Overcoming The “learning to read” Barrier

 

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Source: Pexels

“Avanthika loved books as a child,” says her mother. “Her face used to light up every time I pulled out her favourite set of books to read. We have read so many books over and over again. But things changed once she started school and the pressure to read on her own increased.”

That statement kept working on my mind and prompted me to look at the “reading” situation from Avanthika’s perspective. Sitting on her  mother’s lap and listening to a wonderful story from a book that has the most beautiful pictures, always took her to a different world altogether. Things changed once school came into the picture. While initially it all seemed like fun, the pressure to perform and read on her own caught on. The very thing that she loved about books was lost.

She was being bombarded with a variety of materials in the form of flash cards, videos, some of which are funny but many bored her. But the worst of it all was someone breathing down her neck, seeing her with keen eyes, waiting for her to read, waiting for her to make a mistake that can be corrected. All of a sudden, books that promised the comfort of a parent’s lap or welcome change of scene in class becomes yet another learning task. It appears that is exactly what happened as one day she told her mother, learning to read on one’s own is no fun at all. There is no story, nothing to look forward to.

Ensuring that reading is a tool to learn more and not a barrier.

The process of learning to read can be quite challenging, frustrating even both for the child and parent. Children at the risk of reading failure are more likely to lose self esteem and motivation to learn unless they have the required support. Without support it is highly likely that reading will be seen more as barrier than a tool that enables learning.

In order to support children with reading difficulties, targeted reading practice using tools such as flash cards, audio and video kits are important. Frequent testing too is required and cannot be avoided much to the dismay of children. However this can be made pleasurable activity by showing children story books that they like. Even better story books with themselves as characters, achieving something important, such as solving a problem or helping someone in need. What this does is to take off the stress in reading by focusing on their self esteem and showing them as a person who is capable of doing something important. The concept can be extended further to show her character in the book as someone who works hard to master reading and immensely benefitting from all that hard work. This could reinforce the fact that with sufficient practice he or she could read well in real life too. After all stories are a means of communication and probably the best way to convey anything to a child.

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.

 

 

 

 

Help Your Child To Believe In Oneself.

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Source: Pixabay

Life is beautiful but as you know it is not perfect all the time. We all face problems irrespective of our age. Problems can be intimidating. However it is extremely reassuring when someone pats us on our backs and tells us that “you can solve it” or  “you will get past this.”

Making an example of that, MerryGoBooks focuses on showing children as problem solvers in the story books personalised to their specific likes. The concept followed at MerryGoBooks allows for several levels of personalisation, including the kind of story written for a child that can be based on real life circumstances. The child can be shown as a person who although is intimidated by the problems that come her way, she believes in herself and finds a solution eventually.

How does this help?

It acts as positive reinforcement that a child can do anything, can come up with a good solution to any problem, provided he or she believes that he or she can find a way. Reading about oneself overcoming fear, finding solutions to tough problems and achieving one’s dreams through hardwork, is a great way to make a child feel good about oneself.

Would you like to know more about the concept? Please feel free to write to me at lakshmi.mitter@yahoo.com

 

Ordering a personalised story book is not as simple as picking up a book in a bookstore. Here is why?

Placing an order for a personalised story book is like working with a designer for custom made outfit. Of course it is not as time consuming as the latter perhaps, but the feeling of satisfaction when the final product comes out is tremendous and worth all the effort.
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Picture Courtesy: Pixabay

 

At MerryGoBooks, we strive to personalise a story book with the objective of making the child feel important. In order to achieve that, we need to know every child’s unique interests, their reading level and who they would like to see in the book along with them. That requires a substantial amount of detail. But we are aware that people are busy and cannot be expected to think and write a lot of detail just to place an order. Keeping that in mind we have a really simple order form that you can finish filling in less than 5 mins. Interested? Sure, take a look. Click here Order Form

On the other hand if you feel the need to provide more details and prefer chatting about it, please wait until you receive the preliminary order summary. We can then add details to the basic summary and make the end product even more special. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Any Questions? Write to lakshmi.mitter@yahoo.com.

 

 

Personalised Story Books- Do they matter?

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Photo credit: MerryGoBooks

 

A variety of personalised story books are being made available today. If anything that is an indication of the fact that the concept is growing in popularity. There are a variety of personalised story books catering to a variety of children. What makes MerryGoBooks any different?

At MerryGoBooks, we strive to create a new story for each child. In other words the entire story is personalised according to a child’s likes and interests. For instance a 3 year old’s Mother wanted to create a book with her child and their dog. The child loves books and loves their dog. MerryGoBooks stepped up to the challenge and created a special story book for the little girl along with her dog. In the story, the dog wants to have fun with her but does not know what to do. The child comes up with ideas so that the dog can have fun. How more perfect can a birthday present be?

The Hero of the story

At MerryGoBooks we are very particular that the main character(s) are hero(es) who play a very important role in the story. They would be the ones taking the main decisions and solving problems. This we believe helps in building self esteem and a feeling of accomplishment. That feeling will motivate children to read the book over and over again, thus making it a very special present.

Specific interests

Every child has very unique interests. A book that is liked by one child need not be liked by another child. Some may like adventure, while some other may like mystery. Keeping that in mind, MerryGoBooks creates a story keeping in mind each child’s specific interests.

Child have very vivid imagination and know exactly what they want when it comes to their characters in personalised story books. Some have wanted to be superheroes, some wanted to princesses, some wanted a magician in the story and so on.

Reading levels

We at MerryGoBooks recognise that children even in the same age group may have different reading levels depending on a whole lot of factors. Thereby the story is written accordingly to ensure that interest is retained.

A special feeling 

Take a step back and try to recollect some occasion where you saw your name printed on something meant for you. Most probably you would have felt special and happy.  The same is true of children too. In the storybooks created by MerryGoBooks,    the name(s) of the child(ren) appear in the story and their character in the story is doing something very important. Even better, the concept leaves room for favourite people like parents, grandparents, friends, cousins, pets etc to appear in the story. Needless to say, the personalised story book specially created for you, becomes a treasure to be saved for eternity.

Note: Since each book is created from the scratch, it takes time. When you place an order please provide at least 2 weeks time. If you are lucky you could get it sooner!

 

 

 

Have you done everything in the book to encourage your child to read and yet, is there no impact?

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Image Courtesy: Pixabay

You might have taken all the recommended measures to encourage your children to read, such as reading a book yourself everyday, leaving books around for easy access, planning frequent library visits and so on? And yet, your child does not pick up a book to read for pleasure. If yes, revisit the times when you have taken measures to instil the reading habit in your child. Have you influenced the choice of books your child sees or reads? Do you let your child choose and then offer your opinion even if it is a negative opinion? For instance let us say your child likes comics. While you feel that he or she should move on to serious fiction/non-fiction ‘fat’ books that you read when you were younger or something that you think is apt for your kid’s age. In such a situation do you dissuade them from reading comics and dismiss them as not great reading material or something else?

I did all of the above. Sometimes, I would think that I should let my kids read what they want, but somewhere I could not help letting my own preferences creep in from time to time. Each time I did that, we would go back to square one and all the effort to make them to pick up something, anything at all to read for pleasure would go out of the door.

Did you know comics are actually good? 

Research indicates that comics are great for struggling readers as it acts as a different medium. There are pictures to break the monotony of text. As for experienced readers, comics could pose as an interesting challenge as most often comics use more difficult words that is otherwise used.

When they actually pick up something to read like a comic, it is important not to dissuade them by saying that comics are not suitable for ‘good reading’.

More information about why comics might actually be good for your child available on this article by Lucas Maxwell-A Friendly Reminder That Comics actually Help Reading

As long as they read age appropriate content, any book should be fine. Atleast they are reading…

Sadly many children associate reading with studies and performance and not for pleasure. So if they pick up a humourous book or a graphic novel or any book of their choice to relax and read and you insist that they read something that you think is more appropriate in terms of enhancing knowledge, think twice.

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.

 

 

 

Personalised Story Books and Reading for Pleasure

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Personalised story books are relatively new in concept but are gaining a lot of momentum. The concept means that the reader can appear as the protagonist in a storybook.  MerryGoBooks brings to you information about the potential benefits.

Great way to enable children to grasp new information and new vocabulary

Research in the education field indicates that children who are read personalised story books tend to pick up more words than from books that are not personalised. The greater extent of personalisation, the more keen they are to listen and grasp information as the story is being read. The reason is obvious. Not only do they like to hear their names appear in the story, but there are several favourite things that can appear in the story making it more familiar and less daunting to understand. Reading thereby becomes an enjoyable activity.

Attracting and retaining attention of small children

Mrs. Radhika Mitter, a kindergarten teacher (who later qualified to become a special educator), speaking to READING JOURNEY BY MERRYGOBOOKS, tells us how adding the names of children in the  stories that she told them, helped her to get and retain the attention of even the hyper active and children with attention deficiency problems. The desire to hear their names in the story and to be doing something important in the story helped in enhancing their self esteem and piqued their interest in knowing what happens in the story. She used this idea to teach them a variety of things in a way that they could understand.

Helps in encouraging children to speak up

Knowing that they are an important part of the narrative, makes them feel important thus easing off tension. Being a lot more relaxed and more involved in the story itself, children forget all apprehensions and begin to contribute even, over a period of time.

Helps in bonding with parents

Personalised story books that leave room for a child’s favourite people to appear in a a story such as parents, make it another reason for parent and child bonding. A child who has just started to read on his own, may like to read his dialogues while the parents read theirs. Reading thereby is not exercise that needs to be done and ticked off each day but a fun activity that involves child and parents.

Children love role play

If you observe the way many children play with toys, some sort of role play generally happens. They enjoy playing different roles. So when it comes to personalised books created by MerryGoBooks there are generally a lot of dialogues. The stories written strive to make every child play an important role in the story either in the form of an action or a relevant thought that got spoken at the right time.

Build confidence in reading

These books have the power to encourage reluctant readers to develop an interest in  reading as well as the confidence to eventually read on their own. This is made possible by making reading a less daunting activity by including many familiar elements in the story.

A meaningful birthday present

What could be a better surprise than a personalised story book specially written for your child capturing special memories with favourite people in a theme that interests your child.

More about the books created by MerryGoBooks in the About Section

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.

 

Who doesn’t like stories?

There is something magical about stories. They have the power to retain the attention of any child, provided they are told in the right manner. They have the capacity to teach children anything they must learn.

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Stories have the ability to reach out and comfort a child in distress and let him or her know that they are not alone. They let children know about things that happen, happy as well as sad. They enable children to be spectators to conflicts and give them the luxury of being able to decide what’s good and what’s bad. Above all, they act as a bonding force that brings parent and child together; grandparent and grandchild together; teacher and student together and so on.

A beautiful way to experience different emotions 

Reading a story with your child, observing their reactions to different aspects of the story, watching them smile when they see funny illustrations, hearing them laugh at a joke in a story, answering their questions and so on is an experience that you would have gone through especially if you are a person who loves books. For a child, it is a window to a world he or she doesn’t know. It is a safe place to explore, enjoy and ask questions.

“We experience the emotions in the story together. We laugh together, we feel sad together and so on. These emotional experiences bind us together.” says Mrs.Poonam Sethi, a school teacher with several years of experience teaching very young children. She makes it a point to always start the day in class with a story. She says it is during this time that she develops an emotional bond with her students whom she affectionately calls as ‘her children’.

The first step to a life long journey of reading for pleasure

Children who are read to early on, begin to associate the reading activity as a fun activity and when it comes to reading the same favourite books on their own, it is less daunting as they are familiar with the story and perhaps with many of the words as well. Speaking to Reading Journey about the importance of reading and telling children stories, Mrs.Poonam Sethi, sums it up most aptly by saying,

“These foundation years are most important for absorbing new words learnt through stories and oral language, help retain the words for use later. Enhancing listening skills and comprehension helps children to understand and follow instructions in class.”

If you would like read more about she has to say on encouraging children to read for pleasure, the full interview is available to read on Reading Journey by MerryGoBooks

Enriches imagination

Stories enable children to imagine a world different from what they see around them. This helps in making them more curious which paves the way to productive learning. Illustrations in children’s books enable them to imagine the unknown world and understand the story better.

Why is enriching imagination important?

Imagination is instrumental in enhancing creative thinking. Children learn a lot from books based on their imagination. One of the reasons they enjoy a story is because they like what they are able to imagine. This inevitably gets translated in play, especially when they are in the process of creating something new. It could be something that they build or even a story that they make up to play either with themselves or with friends. Imagination is what makes play more fun. Imagination makes learning new things fun. In the long run it even helps children remember things better.

The ability of imagination as a tool to enable children remember things easily comes in hand especially when they are beginning to read. They are familiar with the sounds of words and have a picture in their minds about what the word means. As a result trying to read a word that they already know so much about becomes a lot less daunting.

 

Children when familiar with the sounds of words and have a picture in their minds about what the word means, trying to read a word that they already know so much about, becomes a lot less daunting. 

 

A great way to relax

Curling up with a book at the end of the day is something an avid reader would love to do. Nothing works better than an interesting and entertaining story to relax your nerves at the end of the day. Growing up isn’t easy and children definitely need some quiet time to simply unwind. Bedtime story sessions are great way to instil the love of reading in children.

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