Efforts to entice young children into reading story books
Long Long Ago, an online library for children's books, conducted a story-telling session for children and an interactive session for parents.
The idea of holding the session was to entice young ones into reading story books, said Hemalatha Ramesh, who conducted the session. She is also in-charge of the business development of www.longlongago.in
“Kids as young as six months old can be initiated into reading. But children of such a young age do not actually read but only see visuals in the books, to which they get attracted because of colours and shapes. For, bright colours excite children.”
The challenge is to orient the parents to introduce books to children, she says and adds that the purpose of the story telling session was also that.
“Parents have to be told about the right kinds of books – books that have pictures with bright colours, books that pop-out pictures when opened, books that play music, etc. And the books should be age-appropriate,” compliments Hari Raj, founder, Long Long Ago.
But books alone will not do wonders, they say.
The person engaged in story telling should modulate his or her voice, employ gestures and engage the children so much so that they are in rapt attention, Ms. Hemalatha says.
“When stories are narrated in such a fashion children's creativity, vocabulary, incidental learning increases and their urge to know grow,” she says.
The children's social skills are also tapped, adds Mr. Raj.
“For example, when children read about the bullying in a story, they learn how to respond to bullying. They also, without realising that they are learning, pick up social skills that help them negotiate with real-life situations.”
Ms. Hemalatha says such story telling sessions have become necessary after the disintegration of joint families. “One of the roles of grandparents was narrating stories to young ones, who listen in rapt attention. This no longer exists in most families.”
Today, though, the tradition of story telling is lost. And, children are with care takers and left to fend for themselves in front of television sets.
Jaya Ramesh of Vidya Vardhi, a school for kindergarten children, says one of the first outcomes of conducting story telling or reading sessions is that the children's attention span increases.
“That is only one of the many positives, though. They are also able to think, sequence stories, improve vocabulary, and the list goes on…”
She has a regular reading/story telling session in her school.
S. Nithya, a parent, only concurs. She says her daughter S. Deekshita has learnt new words and interacts better because of reading and story telling sessions.
The class three student also makes it a point to complete all her story books, something she did not do earlier, she adds.