"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." The above statement is an unarguable reality. However, a four years old kid playing mobile games, nowadays, does not make individuals amazed any longer. But a little boy or girl reciting a rhyme or telling a story still makes people stunned and attracts their attention.
Sumaiya Jahan, a 28 years old housewife who is the mother of five-year old girl Obonti said that her daughter cannot sleep without bed-time stories and sometimes Sumaiya finds it difficult to make new stories everyday. That is why she bought some fairy tale books with colourful pictures in it. Kids growing up in an atmosphere full of fairy tale books, comics, detective stories, horror stories, etc. helps them not only to enjoy their childhood, but also broadens their knowledge about culture and important language skills.
Normally children like fairy tales, fables, horror stories at the age of three to seven years. Participation books help them learn how to interact, such as clapping their hands, covering eyes, touching toes, etc. At this age, concept books help children to understand an idea, relationship or theme. Poetry and nursery rhymes are generally recited from the memory of parents or grandparents which introduce children to the sounds of language or culture.
Between grade two to five, mix fiction and nonfiction that follows their fascination are good choices. History buffs can travel back in time and see how the country became independent.Those who are curious about things around will be interested in sci-fi adventures. Some children may suffer difficulty to make the transition from picture to chapter books. In that case, easy-to-read books, series books like Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Kakababu, Feluda, Tin Goyenda, comic books, etc. can help to catch up their attention and encourage them to read books with parents, maintaining regularity.
While selecting books for children, parents must understand the attention span of them. It is mandatory to try to buy them books which will constantly increase their attention span when they are ready. Reading books with them about the subject matters they know a little or nothing about, is a great way of expanding their knowledge about this vast world.
However, the whole world opens up to a child when they learn to read books themselves. It is important to introduce children to their own culture and literature first; but parents must remember that they should not limit their children in only one culture. Allowing them to read literature from different countries will get them introduced to cultural diversity.
Atika Aktari Begum, a teacher of Keranirhat Government Primary School, Rangpur shared, "When a six years old kid reads fairy tales and books full of pictures and colours, he/she begins to dive into the world of imagination." She believes that once a kid starts to love reading books, then there is no coming back from that which is a really good thing for building a strong personality.
According to Atika, children should not be forced to read only academic books.They should be encouraged to read books that excite them and help them to learn more about other cultures. Only reading about the life of great people cannot make them great someday if they do not find that charming. On the other hand, reading thrillers, travel stories, science fictions can let them build their own world of imagination and help them create their own point of view which will help them in the long run.
Perhaps, in the 1990s, every kid spent their childhood saving money for buying a new 'Tin Goyenda' book. Diving into the world of thriller with Kakabau and Byomkesh made the childhood better in every possible way back then. Sharmin Islam,a university admission seeker, passed HSC from Cantonment Public School and College, Rangpur, started reading Aesop's Fables when she was only five. Her first read novel was 'PahareFeluda' by Satyajit Ray. And gradually when she grew up, she got introduced with many new books as she became a member of 'Bishwo Shahitto Kendro' (World Literature Centre).
She continued to read 'Sherlock Holmes,' 'Byomkesh,' 'Harry Potter,' and many more 'kishore classics.' Later, she started reading Rabindranath, Bibhutibhushan, Manik, Samaresh, Sunil and also many foreign writers' books. Her parents were really cooperative and they preferred her to read a lot of books for which she could explore diverse culture through literature and see the broader picture of the world around her.
Just like the famous American entrepreneur Walt Disney said, "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on treasure island." Children's treasure hunting starts from finding the books they find interesting in childhood and this treasure hunting never ends as they go on exploring and reading amazing books to unlock new treasures of knowledge. And this lifelong reading habit can only be moulded by the parents who, with thoughtful efforts of buying books to children rather than toys only, can open doors to a shining future for their children.
Jarin is currently studying law at Bangladesh University of Professionals. [email protected]