Reading books to infants and young children enhances brain development and imagination, fosters language and emotion development, and strengthens the relationship bonds. While reading, children are introduced to new words and begin to expand their vocabulary. In schools, children are taught to write before they are taught to read, contrary to the recommendation of experts.
“Because they live in a world where Google knows everything and adults read less, children read less than their parents’ generation. Before reading becomes a pleasure, it requires patience, persistence, and solitude, but cheap and simple digital distractions give instant reward and addiction. How do we allow the world to empower children rather than engulf them?” questions Kavita Gupta Sabharwal, Head of School, Neev Academy and Co-founder of Neev Literature Festival.
Reading cultivates the mind, fosters empathy, and nourishes the imagination. There is no greater way to comprehend oneself, to travel, to see the future, to live many lives, and to transform. “Reading is vital to democracy; it is simpler to manage and influence those who cannot or cannot read. In school, the benefits of reading increase over time,” she adds.
Kavita cites a research by Professor Maryanne Wolf on the effects of skimming, browsing, and word-spotting on digital screens, which suggests that modern readers have changed due to constant access to digital information. “We must work hard to establish a ‘biliterate reading brain’ that is capable of deeper, more prolonged reading across any media,” says the expert, who explains how the habit of reading may be inculcated in young children.
• Start early with reading aloud
• Serve as a role model for quiet reading
• Make a prominent area for physical books
• Promote diverse reading
• Establish shared habits and nurture a reading community.
• Complement world literature with wonderful Indian stories; when children cannot find themselves in the books they read, or when the pictures they encounter are twisted or bad, they learn profound lessons about how society values them.
• Readers are raised by their parents. Develop a brain capable of bilingualism methodically by restricting very young children’s screen time.
Classics To Instill The Love Of Reading In your Child
All parents want their children to grow into balanced, intelligent, well-informed individuals. Books serve as a child’s window to the world – encouraging them to expand their horizons as they grow.
A child is never too young to embark on a life-long journey as a reader; reading skills are ideally taught during their early years. This season, Oxford University Press (OUP), brings an array of captivating book titles to help every child begin their autonomous reading journey with carefully graded readers that also help guide and assess the child’s accurate reading level.
Dominoes Starter: Journey To The Centre of the Earth
This book enthralls children with fantasy creatures, unlimited action and exciting adventures. This is one of Jules Vernes’ most exciting stories adapted for young readers. Set in Hamburg, Germany, Professor Otto Lidenbrock comes home with an old Icelandic book. The book contains a message about a journey to the center of the Earth. Can Lidenbrock and Axel and their Icelandic guide, Hans, find the center of the Earth? And can they all get home alive after their many underground adventures?
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz
Dorothy and her friends know there’s only one person who can help make their wishes come true, and that’s the Wizard. But as they set off to find him, the Wicked Witch is never far behind . . .
Winnie Adds Magic
Here’s just the book to add a little magic to your day. The book encourages children to enjoy every task, and makes them realise that when they make the effort, then happiness can be found anywhere. In the book, whether she’s taking to the stage, farming in her garden, dreaming up treasure-hunt clues, or helping out a maths teacher, Winnie brings her very own brand of muddled-up magic to everything she does. Four fabulous stories in one book, illustrated in zany black and white by Korky Paul.
Dominoes Starter: William Tell and Other Stories
The men and the woman in this book – William Tell, Tom Blood, Lord Bao, King Matthias, Johnny Appleseed and Lady Godiva – are all real people from history. But every time someone tells an old story, they change things in it, to make them bigger, better and more exciting. To decipher what is true in this book and what is not, one must read all six of the stories, and then decide. Each story emphasises the importance of compassion, kindness and hope.
Dominoes Starter: Rip Van Winkle & The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow
This combo of two largely enjoyed classic tales is a great way to introduce children to the world of mystery and magic.
In the first of these stories, Rip van Winkle sleeps for over twenty years, and then wakes up to a world that he no longer understands. In the other story, Ichabod Crane, the schoolteacher, meets a headless rider in the middle of a dark night. These two classic tales of the supernatural by Washington Irving have been popular worldwide for nearly two hundred years.
These Authors Will Enable You To Raise Financially Smart Kids
Do you often fret when your child asks you why certain people are poor? Or why can’t we just print currency notes on our printers? Or why does someone have a fancy bag, but you don’t?
Well, authors Binal Gandhi and Soneera Sanghvi are here for the rescue with their newly-launched book, Piggy Bank To Portfolio: How To Raise Financially Smart Kids (Juggernaut).
Gandhi and Sanghvi, both professionals, have been friends for over two decades, but today are high on their joint achievement that they co-authored during the lockdown. Gandhi is CEO of The Learning Curve Academy and the founder of the gamified financial education programme, Finance GYM (Grow Your Money) that has engaged with over 20,000 youth. Her experience lies primarily in the finance sector and has been a faculty at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research and NMIMS for many years. Sanghvi, on the other hand, confesses of having no financial background in the professional arena. She started as a lawyer and went on to become the Assistant Editor of a business magazine in Mumbai before she founded High Skies Co, an education consultancy that helps students craft stand-out college application essays.
It is this very diverse backgrounds of the authors that lent the book its rich material, both coming from different backgrounds and faced with diverse questions from their kids belonging to varied age groups (Gandhi’s are 18 and 13, and Sanghvi’s eight and four).
Addressing The Questions
The authors mention that they have written the book in a manner that they would talk about these aspects with their children. Sanghvi says that when she started earning, she would spend it away each month and save what was left. Gandhi adds that it is the reason why children should learn how to earmark savings first, that is essentially pay themselves. Instead of learning about these things when you start earning and making mistakes along the way, if you give your kids the head start to be equipped to handle money when they get it, it is as good as inculcating other values in them, they believe.
“The other thing that I realised while writing the book was that a lot of what the research says was not done with me. I was taught that I needed to save, but had no idea how,” Sanghvi reveals. Gandhi corroborates the statement from her experience with the young graduates she teaches. “Some of them are aware and interested in finance, others aren’t, and a big difference really lies in what comes from home – what was inculcated by parents through conversations and encouragement,” she says. That is the primary purpose of the book, for parents to realise that financial education should start at home, at an early age. And that it is a process, it is not just about taking a class!
Piggy Bank To Portfolio has a special section on questions that children might pose to parents, and how to answer them. There are different perspectives from both author mothers. Plus, there are sets of activities broken into two parts – ages seven7 to 12 and 13 to 18. “This is not just another activity you have to do! But stories and games and exercises that are built into the children’s daily routine,” they say.
“Isn’t That Too Young?”
That was a question that both authors faced at multiple levels from all kinds of parents. The fact that there is time, why start so young? Sanghvi almost knew that this was going to be the case. “Research shows that personality traits develop in children as early as age seven and eight, including the ability to deal with and delay gratification, the ability to plan ahead and save. And all of these things affect that child’s ability as an adult to save,” she mentions. And that is why one of the things the book stresses upon is that it is not just about money, but children developing key personality traits, habits and outlook through regular conversations that parents initiate with them. “We also talk about saying NO to your children – they could just be asking for ice cream. It is about delaying gratification and building the patience in them to wait. Which later translates into the ability to say no to themselves,” she elaborates.
Teaching Value For Money
An interesting point made by Gandhi is that when we look at money, it has to be holistically. “Everybody has a relationship with money – for some it is healthy, for others, not so much,” she says. In this context, healthy means understanding and appreciating what you have versus feeling bad for what you don’t have. “Many youngsters today feel that they are chasing after money. It is the definition of unhealthy because they are comparing with others. To build a healthy relationship, it has to be holistic. It can’t be only about spending, but also about growing your money for the future,” she explains. For this, the book also explores the concept of borrowing, and how it will affect your life. Essentially, every aspect of money impacts your life, emotions and relationships.
The authors also stress on the power of compounding, and that if you missed out on it, give your kids the opportunity to do it. They show a table with the difference in investment and interest figures for a person who starts at 21 and another who starts at 25. It might seem ‘only’ four years, but the difference in interest amounts is HUGE!
The Last Word
So, what are the top things that they feel parents should do for their kids?
1. Give your child pocket money. Just like you can’t play football without a ball, you can’t teach your child about money without giving money.
2. Practice gratitude constantly. It creates a feeling of abundance of what you have rather than what you don’t have.
3. Practice what you preach. Children mirror your behaviour, not your advice. So, if you tell your child to save, but they watch you spend extravagantly, they will copy the behaviour. This is applicable to all aspects, not just money.
To add to the above, Gandhi says:
1. Role modelling is essential. So share the non-visible parts with them. It is that parents should be aware that certain activities like spending are very visible to our children, but let’s say donating, investing, saving tax or helping is not. So tell your children sensitively about it. 2. Involve your child in what you do for work. Take them for meetings or talk to them, perhaps have them shadow someone’s job – a cousin, an uncle, anyone. That way, they might be able to make choices on likes and dislikes, but they also understand how hard it is to earn money.