World of Books – Selecting Books for your Child

As a child, I was always fascinated by books and visiting the school library for that one period in a week was much awaited. Earlier in the ’80s or early ’90s, most schools had the traditional approach toward academics and some standard activity periods or hobby periods were a part of the weekly timetable. Missing out on a games period or an activity period mattered a lot!!

Like many schools, we use to have only one library period in a week until now when book reading has become an integral part of our life. Library period meant to either quickly grab a magazine to turn the colourful pages kept on the long huge table or select one book from the lot already sorted by the librarian and get it issued.

As most of our textbooks in those days were in black and white print with hardly any pictures to look at, we were all attracted to the colourful books kept on library shelves.

Today when you have numerous publishers coming up with beautifully designed books, it is difficult to choose the course book which is so appealing and comes with an interactive cd and an e-version to read.

As a child, I always wished to go through the racks of books stacked in the library and select my book from the shelves but it never really happened.

In Primary classes, you hardly get a chance to even get up from your seat to be close to the bookshelves. By the time you reach grade XI-XII, the course book and reference books from the library become our priority and this continues till graduation.

I was fortunate to visit book fairs that use to happen in our city every year in winter and got to see many stalls with a variety of books.

As we approached the late ’90s the mall culture was getting introduced and a few book stores displayed all sorts of books with a small arrangement to sit and read with a cup of coffee. The best part was that one could choose to spend as much time as one wants to explore the books.

My love for books got triggered when I walked into a book store with my 5yr old son and wanted him to get introduced to the world of books. Now I am delighted as I get plenty of options to choose from.

Today one can get books of all shapes, sizes, and colours with beautiful illustrations, HD quality pictures, and prints.

At times, when you are in a book store, surrounded by wonderful books, you end up buying books that might not be matching your child’s interest. You must have heard or seen other children getting those books and hence picked up that book for your kid but this might not be enjoyed by your child.

So, it’s very important to remember reading is not a quantitative activity, rather it’s a personal experience. Children of the same age may have different levels of interest in reading.

The five rules that can help to select a book for your child are:

  • Try to give options to your child. Observe carefully what attracts him/her
  • Is he looking for books with illustrations or with pictures of cartoon characters or narratives?
  • Read a page or two with your child to understand his reading level. If you find your child is unable to read or not aware of the meaning of more than 5 words, then it is not him. Look for an easier book.
  • Choose a book that you feel will make him read or go through without any compulsion to finish.
  • Besides these, we have e-books and audiobooks. Review before purchasing. Make it a habit to visit a book store, book fair or community library with your child

As rightly said by J.K. Rowling, “I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book”

Antara Roy

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