Bookboxes: How to Cultivate Readers

On a recent trip to St. Petersburg, we fell in love with a painting. The oil on canvas, which hangs in the Hermitage Museum, shows a little girl sitting on a bed with her dog, reading a book together. There is a world of flowers and trees outside. And the world inside; you saw this on the little girl’s hat, thrown in the corner. But girls and dogs are in their own world, and in a way, books make it possible. We splurge and bring back a parchment engraving of an 1881 painting by Finnish painter Albert Edelfelt.

On a recent trip to St. Petersburg, we fell in love with a painting.

Now hanging in our apartment in Mumbai, it is a daily reminder of the power of reading as children.

We are obligated to read aloud to our children.Use read aloud time as contact time, as time not to check your phone, and put the distractions of the world aside,” Neil Gaiman said.

Why have this obligation to your children and the world?

because the book club

Stimulate children’s imagination

expand his understanding of the world

develop her brain to better solve problems

Improve his communication skills

give her a sense of morality

increase his empathy

As we start celebrating International Literacy Day earlier this week, on September 8, here are six strategies for getting your kids to love books.

Reader improvement tip 1: Read aloud

Are you my mother?
Are you my mother?

pick up are you my mom? Via PD Eastman. Point to each word as you read. Voice over kittens, dogs, cows, little birds and mother birds. Do this with all the books you’ve read. Each of you can take turns playing different characters and voices, making it a fun game.

Boosting Reader Tip 2: Have Fun

Find books with rhyming and fun word games. In Dr. Seuss’s ABCs, every page has an alliteration.one is Auntie Anne’s CrocodileL is Little Lola Loop and Lazy lion licking a lollipop. B has bubble and a Bumblebee. Both are onomatopoeia, i.e. words formed from the sounds associated with them. and many more.

Boosting Reader Tip 3: Search for Words

Arthur's Reading Contest.
Arthur’s Reading Contest.

When I read Arthur’s reading contest to my daughter, I let her have her own words. We chose DW for her, which is easily identifiable, short for Dora Winnifred, Arthur’s little sister.When I read this book aloud, my five-year-old daughter would read D. Whenever a word appears in the text, say it out loud.words like this Arthur I read it, I told her.Soon she began to recognize these, claiming the word “mine” Arthur, read, ice cream some type of. Of course, I’m very happy about it, even if I have to pretend I’ve been deprived of my voice!

Reader-improving tip 4: Keep books of all levels of complexity within easy reach

Give up your inner Marie Kondo and make books available everywhere and within reach of your kids.
Give up the Kondo Marie in your heart and make books available everywhere and within reach of your children.

Give up the Kondo Marie in your heart and make books available everywhere and within reach of your children. Behavioral science tells us that small tweaks can do wonders for habits—one of which is the strategic placement of books with interesting covers and illustrations. Also keep a collection of books – simple books for easy reading, complex books to read aloud and chapter books for more complex stories.

Boosting Reader Tip 5: Combine Audiobooks with Paper Books

For older kids, it’s useful to have both print and audio versions of the same book – like Roald Dahl’s book or Stephen Fry’s voiced Harry Potter. Sound reinforces the print, which is great for kids whose learning styles may vary from visual to verbal. I don’t recommend any reading apps because even if the reason is worth it, why increase screen time?

Boosting Reader Tip 6: Be a Reading Family

Children of readers have a higher chance of becoming readers. So go to bookstores and libraries, buy books for the whole family, and set aside time for reading.

Now, we’re celebrating International Literacy Day in Mumbai at Kahani Tree Bookstore, which is planning a reading session on Missing Beauty, a picture book in English and Hindi. Meet bookstore founder Sangeeta Bhansali as she gives us her advice in these edited excerpts from the conversation. If you live in Mumbai, Kahani Tree is the best place to pick up these book recommendations. If you live outside of Mumbai, this is a great opportunity to check out an independent bookstore near you.

Sangeeta Bhansali with young readers at Kahani Tree.
Sangeeta Bhansali with young readers at Kahani Tree.

How did the bookstore start?

Kahani Tree starts with a wish. As a parent of two young boys, I wanted to diversify my children’s bookshelves. They have great international picture books, but no non-mythical contemporary Indian picture books. I do find books like this, but they are usually from small independent publishers in India with very little circulation. So with the support of Vakils, my family’s printing/publishing company, I approached the Cathedral and John Connon School, where my children attend, and others, to offer these books. For the first 10 years, we only worked through the city’s school book fairs and children’s literature festivals.

We only had a wall of books, and then in 2017, we expanded to a store space.

How important is it to help your child become a reader?

It’s hard to say it sounds cliché, but our children are our future. To help them reach their full potential, they need access to good books. Reading the right books helps our children grow into kind, compassionate human beings and responsible global citizens.

What are your favorite picture books?

We love books that allow kids to ask questions about the world around them, about important issues like equity, difference, and acceptance. Books that help children remain curious, thoughtful, kind, and questioning reflect the diversity of our world and empower children to change our world.Some recent favorites are The Miracle of Sunderbaag Street, Bumoni’s Banana, Nani’s Park Walk, Milo’s Imaginary World, Cry Heart, but Never Break, There are Ghost in my House and Beauty is Missing.

Sangeeta Bhansali's favorite picture book.
Sangeeta Bhansali’s favorite picture book.

What are the highs and lows of running a bookstore?

The biggest culmination is the book fans who visit our store.A few years ago we curated a collection of Indian children’s books for the library of master architect Tadao Ando Nakanoshima Children’s Book Forest in Osaka, Japan. They are books from Indian publishers Tara, Tulika, Katha, Pickle Yolk, Karadi and more. Another item that made us happy was the Kahani Tree Story Bag. Designed for public schools and organizations working with underprivileged children, it can be used in classrooms, libraries and even create reading corners.

The low point is the challenge of building a series of excellent international books. We are eager for major publishers to launch internationally winning titles at affordable prices.

What are your personal favorite bookstores around the world?

Liberia Per Ragazzi in Bologna, Daunt in London and Linden Book Store in Palo Alto

Finally, which picture books do you give away most often?

Books for young adults by Oliver Jeffers and Shaun Tan, books for educators and librarian friends by Patricia Polacco, and books for babies/toddlers by Gajapati Kulpati.

Finally, in mourning, on the passing of Queen Elizabeth of England, here is a beautiful little book about a queen who fell in love with reading. I won’t say much about The Uncommon Reader, except that it’s a novella gem that will make you happy.

rare reader.
rare reader.

Next week we move from Queen to Democracy with some thought-provoking headlines to celebrate International Day of Democracy.

Until then, happy reading!

Sonya Dutta Choudhury is a Mumbai-based journalist and founder of custom book service Sonya’s Book Box. Each week, she brings you specially curated books that give you an immersive understanding of people and places. If you have any reading suggestions or suggestions, please write to her sonyasbookbox@gmail.com

Opinions expressed are personal

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