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How to get Children Excited About Reading? (Part One)


The heat has let up and children are back to school, again. How are y’all holding up? At Champaca we had a busy month- the comics-making workshop with Bangalore-based comics-maker Aparna Chivukula was a lot of fun. Kids learned to plan, write and draw their own comics, and we must say there are a lot of future artists, storytellers and graphic artists in the making!

Comics making workshop for children by Aprana Chivakula

On another relaxed Sunday morning, Champaca’s very own library educator and jury member of the Parag Honour List panel (that cherry-picks the best children’s books), Thejaswi Shivanand spoke to parents about how to get involved in the reading journey of children. It was a lovely and insightful session and as always heartwarming to see the avid interest among parents and children alike.

Thejaswi Shivanand at Champaca

How to get children excited about Reading? (Part One)

We noticed that most parents have only one question in their minds. How to get children excited about books? How to get children to fall in love with reading?  We think reading is a bit like falling asleep, it begins slowly, and then all at once. Once a child falls headlong into books, there is no turning back– once a reader, always a reader. We may not have all the answers, but we have put together a few ideas to make reading, fun.

Start a tradition of reading together: To start off, you can start reading Sunday comics together. Comic strips are short, visual and mostly funny. Poring over a Calvin and Hobbes strip every week and laughing together may not just kickstart a reading habit but make for precious memories too.

Plan field trips as extensions of your shared reading: Visit construction sites, museums, festivals, music events, basically places that are featured in books. After reading E.B White’s Charlotte’s Web, visit a barn to see how farm animals live! Visiting places featured in books gives children a visceral experience- an opportunity to see the pages they read come alive. This gives the impetus to read and explore more.

Kids love to voice opinions, just like we do: Maintain a little book review notebook where they can jot down their thoughts after reading a book, with stickers and thumbs up or down signs to make. Also, ask them questions- “Would you change any aspect of the story? “What do you think should happen next?”

Keep book characters “alive”: As your family faces different situations ask what a character they read about would do. For instance, would Hermione cry to go to school?

A Slice from History…Little Free Libraries 

In 2009, Todd Bol of Wisconsin pulled out the old floor of his garage and replaced it with a new one. The old wooden floorboards were still good. So he made a small wooden box with a sloping roof, painted it bright red and filled it with books and erected it on a post in his front garden. He stuck a note saying anyone was welcome to pick a book and if they had a book to spare, they could leave it in the box. This was just the beginning. This gave rise to The Little Library movement. Many people borrowed the books, left their own, chatted with people they have never met and started their own little libraries too!

Photo Credit: The New York Times


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