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

woman and a girl on bed holding a book

Photo by bruce mars on

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 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


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

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 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?


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



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.


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


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.

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



Personalised Story Books- Do they matter?


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?


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


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.