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The joy of reading in today’s hyper-connected times

When we remember our childhood days, most of us are filled with memories of playing outdoors, spending time with extended families and listening to stories and folk tales from our elders.  Our eyes would grow wide in amazement and we would be transported to different imaginative places.  Due to the fortunate absence of modern gadgets, we relied only on books – be it for entertainment or information. 

However, despite the hyperconnected world that we live in, with apps and gadgets vying for our attention, the simple joy of reading and storytelling has not lost its charm. 

The numerous stories and books that you read together makes your home a happy place and fosters all-round holistic development of the child and parent.

Let’s explore the why’s of storytelling and reading….

  • Bed time is the most crucial time when we reminisce the day that went by and talk to the kids, cuddle them sing to them or read or tell them stories. After a hectic day, it’s ideal for everyone to unwind and destress on a daily basis to ensure a healthy body, mind and soul.  
  • The last part of the day determines our sleep quality and dreams. Various researches emphasize the importance of activities such as chanting, meditation, listening to music and reading.
  • Regular reading facilitates parent child bonding. It is very important to develop a bond of love and trust between parent and child and reading out to them facilitates the “us” time.
  • A lot of concepts, emotions, vocabulary, poetry skills and comprehensive ability can be instilled in a child with only fifteen minutes of reading daily.
  • The numerous stories and books that you read together makes your home a happy place and fosters all-round holistic development of the child and parent.
  • Whenever children feel bored or lonely, they tend to pick up books rather than gadgets. This is a habit best lead by example and it ensures that children are in the good company of books rather than misleading technology and gadgets.  

Let’s explore the how’s of storytelling and reading-

  • Start early – It is a well-known fact that the learning starts in the womb itself.  Programs like Garbhasanskar and ISP, train expecting couples to communicate to the child while in womb itself.   Neha Modi, a Chartered Accountant by profession, is a mother of two boys aged 9 and 2 years, residing in Mumbai.  While she was expecting, she joined a program that insisted on reading aloud to the child even when they were in the womb.  Hence, she and her husband started reading stories right from conception and continue doing it even now.  Needless to say, it has shown amazing results.
  • Invest in all kinds of books– In today’s time we are fortunate to have books in different forms – e-books, audio books and paperbacks. As per our comfort and preference we can invest in a wide genre of books of various subjects.  This opens up a whole new world to the child helping them to explore and expand their interest.  Darshika Malkani is a home maker, based in Sharjah and has a nine-year-old daughter. Ever since her daughter was born, she started buying books of different genres – spiritual stories, folklore, fairy tales, fables, science, history etc.  She would take a few books from each collection, read them out and replace them with a fresh collection of books once done.  
  • Make books accessible to your child – Many a times people invest in fancy book shelves, but seldom provide easy access to children. Books should always be kept in the vicinity of the child so that it is within their reach.  Darshika Malkani has creatively used her daughter’s bed to make an open book shelf, where she would neatly stack all her books.  This not only made the books attractive but also easily accessible, as her daughter would spend a lot of time on her bed with her choice of book.
Everyone loves a cute book-nook!
  • Be open to experimentation– When introducing our children to the world of reading, we should not be rigid with do’s and don’ts. Each child has a different way in which they perceive the outer world.  Let your children see, feel, smell and then slowly get to reading. Allow them to enjoy the process rather than rushing to finishing the book. Vidyashree Rai is a trained Kathak dancer who resides in Mumbai and has a five- and half-year old daughter.  When her daughter was two months old, she got a lot of books and just let her feel its texture or stare at the pictures.  Her intention was to explore and express.  As her daughter grew, she would not only sit with the books but would also jointly create their own stories. 

Let us go back to our roots by gifting our children an empty canvas and let them fill it up with their own imagination, stories and colours.

Priya Narayan

Priya Narayan is a professional writer and storyteller. She holds a post graduate degree in child development from SNDT Women’s University and is a trained Yoga Teacher from The Yoga Institute. She passionately writes poetry, blog posts, articles and stories across different genres. She also conducts regular workshops on creative writing and English language. She weaves magical stories for all age groups under her banner 'Sparkling Stories'. Music, theatre art and spiritual activities refresh and invigorate her life. She is an ardent practitioner of Reiki and Nichiren Buddhism and always strives to spread faith, happiness and harmony.