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Reading Together - The world of Books

To most of us, our childhood consists of somewhere along the lines of ‘Once Upon a Time’ and it will end with a ‘Happily Ever After’. An infamous line of cringe-worthy fairytales and ever lasting story of a Prince Charming and his Princess, these are the stories that kept us going and kept my imagination running in many creative ways as a young child. Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood.. name it - we’ve listened to all these fairytales at least once.

For me, something I find common among these fairytales is the soothing and calming voice of my mother telling these stories to me before bed and the way my father would act out the characters; the evil deep creases of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, the wicked Stepmother from Cinderella to the amazing adventurous Peter Pan. As much as they were poorly re-enacted, these were scenes that were imprinted in my memory as a young child, giving me warmth and comfort at night sometimes making me wonder where my Prince Charming was - and I still do. Moving forward 20 years later, the existence of an immaculate form of object that has been used for various forms of actions, studies and even entertainment - the digital communication box or also commonly known as our phones. As i grew up, i realized that having a part of me still stuck in the fairytale world has actually helped me in creating wonders and beautiful stories for children, expressing the emotions and portraying the character’s intentions.

Walking down the metro, you can see children, tonnes of them - from the age of 12 months to as old as our young 13 teenager. The smiles and laughter on their faces brought warmth to me until i looked down and see them holding IT. Right ladies and gentlemen, we have unfortunately sold ourselves, and our children, to the world of technology. As much as we could not and never will escape from the techno world, it doesn’t mean a simple short period of human interaction is not needed. Especially young children. At the tender age of 5 months, children develop a sense of belonging and need where they would love to hear their parents speak to them and express their love to them - despite us thinking they would not even understand a word we say. The beauty of a human brain develops differently as we grow older, for young children, they tend to have a soft spot for human interaction. This is among the many reason why you can never replace teachers with robots. Young kids require response, sincere ones, where we are able to create a nice conversation going with them expressing their ideas and wildest imagination. Some parents ask me, where do i start then? That is easy! Story telling! If we can’t find a topic to talk about with our kids, start by talking about a book you’ve read or an article that you found on the newspaper. I used to hate reading news articles given by my father, but oh boy, how important it is to allow our kids to be naturally aware of the things that are happening around us. They wont have to read the whole article, you read it and let them express their emotions, feelings and reactions towards the news. Story telling is a form of art, where the reader tells a story based on their own emotions, movements and feelings. Different reader will read the same books differently. Same goes to how different it is when a teacher reads a book to how a parent reads a book to the child. Start by tucking your child in bed and snuggle close with them with a book on your hands. This portray the image as to how a day should perfectly ends.

When we read to young children, they listen, they absorb and they imagine. The words we say, they will learn and the lesson we taught, they will cherish. Reading a book creates a significant impact on young children and we would want to see it through their actions, the way they react towards the world and how they see things around them. You can start with as simple as Cinderella or to a more complex Wizard of Oz. All stories creates lessons for us to learn from and these are lessons that we have to teach our children verbally and not through YouTube or a women Audio. Our kids spend most of their time in school during weekdays, so it would be great for us to at least seat down and talk with them on our off days - these provides a sense of balance in their lives, knowing that school (a learning centre) is a place for them to be free and enjoy while home is a place of warmth and love from their family. Children listens a lot, theoretically. They might seem like they ignore you, but trust me, whatever you say, will be remembered by them regardless. So why not start by telling and saying beautiful and wonderful things about the world of books.

During this difficult time, the pandemic season, is taking a toll on everyone; kids, young adults and even the elderly. As much as we wish normal comes back, we should get used to this new normal. So, now that we are spending a tad bit more time at home, it is the perfect moment to start our story telling session - home edition. Create a cozy corner, it can be near the balcony where you can read under the stars or even in the comfort of your bedroom, just to be prepared when the eyelids get heavy. Grab a book, and start. Its as simple as that. As we read, we put our emotions in it and our children will start questioning us. ‘Mommy, who’s Belle?’, “Mommy why is Stepmother evil?’ Or even ‘Dad, can our carpet fly too?’. When they start asking these questions, do know, the story telling is getting interesting and that is just perfect. There is no right or wrong when it comes to reading, one just have to put your heart to it and share this love with your children. They will definitely love it.

So start making that cozy corner of yours and share with me your favourite books to read. Well mine is the classic Wizard of Oz. What’s yours?

Iffah Humaira E.T


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