it’s head is full of odd things like rockets and earthworms, rabbits and kings, monsters and muggles ( ala Harry Potter) and donkeys who sing…… a girl with biceps and boys who like girlie bling, all thanks to the books it feeds on (a worm is seen turning the pages of a giant novel) and the earthworm ultimately declares that books are rather yummy! This poem has a universal appeal to all kids, with younger children finding the illustrations funny and older kids most likely to appreciate the underlying humor and identify with the popular titles that the bookworm and its friends excitedly devour! So here's hoping our little ones turn into little bookworms too! :-)

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