Cultivating reading habit

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. –Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Every time we visit any book exhibition there she is ready with handful of books. My six-year young daughter has a large collection of books because she loves stories. She makes us purchase the books and read them to her. We happily do it and make sure that she reads the first line of every story. I was happy to notice that eventually my daughter could read the first line without mistakes and at a very good pace. I considered it as a sign of good progress and asked her to read next line and she insisted that I should read rest of the story. I requested her many times but she would simply refuse.

I could see that my daughter is capable of reading but is not motivated to read on her own. To motivate her I devised a plan last month. I told her that she would earn Rs 1 for every short story she would read on her own. She beamed with happiness and started reading her short stories ‘Noddy series’, ‘Bus adventure’, ‘Champak’ and other stories from ‘Lotpot’. Plan worked. She earned Rs 12 in two days. On third day, she could buy an ice-cream of Rs 15 from her earned money. Motivational factor was working magically. It took her 15 days to complete all her short stories and that’s pretty quick.

Yesterday, I introduced a new money plan to her and it was Rs 5 for each long story. Her enthusiasm also leaped five times and she completed ‘The story of Cinderella’ and got her money. Now next in her reading line is ‘The story of Rapunzel’. It is really good to see her motivated to read books.

I am trying to deepen her friendship with books for two reasons.One shortsighted aspect is that now she would be promoted to grade 2, which means she has to spend more time with books. She needs to be independent, to a certain level, to go through her books. Till now, she is self-dependent girl when it comes to doing her homework and preparing for her class tests. I don’t have to remind her and sit with her. I do so when she requests me to assist her. Her confidence has roots in her capability of studying on her own while her friends go to tuition classes. I really want my daughter to be confident in second grade as well. Another longsighted aspect is that she would cultivate a good habit to keep herself busy and would also enjoy her free time in a good company.

I intend to keep this motivational factor going until she develops self-motivation. I am aware that currently she is more interested in money than in books reading. But I also have firm believe that she will eventually develop a taste and habit of reading. I am in no hurry, and I am ready to go on with this incremental money plan for years. Might be possible that if her academic syllabus would overload her then she might resign to reading anything other than course books. But once she has learnt how to be in company of books then she can pick it up anytime she feels the need.



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