Reading and its impact : This four-year old exemplifies

As a facilitator and mentor I invest time with children and youth. I urge and beseech them to be curious and inquisitive. The first step is to read and read, as many variety of issues, subjects as they come across. That is the only way to enrich oneself and in the process gain confidence to face people, interact, engage and enthrall.

I have been sharing with 20+ year olds that I shall chaperon my 7 year old daughter, whose felicity with language and articulation is far beyond mine, to their class to interact and also address them the importance of reading every day. Thankfully both my young daughters are passionate about reading and it has enriched me too.

Here I came across an amazing ambassador of reading. I love to share this short video to inspire each one of you. Thanks to one who recorded it and shared.

Hope this video initiates a few youth to be more keen about reading!

The greatest gift any parent can give a child is to invest an hour every day to read a book from the very early childhood. A pictorial story book with a toddler to amar chitra kathas and so on. Read in as many languages as possible – at least in all those that any adult at home can speak and read. The process will not only stoke language skills, but also imaginative and creative skills when you discuss.

Happy reading.

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Inculcating the passion for reading, stoking imagination, building linguistic excellence

Our daughter, Svwara, yesterday came to me at night, when I came back home and said that she had a surprise for me. The games of surprise keep happening at our home, all the time. It is a way of enthusing one another.

Svwara said that she would read four books to me that night before she went to bed. “Wow!,” was my response. As this is the reverse of the usual exercise. Every night before she hits the bed she wants either Indira or me read four to five books, that she would select.

Here are a couple of books that she read to me that night. I wanted to record for this article.

Yes, she is able to recognize the letters of language, at times she may even write the letters that is a mirror image of the letter. This may happen till the age of six.

But, she reads every book verbatim, without knowing the words!! Its just like any other rhyme that she learnt. The entire book is a rhyme. She remembers every word and sentence there in. Simply because these books have been read umpteen number of times, as part of her ritual every night.

For a four-year-old, Svwara’s vocabulary and expression in the English is way beyond her years. Many an elder is startled at her ability to construct complex sentences with vocabulary that even I may not use. Her ability to imagine and draw a visual in a context of a story, is fascinating.

All these have happened because of one and only one activity since her childhood – reading that Indira has imbibed in her since Svwara’s infancy, more than me.

Our elder daughter, Mallika (12) who is a voracious reader herself, who finishes big tomes every week, is surprised at Svwara’s ability to articulate such complex thoughts with great felicity. Mallika has been a precocious child herself and now she is enamoured of Svwara’s.

The greatest gift each one of us can really bestow to any child is reading. Hope this journey is just a beginning of an exciting journey of discovering the world through books and much much more.

Creating the Magic in humans – Investing time with children, enabling them excel

The first fourteen years of a child’s journey is very significant. The intellectual growth of a child happens during this phase. Only when critical thinking and problem solving dimension gains a critical mass, the physiological body matures.

If I have to be more specific, by the age of three, a child’s ability to observe and analyze a particular situation, i.e. mental faculties, match 80% of an adult; by the time she is eight the match is 90% adult, by fourteen 98% adult.

The question is, as an adult or a parent, how many of us do anything during this critical phase? What is the role of a parent during this critical phase of first fourteen years?

Sorry to say, most of the childhood is neglected, as they count for nothing in a society. Not to offend any, but in the current context, working mother’s want to get back to work immediately after the child’s birth. Without office, they feel like fish out of water. Since I have been in the education space and early childhood space is one of my passions, I invest a lot of time counseling a young mother about the significance of their presence in the first 4-5 years of the child’s life. The nuclear families have house-maids and nannies. Need to really think how this would really impact a child. Yes, crèches take care of the kids! But what impact does the crowded crèche leave on the child.

I do many a workshops on parenting and facilitating a child. My sessions on ‘Multiple intelligence’ and ‘Enabling the leader in your child’ are most sought-after among the parents of school-going children. Will upload a couple of sessions online… But I just thought of sharing a couple of thoughts here….

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Books are the best friends parents can ever help their children befriend with. Nothing can match books in igniting the imagination and creativity in a child. It needs a lot of investment initially – book reading, story telling, selecting and flooding home with books, oneself indulging in it regularly … Once you set them on that path, rest assured you have made their lives…

Creativity is a casualty in our school education system. Performance in the exams, marks take such an importance, that everything else is left behind. So even critical thinking and analytical skills take a beating. It is all about rote-learning and vomiting in the examination hall.

So parents and families really need to invest more time on building the ‘right brain’ – creativity and emotional intelligence. Only thing that we can give a child to really enable her excel, is time. Coming to time, any amount of time that we can give to a child is less …..

Will talk about other activities soon, that you could engage the child to excel…. till them invest time with books.

Thanks to Indira Ganesh, Mallika Nethra Sreenivasan is a book worm (;)) and Svwara imitates Mallika ….A Bookshop is the safest bet to keep both of them gainfully for the whole day, calmly and peacefully…

Dualities – Glaring : Education Spaces of India Vs Bharat

My travels take me all over and I get to experience the contrasting India. While we hail the India Idea, the developing India, there is a great amount of work to be done in the backward Bharat. Here is a telling visual story about contrasting India Vs Bharat…

These photos are contrasted between the Madarasa for girls in Champaran, Bihar with Indus World School, Hyderabad. Even in adversity, the children in Madarasa were very involved. Over 150 girls studying under one small source of light, lit by a small lpg cylinder.

These contrasting photos are from different schools in Champaran district, Bihar. When we showed a short film on the laptop, the students were so eager to know about the contraption and much more. The curiosity is usually killed by the education system.

These two schools and classrooms are so contrasting for their abundance and barrenness. They are from Noida and Champaran respectively.

Wisdom and insights from Mallika’s books and readings!

Mallika is obsessed of reading books and books.. It is her staple diet. Indira, my better half, has been a great contributor to this habit of Mallika – reading. Ever since we have been blessed with Aru, our second daughter, Indira could hardly spare time to read books for Mallika and she slowly started reading books by herself. Whenever I am at home, I try to be part of Mallika’s book reading exercises.

No body can disturb her when she is reading. This afternoon, Mallika was insisting on finishing her book, before coming to sit with all of us for her lunch. I went and sat next to her with another book from her grand collection – An Amar Chitra Katha – Tales of Yudhishtira.

while reading the book, I was again reminded of the influence books can have on a young mind…and the old alike… They are just like mirror to show you who you are..

The dialogue between Yama and Yudhishtira –

Yama – What makes an individual an enlightened one (Brahmin) – Birth, Conduct or Learning?
Yudhishtir – It is behaviour that makes one enlightened

Yama – What is that causes ceaseless wonder?
Yudhishtir – Day after day, countless people die. Yet, the living wish to live forever. What could be more extraordinary?

Yama – How do you become rich? How do you become happy?
Yudhishtir – If you abandon LUST, you will be rich. If you abandon DESIRE, you will be happy.

It had such a profound impact on me, just reading these dialogues this afternoon. I felt, these easy to read story books can be of immense value at any stage of life. I felt very blessed reading them with Mallika. I thought I should blog what struck me and will stick with me for life..

Mallika has finished reading thrice over, 120 of Amar chitra katha’s mythology and history collection… it is like back of her hand!!

Love. Sreeni

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