Thursday, March 6, 2014

No excuses on Read-aloud Day!

One of our first family story times at the library was back when Abhay was just a toddler and believe me, the last thing that our two year old wanted to do was sit in one place for the next twenty minutes or so. But we took heart (at least my husband did!) that Abhay was not the only one roaming all around when the librarian was reading a picture book, and there were a couple of other toddlers to keep him company…… (or rather inspired by him!) While we wondered if we should wait for a year or two before Abhay could really focus on the story being read out, the people at the library assured us that more we bring him to such story times….the more he gains exposure to books and stories. So we kept at it and sure enough…..he began to look forward to the weekly family story time at the library. We have come a long way since board books or simple picture books and Abhay has begun to read on his own. But apart from the advanced early readers and emergent chapter books that he reads, we still continue to read to him every night. Of course, I try to find picture books that are slightly complex in their narrative or where the underlying humour is meant more for children aged five or six and above. But there are some books that are universally enjoyed by all kids ….whatever be their age or reading level and it feels unfair to deny Abhay that experience simply because he is supposedly too old for picture books!  So also the parents as reading aloud to your little one or not-so-little one at bedtime can be one of the most relaxing and therapeutic experiences at the end of day! Like all routine parenting tasks, my husband and I take turns to read to Abhay, and we are strict on who’s turn it is on a given day, but not because it’s only fair……but because we hate to miss an opportunity to read to our baby!

 Today being World-Read-aloud day, what a better way to dedicate this day than with a book by one of India’s most famous children’s writer Anushka Ravishankar.  The book titled “Excuses Excuses” is a story of a boy named, Neel, narrated in rhyming verse, like many of other books, one of which I co- incidentally happen to read on World Read aloud day last year! J A good part of the read-aloud experience is also about the book’s illustrations… not to forget the illustrator of this book Gabriel Manglou who’s combination of real life-like images of “Neel” side by side with imaginative illustrations make this book a sure treat! At the start of the week, Neel has it all planned out… be a good boy every day of the week. Monday, he’d be in time for school, on Tuesday, he’d obey every rule, Wednesday, he’d be a helpful son, on Thursday, he’d get all his homework done, on Friday, to be sociable and good, on Saturday, he’d do everything he should and finally on Sunday he decided to mend his ways, and then ……( in true Anushka’s Ravishankar’s style) he realized that he’d run out of days! J From this introduction….I could sense Abhay’s ears perk up….as it almost sounds like his story too (We even replaced Neel with Abhay while reading!). So is Neel able to achieve all what he plans ?? Is he successful? Read on as you find out how Neel has an amazing ability to come up with some of the most incredible excuses! Well, an excuse a day has Neel get away! J


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