Does your child consider reading as an uphill task?


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The golden rule to encouraging your child to read for pleasure is to lead by example. If the child sees the parent reaching out to a book or newspaper or a magazine to read as a means of unwinding or just for pleasure, children will follow. 

Asha is a mother to a 9 year old who hates to read. Asha is a voracious reader, who has to have a book going on in the background of her life so to speak! A book that serves as incentive to wrap up all her work on time, so that she can settle with that book without having to worry about anything. Evidently she reads for pleasure and yet her 9 year old does not associate reading as an enjoyable activity. What went wrong?

”Isn’t Diary of a Wimpy Kid” for children who don’t like to read?” she asks. “I got him some copies. Tried telling him that we could read together. I even suggested that I will read 10 pages and he could read only 2 pages if he likes. He read 2 pages and said he is done. When I asked him what happened in the story, he was clueless! How do I make him read?”

Although at first this seems like a situation that makes you think “oh no, the golden rule did not work. Mom reads a lot but the kid does not want to read!” But a closer look points out some very interesting facts.

  • Reading a book is shown as a chore. Saying that I will do some and you can do little if not as much as me, clearly indicates to the child that the parent looks at it as a job that needs to be ticked off. Thankfully, she is being considerate enough to keep his share of the job down to only 2 pages.
  • Being quizzed after 2 pages reminds the child of all the tests that appear in school. Reading is not being associated with joy or fun but something that will be tested.
  • In all probability the mother might have shown her disappointment when he could not tell her what happened in the story.

All that put together gives the following picture to the child:-

Reading is a chore that I can get rid off by doing a little. It is detestable however as I may get quizzed later on. Worst of all, my mother gets disappointed with me. But I detest this activity and I do not like seeing her disappointed. If I can somehow completely avoid this activity then I am free from all of the above.


Do you have another opinion of what could have gone wrong? Feel free to write about your opinion to 

What to do if your child wants to read a mediocre book series?

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My son wanted to pick up a book in the library, which I did not approve of. No, not that it was beyond his age but it just appeared to be too silly. He is proficient in reading and in my opinion could handle a higher level and more meaningful book than the one he was holding in his hand.  But of course all the research available to read comes back to my mind and tells me that I must not impose my own opinions and preferences especially when it comes to books. However, I am unable to let this one slide as he wants to pick up all the volumes in that series. I simply had to step in and suggest that he can take one of those and try something else for the remaining quota. That irritated him to the core and he took off saying that he does not want any book to read.

It just brought me back to my dilemma. Should a parent let their children read anything as long as they are reading something? Even if it means reading substandard books that do not have well written prose? After mulling over the matter I have come to the conclusion that it is ok to read something that is not up to the mark as long as you have something really good to supplement it with. It is just like us wanting to watch or read something incredibly silly, simply to have a break or have some time off from using the brain a little too much.  Telling them to avoid those books completely sets the rebel in them to grow and all the years of hard work to inculcate the love for reading is lost just like that.

The middle path solution

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After much thought, I came up with a middle path solution. I found out what attracted him to the book and then reasoned out that taking more books of the same series may backfire if he does not like the first book in the series. I  also added that we may not be able to come back to the library until next week, which means he would be stuck with a pile of books that he may not like. Instead if we had some variety, even if one does not work, there is a high probability that some other book might be an excellent read. That rationale worked! Later, he agreed that the book in question was not as great a read as he thought it would be. In fact another book that he had picked up from a totally different genre was extremely good and he would like try more of those.


Have you been in such a situation? Do you have some tips that others can use? Feel free to write to me at and get a chance to be featured!


Do You Remember How You Learnt To Read?

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In all probability you will not remember as that phase as someone said is ancient history. But for your child it could be an unpleasant present, if reading is a chore that needs to be done every single day simply because the teacher at school or a parent at home insists upon it. Needless to say, the chances of your child picking up the reading habit is extremely low. 

Imagine you are learning a new language, with a totally different script to make things worse. It is going to take time for you to grasp and if someone sat you down to make you read each day, insisting that you must read whether you like it or not, what would you do? You probably will go ahead and do it as in all probability you volunteered to learn the new language or you are forced to learn for professional reasons. If it is the latter reason, sure it can add a lot of stress to your life!

That is how it is for children too. If you insist that they practice reading because it is going to keep them in good stead in the future, it is hardly going to work. Children are about enjoying every minute in the present. By telling that that developing a skill now is going to do them good in the future, makes no sense at all to them.

Children are about enjoying every minute in the present. By telling that that developing a skill now is going to do them good in the future, makes no sense at all to them.

They crave for attention and love. Reading a book together is a great way to spend time together, talk about many things, paving way to many fascinating questions that may not have risen otherwise. What could be a better way to find answers to all those questions by reaching out books and reading all about a subject? Books are then associated with fun, love, spending time with a parent, finding answers to questions and not a chore that needs to be ticked off every single day.

Reading to make them feel important

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Long texts are daunting to read. How about small messages in post it’s stuck on the fridge or someplace that attracts attention? These could be addressed to the child and could be reminders or short and simple instructions such as “Keep the jam inside the fridge.” The focus is no longer on their ability to read, but the parent shows that the child is trusted to be capable of reading and following simple written instructions. It is a huge confidence booster and kids tend to feel important when parents show confidence in a child’s ability to do something.

Are you a parent who loves books and has been trying to raise a reader? Would you like to share your experiences for the benefit of other parents? Write to


Hearing A Million Words Before The Age of 5. Is that really necessary?

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It is often said that reading to your toddler is essential and if you do, by the age of 5 your child would have heard a million words or maybe more. But why should your child hear so many words by age of 5? What will happen if he or she learns a thousand or more words slowly after the age of 5? What is the hurry? Do you as an adult know or even hear a million words?

It is not the number of words your child has heard or learnt or can remember. It is the love for books that you inculcate in your child early on. Babies are naturally curious, wanting to absorb every little new thing that comes their way. Obviously they will not remember every single thing they see or every single word you say or read unless it is repeated several times. Repetition enables them to register and even try using it. It can be a new word, a new habit or new step in their development stages. But repetition is the key.

Reading a book as a habit forms early, when the child is read to every single day. Even easier if there is a particular time of the day when this beautiful activity happens. It could be on the meal chair or a bedtime story or just a cuddle time with a parent or a grandparent. That time of the day must be associated with love and when done repeatedly, settling with an interesting book brings about positive association with reading itself. As time goes by, printed words are not daunting. They are as familiar as so many things around the house. Hence later when it is time to go to school, and when words keep popping up all over the place, they are not daunting at all. Many words would sound familiar as the child would have heard them over and over again. Learning to read phase transition takes place more smoothly and reading continues to be a pleasurable activity.

That time of the day must be associated with love and when done repeatedly, settling with an interesting book brings about positive association with reading itself.
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Sans repetition, books are not familiar objects and even more so new words. There is no positive association with the activity and hence when it is suddenly thrust upon in school, many children who are not read to every day develop a severe dislike to reading.


Are you a parent who loves books and has been trying to raise a reader? Would you like to share your experiences for the benefit of other parents? Write to

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

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 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.






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.