Reading Can Help Your Child Accept Sadness, As Just Another Emotion

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Do you squirm when a story you are reading to your child gets really sad? Are you worried how your child will react on knowing that his or her favourite character dies? By wishing that sad emotions just disappear does not make them go away but stay hidden deep inside, waiting to burst at a later point of time.

Talking about feelings while reading a book

Reading a fictional book where drama happens, people go through bad times and perhaps rise later, death occurs etc. gives room for some difficult discussions to happen in a stress free environment. After all the story is a figment of someone’s imagination. This is a lot easier when compared to facing the same event in real life or reading about a real life tragedy in the newspaper. No doubt reality hits harder than fiction. But what fiction does is that it gives your child the peace of mind required to raise some difficult questions and seek truthful answers.

Stories such as Lion King, Charlotte’s Web, Gangsta Granny have a knack of drawing you into an incredibly absorbing story, make you love each character and then something happens to the most likely favourite character. It is bound to make the reader feel shock at first and then be overcome by emotion. A six year old is in tears when he gets to know that Charlotte, the Spider in Charlotte’s Web eventually dies. His mother holds him close and lets him cry. She does not answer his question, “Why does Charlotte have to die?” immediately. She lets him express his feelings and then after a while explains that feeling sad is normal, happens to everyone and in those times people take care of each other. She lets him know that she is there to take care of him now. Find this story

Accepting the fact that any other emotion, other than happiness is ok and can be dealt with

As adults we are prone to a variety of emotions. Wishing therefore that children must experience only happiness is unrealistic and does not prepare them for the future in anyway.  Feeling sad or disappointed is just another emotion and reaching out to someone close to cry out or just talk is the normal thing to do. Similarly, reaching out to someone close in distress is the right thing to do is a basic lesson that all children need to learn early on to be good human beings.

A variety of children’s books exist today that enable you to curl up with your child and talk about a variety of subjects from a third person’s perspective. What could be a better way to learn and accept different emotions and how to deal with them?


 

Are there any books you have stumbled upon that have enabled you to have conversations with your child on very serious topics? Would you like to share? If yes, please write to me at lakshmi.mitter@yahoo.com.

Advertising Reading As A Fun Activity

Good ads make us want to experience a new product or service. Encouraging children to read for pleasure is no different

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Story In Every Personalised Story Book

Every child is unique and deserves to feel special. We at MerryGoBooks strive to make every child feel like super star in a story written from the scratch, specially for them, keeping their specific interests in mind. 
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Why not standard stories to choose from?

  • Standard stories lose the element of surprise before the book is delivered as you already know the story before you place the order. So when you read along with your child, the thrill of finding out what would happen next is lost, as you already know the story. On the other hand, when you order a book with MerryGoBooks, you can have the pleasure of discovering what happens next with your child.
  • Standard stories don’t give you the option of including people your child loves in the story.
  • Standard stories enable you to make it only about your child. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be in a storybook, with people whom your child loves? It could be anyone parents, grandparents, cousins, best friends and so on. It is the perfect way to preserve some very special memories.
  • Standard stories need not necessarily cover all your child’s favourite characters. At some level it is impossible.
  • Non-standardised books by MerryGoBooks makes it possible to make even wild combinations to come true. Let’s say there are two children who are best friends who would be very happy to appear in the same story book.  One likes Spider Man and the other Mermaids? Not a problem. At MerryGoBooks we can spin a take that makes room for both Spider Man and Mermaids!

 

If you would like to discover the world of personalised children’s books at MerryGoBooks here is how you can do it.

Fill up the order form and submit. Click Order Formto place an order

Is your child old enough to read and yet insists that you read? Should you be worried?

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Aarya is a ten year old who hates books but loves being read to! Ofcourse she can read on her own but does not want to. She still prefers being read to. Her mother takes the cue and reads to her along with her siblings who are 6 and 4, a bedtime story almost every night. But there is something missing. She never likes to pick up a book on her own and read it. The mother worries that her spellings are not improving and believes that reading on her own will help her absorb spellings better. “She is ten and still fumbles with spellings!” she complains. “I keep telling her that she is old enough to read, but she refuses.”

If you are contemplating that perhaps this child has a problem or a disability of some sort, let me stop you right there. She has no identified disability and there is no major complaint from school about her performance except perhaps a lack of interest in independent reading.

Someone asked her, “You have three kids. You can read a book to them everyday.” She replied, “I do, but I fall asleep before they do.”

Any guesses on what is wrong?

Here are few of my guesses. Feel free to add on.

1. The attitude of the parent towards reading is not exactly the perfect one. She appears to be looking at reading activity as a chore and does not realise that her child was sensing it and believing in it.

2. Highly possible that she does not read or perhaps no one in the house is ever seen reading.

3. The choice of books for a bedtime story needs to fascinate the adult too so that the adult can be actively involved in reading and enjoying the story with the child.

If you as a parent want some inspiration on how a story must be read to a child, take a look at https://www.storylineonline.net. It is the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website and streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. To begin with make sure, you listen to the books Library Lion, Enemy Pie & I Want My Monster.

Enabling your child to move to next level of reading

Children who know how to read independently may hesitate to move the next level. Reasons are likely to be

  • the lack of willingness to move out of comfort zone,
  • reading is already a chore-choosing the next level makes it harder than it already is,
  • Preference for certain genres that may not be easily available in the next level.

This is a problem that is not as daunting as it looks. It has a simple solution. Read to your child. Joining your child in picking out next level books with some encouragement and assurance that if the book gets boring ever, it will be dropped, helps a great deal. This reinforces the fact that reading is for pleasure and not to perform. It is important to convey that there is no pressure, whatsoever. These simple steps ensures that reading is a bonding activity and any book that makes it less enjoyable will be dismissed without any argument. Period.


 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Your Child Feel Like A Super Hero

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Children’s Books go a long way in enabling your child to believe in oneself. Personalised Story Books makes it one step closer. Here is how…

Two and half year old Adrian hated the idea of pre-school. His mother, Sophie thought it was separation anxiety and did a lot of things she could think of to ease the process. Nothing helped. Several months later, she found out why. Adrian started to weep when he could not make something on his own. The mother tried to comfort him and offered to help. In response, Adrian said inbetween sobs, “My teacher is right. I cannot do anything on my own. I am useless!”

The revelation hit Sophie hard. She wanted to take it up with the school but the teacher had moved. When she turned towards Adrian, she worried about the long term impact of that teacher’s statement on her child.

Over the years, she saw her child give up easily. She saw him throw tantrums when he could not do the simplest of things the first time. She chose story books to help him as he loved stories. Together they read stories of children who were labelled as something but found the confidence within to believe in themselves and not take every comment give at its face value. Adrian improved over time. He loved comics and started to create his own from the scratch. The protagonist in his comics is always someone who finds the way in the most difficult situations.

Personalised Books as a means to boost self esteem

Deep down we like stories where the weak character emerges as the strong one in the end, in spite of all the odds. In Adrian’s case, reading several books that showcased the supposedly weak character emerging strong inspite of the odds, reinforced the fact, that he too could do the same. The happiness he derived in that realisation got reflected in the comics he created.

Personalised books help in taking this concept a little further by enabling the main character of the book to represent the child, in a story specially written to suit the child’s specific interests along with a whole lot of familiar elements. Familiar elements could be in terms of known people, known surroundings, familiar situations etc. Familiarity helps reduce tension and enables the child to enjoy the story even when there are twists and turns, challenges that the main character must face and in the end, the main character representing the child, always finds a way. Rereading the same personalised book over and over again, reinforces the fact that the child is capable of finding solutions even in tough situations. This goes a long way in boosting self esteem and confidence.


If you would like to create a personalised story book featuring your child, in a story fine tuned to his or her specific interests, please visit How to Order?

Alternatively, you may write to me at lakshmi.mitter@yahoo.com.


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.

 

 

 

 

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Making Connections Can Help Beginner Readers

35C45317-388B-4CAF-8E24-5B5CB2CFB00C.jpegUnderstanding a story through pictures is hard enough even if someone is telling a story to show what is happening in the pictures. It takes practice and several repeated readings to be able to absorb all that a story book has to offer. When this exercise is coupled with another daunting task- independent reading, books tend to become the least preferred entertainment option.

Making connections with favourite people, stories and things in real life, can make independent reading fun.

Personalised story books make it possible for any child to make more direct connections to incidents in their own lives. The possibility of including their favourite people in the story, doing their favourite things together establishes an instant connection and hence desire to find out what happens in the story. Since there are several familiar elements in the story, the reading activity is a lot less daunting. Familiar elements in illustrations as well as in words used in the story help a child to use Phonetic sounds to read familiar sounding words, most of which they already understand in spoken language. This process gives the confidence boost that every beginner reader needs. Repeated reading of the same books, reinforces the fact in the child’s mind that reading is after all not such a daunting task.

Role Play

Personalised story books can pave the way for role play. Stories that have dialogues are perfect for role play giving room for both parent and child to take turns in reading. Reading therefore is no longer a one sided activity but something that involves both parent and child. The child  observes how the parent reads their dialogue hence shifting the focus from the pictures to text. Once this is achieved the child realises the importance of text in the book and its connection to the story.


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.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Reading, An Essential Skill?

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Between the ages of four and nine, your child will have to master some 100 phonics rules, learn to recognize 3,000 words with just a glance, and develop a comfortable reading speed approaching 100 words a minute. He must learn to combine words on the page with a half-dozen squiggles called punctuation into something – a voice or image in his mind that gives back meaning. (Paul Kropp, 1996)

That is a lot to grasp even if you have 5 years. But children manage to achieve it with the right guidance and motivation. However some children find it extremely difficult to master all of it and even begin to resent reading. Reading becomes a chore.

Perhaps if we looked at things differently, a solution might emerge. If we stop seeing reading as an essential skill and look at it more as a means to enjoy a story, an experience, an adventure even, our efforts might be more fruitful. It would take the pressure of reading as you don’t pick up a book in order to learn “how to read” but to enjoy, see what an appealing character is up to and what is likely to happen next. Even better if this is a bonding activity of sorts and you enjoy the same book over and over again.

The magic of reading a book over and over again

Several years ago, my mother and I conducted a public speaking class for a group of children in the age group 8-10. One of the students’ little brother tagged along simply because he was curious what his older brother was up to. He insisted on participating in a reading exercise and came along with his chosen book. He was all of four back then. He read with such fluency that we were amazed. We spoke to the mother and she was puzzled. She said, “But he does not know how to read yet. He has just started learning phonetic sounds.” When we showed her the book he had brought along, she smiled. She said, vividly recollecting a favourite memory of hers, “Ah this book. We have read this book together many times as a bedtime story. He loves this book.”

We kept in touch with them to find out about his progress in learning to read on his own. Turns out that he mastered the skill with a lot of ease. Clearly being able to read a book with which so much love was associated, was a fabulous confidence booster. It helped him to overcome any apprehensions and difficulties associated with independent reading. The love for that story book and listening to his mother read to him introduced him to the world of books as a way to experience love, wonder and happiness all at once. To be able to experience all of that by acquiring a new skill such as reading, must have made him feel good about himself.


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.

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming The “learning to read” Barrier

 

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“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.