Good ads make us want to experience a new product or service. Encouraging children to read for pleasure is no different
It is 8 am in the morning. John is a year old. He chuckles when his mother brings out few really colourful board books. These are small enough for John to hold in his hands, just the way he sees his mother read her book. He takes only a few seconds to choose the book of the day. Mother and son settle down to read the book together. Like most babies, meal time requires some sort of entertainment and for John it has to be with one of his favourite books. His mother Sara says, the moment he opens a book, his mouth too opens and meal time is a breeze. He generally chooses books with vehicles, but today he has chosen the “Old MacDonald Rhyme Book”. His copy has big pictures of all farm animals and he waits patiently for his mother to come to his favourite line about dogs and say “woof, woof”. John bursts out laughing. Clearly this is an activity that he looks forward to. Books to John means fun, seeing a lot of colour, touching and feeling interesting pictures and above all, hearing his mother’s voice.
A year later, Sara is talking to someone on the phone, keeping an eye on John. John walks up to his book cupboard and much to her surprise pulls out one of his favourite books, sits down and using one finger, he goes from one image to another identifying them one by one. At the end of it he looks up and gives a big smile. Sara says “He is super thrilled to know that he could do that on his own.
John started off knowing early that books meant fun and give him a good feeling. He also learnt that it is ok not to like a book and push it aside. Reading a book meant bonding with his mother. All put together, books are a great place to go to.
Reading a book meant bonding with his mother.
However things start to change, when he starts learning to read in school a couple of years later. He does not like the fact that he has to see text instead of pictures. Sensing that this is the problem, his teacher lets him take his time with pictures before coming to the text. She advises Sara to do the same at home. Over time, he starts to learn to read on his own.
His teacher lets him take his time with pictures before coming to the text.
Advertising storytime as something really desirable
Just as good ads tempt us to try a product or service or create an innate desire to experience something new, the way you present books to children matters a great deal. It’s important to advertise reading as a fun activity and not just another chore that no one likes to do. Here are seven simple tips that can help you be creative in your advertising endeavours:
- Read and discover new books together: If your child dislikes a book, close it and move on, even if you love the book. Over time, you would have a good idea of what fascinates them.
- Go shopping together. If your child is old enough to handle money, give your child a budget and tell them to have fun choosing books in the book store. The trick is not to interfere. Let them feel good being given the responsibility to shop by themselves. As long as the books they pick are age appropriate, let them have fun.
- Take cue from the shopping experience to gauge the kind of books that attract their attention. Collect more such books and leave it around the house.
- Do NOT give incentive to read: Incentives are required to do something that is not exactly enjoyable but absolutely needs to get done. Giving an incentive to read a book, gives a wrong signal.
- Make sure you read and enjoy books: Many parents whose children don’t read, often show lack of interest in reading themselves.
- Read the books that your child enjoys: Talk about what you liked in the book, something you did not quite understand and so on. They feel good getting all the respect. You become a pal and not a strict parent who insists on reading everyday.
- Read aloud any book no matter how old your child is: There is not hard and fast rule that picture books are only for small children. There are amazing picture books that can be read out loud at any age and enjoyed for the suspense and illustrations. For resources refer Is your child old enough to read and yet insists that you read? Should you be worried?
If you would like to be part of a reading community that discusses about making reading fun for children, MerryGoBooks has a quickly growing community on Facebook- THE READING JOURNEY. Please feel free to join in and talk about your experiences in this regard, ask for book recommendations, suggestions to get your child interested in reading and so on. Looking forward to seeing you there.