“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies … The man who never reads lives only once.” ~ George R.R. Martin
My family is passionate about reading. And my kids have an insatiable appetite for books. This may sound insane to some parents but I have often told my children to stop burying their heads in books and get a life. However, the same zeal for reading was not present in me, initially, when I was a child.
I was a late bloomer when it came to the habit of reading. My first foray into books began at the age of 11 when I was stuck in a hospital room on two occasions due to medical complications. I was bored stiff and my only escape from the confines of the ward was to indulge myself in a couple of Enid Blyton books that my mum had rented from a bookshop near my house. Thus began my love affair with books and my life-long journey into the wonderful world of the written word. I wasn’t exactly a sociable kid, either, as I was an only child with over-protective parents. So, books became my trusted companion. They transported me to places that I was unable to venture to physically, introduced me to people from across the ages, and acquainted me with stuff that I had not encountered previously.
When I was blessed with two kids, I started to inculcate into them the habit of reading from a very young age. Reading simple stories to them even when they were two years old was a norm. They enjoyed a good bedtime story before being lulled off into dreamland. They gradually started reading by themselves. Their voracious appetite for books and knowledge has not waned twenty years down the road. Our home has a large room dedicated to books – one might call it a mini library. It is the best-loved room in the house, I should add, for my family.
Their passion for books and perpetual hunger for knowledge have benefitted them academically. The habit of reading has trained them to research information independently without the need for extra coaching outside regular school hours. My kids have never had any tuition nor attended any extra classes after school in all their 11 years of schooling (save for one short period of coaching to prepare my son for the SPM Malay paper). The absence of extra tuition in their daily schedule has freed up time tremendously for recreation and other fun activities. Reading from a young age has, ironically, helped them lead more balanced lives later in life. Mummy is also less stressed as the kids are able to glean knowledge independently, and she is able to indulge in activities that are normally unattainable for mothers of growing teens.
In my humble opinion, encouraging reading in children from a very young age helps them to lead more productive and balanced lives as they grow older. When a child develops a passion for reading, half the battle is already won in his/ her quest for knowledge. My family is a testament to that.
Thank you Valencia Jesudoss for sharing your story with us.
Tags: critical thinking, parenting, reading