Digital Dimdima

PARENT'S TALK

The Reading Habit

Author - Shoma Mittra

While my two elder daughters are veritable book worms, my youngest keeps as far away from books as he can. This is probably the effect of the ubiquitous idiot box. He gets up from sleep and walks like an automaton to reach for the remote. Almost blindly he hurls himself on the drawing room couch and flips on his favourite channel….his half wakefulness lasts him another fifteen minutes or so.
But in all fairness, the television set existed even when my daughters were young; how then did I get them into the reading habit?
It all really started with the potty seat, to be honest. When I had to seat them on that little mobile toilet, it was quite a task to keep them fixed on the seat. The best object I could find at hand was a picture book with pop up pictures. They were enthralled when they pressed a stubby finger on the duck’s stomach and it let out a quack. It also helped them remain on the seat long enough to give their performances.
My third however, (when his time came to sit on the seat) was more prone to peering behind the cover of the book and trying to figure out what really made the duck quack. Eventually, he found the button and a couple of days of concerted effort had the button pop out. That was, of course, the end of the duck’s quack!
As he grew up, Legos and Meccanos claimed his attention . Books were meant to be chewed on or torn up. I hurriedly stashed away the good ones, hoping that as he grew up, his interest would perk. But no such luck. After the age of five, by which time every child normally begins to read three and four letter words, I began to tell him bedtime stories; but much to my consternation he found tales of fairies and goblins silly. Adventure stories interested him somewhat but not enough to pick up a book on his own.
Now he is almost 9 and we still wonder how come in a family which thrives on books and music we have a member who does not like to read! That does not mean that he doesn’t ever pick up a book. He does; but it is mostly to find out about things – which in a way is good enough, I suppose.
While the rest of us read a book when we go to bed, my youngest takes a book with him just so he can fall asleep instantly! Sad but true.

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