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How to Effectively Read Aloud to A Child?

(Tips for parents)

Blog on How to Effectively Read Aloud to a Child

“Reading aloud to children is the magic bullet for creating a lifelong reader”- 

(by Jim Trelease, ‘The Read-Aloud Handbook))

But how to do that! Aren’t you wondering about this? 

Before we dive into the method, let’s first understand what read aloud means, the purpose and the importance of reading aloud to or with children. 

Read aloud is the practise of reading out written words in an engaging way so as to stimulate a positive outlook towards books and reading. It is usually carried out by parents, caregivers and teachers. Reading aloud helps in developing a child’s imagination, improving their focus, enhancing their attention span, encouraging them to have a memorable, fun time with the reader, and building a lifelong habit of reading. 

Children’s brains are extremely malleable; they constantly watch, absorb and learn from the world around them. Reading aloud from picture books or chapter books forms the best external sensory input for children to be lifelong learners and readers during their critical developmental windows. Reading to a child has proven to be “brain-changing.” 

The purpose of read aloud sessions with a child is to decode the book for the child as much as we can so that we can take the child into the book where her/his mind feels free to process the new information, map her learning and understanding, grasp her own morals/lessons, imagine the characters and settings, experience the real-life situations through the character’s journey and make sense of what they see and hear. Children process a lot during the read aloud time.

Read aloud time in our child’s daily routine is the happy hour where the child’s mind is free to wander and enjoy the written words of a book, free from the struggles of vocabulary and decoding process of text and language, delivered to her in an easy to assimilate form by parents, caregivers or teachers. 

In the blog “Why Read Aloud to Children?”, we have covered wholesome noteworthy reasons for reading aloud. Do check it out!

Mentioned below is a read aloud method answering how to effectively read aloud to a child, followed by a few things to bear in mind for read aloud practises.

Method:

  1. Take a book-walk together before beginning to read the written words to your child.
In How to Effectively Read Aloud to a Child first step is to take a book-walk together before beginning to read the written words present inside of the book. Look at the pictures, know your author, read aloud book name and other simple yet interesting details.

Take a book-walk together before beginning to read the written words to your child. Introduce the book, read aloud the title and author’s name. Go over the texts and pictures featured on the front and back cover.

2. Give voice to the written words! 

Second step in How to Effectively Read Aloud to a Child is to begin reading the written words of the book, give voice to written words and narrate expressively.

Begin narrating expressively and in an engaging way. Give voice to the written words in the book. The text delivery, in terms of pace, intonation, action and the interaction during the read aloud time – in the form of questions & clarifications about the text plays a vital role in influencing the child’s feelings about reading and books.

3. Pause to allow your child to observe pictures! 

Step three or anytime during a read aloud time with your child pause to allow your child observe pictures whenever she or he proposes and instinctively also.

Resist rushing through the story; instead, pause to let your child take a look at the pictures present on the page. Allow them to go back and forth between the pages and have a look at the pictures and illustrations to make the connection with what was read out to them and infer what can follow. Ask your child if she could identify the character shown in the picture and co-relate with their actions.

Pausing helps children to relate with the visual images present on the pages, giving them time to process and connect with what was read out to them, helping them navigate through the story well and create a mental picture in sequential order. Pausing also helps children to create visual images of the story to memorize it better.

4. Pause to let your child predict the story!

Fourth step or anytime during a read aloud time pause to let your child predict the story whenever you feel inspired to ask questions.

Enable them to predict the story through open-ended prompts. Ask them questions like “What do you think?”, “How do you feel?”, “What do you see on this page?” Ask your child whether she/he could identify the character shown in the picture and what it is doing. Let them take their time to think, so patiently wait, listen to their predicted answers when they are ready and share your response later. This way they will start relating with the event themselves by taking hints from illustrations present on the page, thus analyzing the situations in a better way. If your child’s guesses are nowhere close, do not respond with a ‘No, this is not what it is” to their predicted answers, instead affirm their guesses but guide them to the actual answers by saying “XYZ was what the author had in mind to the ABC questions.”

Enabling a child to predict stories and pictures helps in building comprehension skills and strengthening their imagination. This also helps the child to pay full attention while studying school subjects or reading picture stories.

5. Pay close attention to body language! 

Fifth step in the read aloud method, and the one that goes without saying, throughout a read aloud time is to pay close attention to the body language of your child! Remember, patience is the key.

Adjust your reading speed and tone whenever you sense your child is feeling uninterested, thinking to themselves or distracted with the other things in the room. Use creative strategies to engage your child, like act out the story or talk like a character, sing up the rhyming words, or just rename the main character with your child’s name. Observe your child’s interests patiently while reading. Follow the child’s interests to make reading a fun experience for her.

6. Recap and discuss to reinforce the information for the deeper connection!

Sixth and last step in how to effectively read aloud to a child is to recap and discuss to reinforce the information for the deeper connection in the child's mind.

After you’ve finished reading the book or chapter take time out to recap and retell the major events, identify the main idea, ascertain key concepts, discuss mini-lessons, ask the favourite parts of the story, listen to their perspectives on “What-if” questions, revisit the critical vocabulary words, and repeat the catch-phrases and lines. Recapitulating or retelling helps in establishing a deeper connection of what they heard, saw or read. Be mindful not to make reading a source of conflict.

Things to keep in mind As You Read Aloud to Children:

  1. Improve attention span with gradual progression

Be patient with the child who is new to reading or hasn’t been read to very regularly. If you read a book for a whole long hour on the very first day, the chances are that your child might lose interest in reading. Start with just 10 – 15 minutes of reading aloud. Gradually increase the reading time. Also, keep Dr. Poole-Boykin attention span calculation in mind while planning the reading time of your child and if the child can stay focused longer, then partner them along for as long as they want. Just don’t let the child’s distraction bother you. Level up the reading time gradually and consciously when you are inculcating the habit of reading.

Things to keep in mind as you read aloud to children is to focus on ways to improve attention span with gradual progression and by avoiding overcorrection!

2. Avoid Overcorrection

Be patient with your child. Let them make mistakes and do not interrupt while they are responding to prompts eagerly. Correct them occasionally so they can remember things better. Overcorrecting them for every mistake would make them lose confidence in their reading ability.

3. Focus on Vocabulary and Grammar

While reading aloud, children pick up words, grammar, and correct pronunciation of words from their parents. While you explain the meaning of words, they understand the context through the sentences and also memorize complex words and vocabulary. Regular reading helps children build their vocabulary, have a better grip on their speech and expression and become fluent, confident readers. 

As you read aloud to your child, keep in mind to focus on Vocabulary and Grammar and Teach them the correct reading method.

4. Teach the reading method

Train the preschool children, the correct method of reading from left to right, pointing the words with the finger. Let them know how to handle a book properly, how to read sentences and decode the meaning of the story. 

5. Re-read the same book

Does it annoy you sometimes when your child asks you to read a particular book over and over, and if you are like me, who counts the number of times a particular book you’ve read to your child, then let me reassure you, it is a child’s instinctive way of learning the finer details of the information present in that particular book.

Have you ever caught yourself watching a movie for the 30th time? By now, you know the dialogues of that movie, you know when to fast forward or slow down, you rewind the favourite parts of the movie, catchy lines of different actors are on your tongue etc.

In the same way, children learn finer details through reiteration and repeated exposure to a story. Children learn and retain the subtleties a story contains through repetitions. With each repeated reading, a child gets to focus on different elements of the story, whether it is the vocabulary, the rhyme and rhythm, major events, the illustrations, plot, setting, story conflict, characters – there is a lot for the child to absorb, trust me!. And with each repeated reading the child makes a deeper connection with what they listen and see. Repetition brings in familiarity, which encourages pre-readers to take risks and participate when we ask them to predict stories, read complex sentences, and frame answers.  

Things to keep in mind as you read aloud to children is treat over rhymes and repetitions as you continue to re-read the same book

6. Treat over rhymes & repetitions

Children love rhymes, rhythms and repetitions; at least that’s what I have learnt from children’s most beloved author’s Dr. Seuss Books. Dr. Seuss’s books have funny stories, crazy creatures and zany pictures with the blend of repeating words, phrases and tongue twisters—repeating familiar words while reading helps them remember lines, words, phrases, sentences and even pauses in a sentence. This step builds their ability to read complex sentences. Affirming what your child said gives them confidence while reading.

This is it!

Remember, every reading session is uniquely different. And just as rightly quoted by Dr. Seuss “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” Then, what are you waiting for? Get ready to explore the method outlined above to enhance your child’s cognitive abilities and make them an independent and a lifelong reader. The above method and tips have firmed up with time by learning and growing as a reader (a parent who loves to read aloud) to my child. Feel free to borrow and customize it as per how you and your child would like read aloud time to be led.

Enjoy the happy hours of read aloud time daily with your little ones! And happy parenting!

Why Read Aloud to Children?

Why Read Aloud to Children, benefits and importance

“Every time we read to a child, we’re sending a ‘pleasure’ message to the child’s brain”, Jim Trelease (Bestselling Author of The Read-Aloud Handbook’)

So, why wait, bond over a book and read aloud to your little ones! Trust me, there’s nothing more entertaining than children’s books. Pictures, dramatic illustrations, rhymes, and rhythms make you wishing for more, and if you have little bundles of joy around you to read out to, then it’s the joy of joys! 

Coming straight to the topic, let’s look into some of the reasons why reading aloud to children is so important.

We all know that a child is able to respond to the auditory stimuli around them even before they take birth. Early language development in children happens by listening, and children learn a lot by listening and talking.

Psychologists suggest that reading to children plays a vital role in developing the initial and essential neural pathways in a child’s brain. Reading aloud to children helps them in oral language development, teaches them new words and paves the way for easy and effortless parent-child interaction. Besides that, very recent studies have suggested that reading aloud also helps in the reinforcement of new words and phrases, fosters word consciousness, provides mental nourishment and helps build a strong literacy ground for them.

Children are developing readers and learners of different books. Just visualise this – a child wrapped up warmly in her parent’s lap, being read her favourite stories and rhymes with conscious care and undivided focus, feeling reassured with the comforting voice of her parent. Does it not give positive and feel-good vibes? 

This learning and development of a child happening beneath the wings of her parents with conscious care blooms the child naturally, helps them grasp things quickly and retain things for long. The brain makes connections with the outside world easily, and the child feels reassured with the comforting voice and presence of her parent/s. 

Reading aloud books and stories to children provides a smooth and supportive scaffolding from the contrasting reality of their environment and helps them form a stronger social-emotional connection and rewiring of the existing neural networks. Reading aloud to children also helps them learn new concepts easily, improve their focus and attention span, introduce the child to a rich vocabulary, develop better grammatical understanding and foster effective literacy.

Now, let us take a deep dive into some of the key reasons as to why and how reading aloud to children is helpful:

  • Reading aloud to young children helps fill the word gap and build a foundation for success
Reading aloud to young children helps fill the word gap and build a foundation for success and in fostering word consciousness in children early on.

Words matter! As Geoff Barton says, ‘Words lie at the heart of our quest to address social mobility.’

We can share a wealth of words by reading out books to our children and help bridge the word gap to a large extent. A recent study ((Logan, Justice et al, 2019 [A]) highlighted that children entering kindergarten who were never read any books by their parents or caretakers till the age of 5 years had an approx. “word gap of one million” compared to those who were read one picture book every day by their parents or caretakers at home. According to that study, parents who read a picture book every day to their children enter kindergarten hearing 1.4 million additional words than the children who are never read to by their parents.

Please note: The purpose of the above data is to help you predict reading skills in school and the later literacy success of a child who is read daily by her/his parents. The above data doesn’t mean that children who have heard a million words by the age of 5 years begin to read or write the new words. It only means that a child is more word conscious and that these words would eventually transfer onto their writing and reading as they move up the academic ladder. 

Reading aloud to children daily along with the parent-child discussions and imaginative plays [B] helps shorten the word gap in children early enough, thus enabling them to communicate with confidence, having good oral language and extensive vocabulary, which eventually leads to academic success.

  • Develop global competencies and attributes-
To develop 21st century skills reading aloud books to children is very important. It helps in developing global competency skills.

Technology has made the world flat/small, and global competency skill is an important 21st-century skill to keep in mind to make our children future-ready. The probability of children (in their teens or even in tweens or earlier) collaborating and working together with children from different parts of the world on a common project or idea is high. So, children who develop an interconnected worldview and have global mindedness in their early years thrive; work well with mission oriented-feelings and a collaborative problem-solving mindset. And what better resource to help them navigate through different cultures and social conventions than children’s books, child-friendly magazines and journals there can be. And who better than parents there can be to teach them that.

Do listen to the views of the renowned researcher and a passionate advocate of children’s literacy Dr Keisha Siriboe’s TEDx Talk on this.

  • Reading aloud enhances children’s imaginative and creative abilities
Reading Aloud books to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world

Reading aloud to children introduces them to a world that differs from theirs and exposes them to myriads of situations and experiences. This new world acts as a stimulant and unlocks the child’s imagination and creativity, opening the door of enquiry and possibilities.

  • Reading aloud books develops emotional faculties and benefits behaviors-
Reading Aloud books to kids helps in developing emotional faculties and therefore benefits behaviours

An author’s work always contains a range of emotions. When we read aloud to our children, we give voice to the words and expressions with the rise and fall in our voice. As we read, the child is able to relate with the characters and context in the book easily and becomes sensitive to such emotional variations. Children also learn to use words to describe their feelings in the process. They are able to express their needs and uncomfortable feelings in a better way. When children are able to express their needs and big emotions, they feel more regulated and better in charge of their emotions. So, reading aloud benefits behaviors.

  • Reading aloud helps children cope up with stress and anxieties-
Another powerful reason of reading aloud to children is it helps children cope up with stress and anxieties.

“Every time we read to a child, we’re sending a ‘pleasure’ message to the child’s brain”, says Jim Trelease. Despite the book containing intriguing images and artwork, one-to-one narration and reading time with parents makes the whole reading and learning experience a positive and a nurturing activity for children.

“Reading aloud to children is the magic bullet for creating a lifelong reader”, says Jim Trelease*. Reading aloud helps in creating a positive view of books and reading in a child’s mind. This bonding moment over reading helps children return to reading later in life if they get busy with work or childrearing responsibilities because ‘reading’ reminds them of happy times with parents, and there’s nothing better than reading. So, reading aloud to children today helps them later in life also.

  • Read aloud to build Vocabulary and better Grammar understanding-
Another powerful reasons of reading aloud books to children is that reading aloud helps build Vocabulary and develop better Grammar understanding

When parents read aloud to children, children pick up new words and expressions, right syntax, pragmatics and semantics, the correct pronunciation of words, understand grammar better. While you explain the meaning of words, they understand the context through the sentences and also memorize complex words. Regular reading helps children build their vocabulary, have a better grip on their speech and expression, resulting in them becoming fluent, confident readers and speakers.

  • Setting social contexts, imparting cultural knowledge, instilling values-
One powerful reason of reading aloud books to kids- It helps in setting social contexts, imparting cultural knowledge, instilling values

Reading aloud to children opens to them whole new worlds of enquiry, exposes them to an array of real-life situations, diverse cultures, abundant characters and expressions. Children are able to think, identify and imagine situations while listening to their parents. They also grasp their own lessons and morals during the narration process and store them in memory. So, by reading aloud the right kind of children’s picture books and stories to our children we can create awareness of real-life situations that can be averted. This form of education is known as Preventive Education, which is very important for children. 

The benefits of reading aloud to children are infinite. To sum up, in a few points, here I go… Reading aloud helps children in:

  1. Improving their focus in reading and their attention span,
  2. Enhancing their brain functioning in supporting literacy,
  3. Fostering word consciousness,
  4. Promoting active listening skills
  5. Channelling the behaviors like aggression and hyperactivity
  6. Formation of stronger social-emotional connections with peers,
  7. Setting social contexts and imparting cultural knowledge,
  8. Imagining more richly, promoting creativity
  9. Boosting their confidence,
  10. Learning how to use comprehension strategies
  11. Widening perspectives,
  12. Strengthening the bond between parents and child,
  13. Establishing a successful reading habit, and
  14. Gaining the lifelong love of reading

The good news for parents is that the parenting wisdom ‘Read Aloud to children every day’ is easy to follow. Reading aloud to your child requires only book/s and parent’s willingness to spend a little quality time with little one/s every day.

There is more good news:

Reading aloud to a child doesn’t need to happen in a particular language. And there’s no point in reading to a child in the language a parent is not comfortable in. Also, do not worry about non-native English accent and fluency because the works of many authors are available online as audio recordings done by the speech-over artists, which can help along the way.

Consider reading aloud to your little one as soon as she/he is able to sit up in your lap and all the way to their tweens and teens. Only the reading aloud strategies and ways for different age group children can vary. One can even read to children a line, an excerpt, a paragraph or two when they are grown up adults doing very well in their careers. Maybe it would not be the bedtime stories for a young adult; it could be anything you have read on the internet, a classic novel, a self-help book, or op-ed pieces in the press. It can absolutely be anything we can read aloud in our voice to nourish and nurture the reading habit, the bond and the connection.

And when our children start sharing what they are reading with us, the parents, then we know we have done our job well and helped them become the readers and thinkers, says Matthew Raggett (The Doon Schools’ 10th Headmaster). He also cautions us to be careful not to make reading a source of conflict. I highly recommend parents reading the book ‘How Your Child Can Win in Life’ by Matthew Raggett, at least the first three chapters of the book.

As parents and caregivers, we must make choices to ensure the time spent with our children is of a high-quality one over quantity. As simple as, taking out time for face-to-face interaction-based reading time can nurture the young mind multi-fold and help parent-child make fond memories.

Savour the moments and make memories by reading aloud to your little ones, and thank you so much for reading the blog! Happy Parenting, and see you on the next blog topic, “How to Effectively Read Aloud to A Child? (Tips for Parents)”!

References: [A] Logan JAR, Justice LM, Yumuş M, Chaparro-Moreno LJ. When Children Are Not Read to at Home: The Million Word Gap. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2019 Jun;40(5):383-386. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000657. PMID: 30908424.

[B] Alan L. Mendelsohn, Carolyn Brockmeyer Cates, Adriana Weisleder, Samantha Berkule Johnson, Anne M. Seery, Caitlin F. Canfield, Harris S. Huberman and Benard P. Dreyer Pediatrics May 2018, 141 (5) e20173393; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-3393

* Quoted from Jim Trelease’s handbook (The Read-Aloud Handbook)

Benefits of Audio Stories for Children

9 Benefits of Audio Stories for Children at Storyland brought to you by She Narrates

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin (from Darwin’s Origin of Species)

There is no specific age or a steadfast period in life to work on one’s skills, values, and knowledge base. Learning, unlearning and relearning is part and parcel of life, and it becomes inevitable if one wants to accomplish things in life. One must constantly adapt – continually unlearn old patterns, beliefs, and habits, making space for learning new and relearning the improved ones. 

Likewise, there is no specific age or period to help children develop moral values, effective listening, enhanced thinking, and better-visualizing power. But these skills are considered to be best obtained in the salad days; children can grow up to be astounding beings and relish great virtues in life when skill building for them has been carried out consciously and effectively in their early years of learning and grooming. 

The medium via which information is passed down to young children has fairly been consistent throughout time, i.e., written and spoken words. And ‘Stories’ have been the single most effective way of transferring knowledge and making children wiser on the dynamic scale of life. Telling children stories are not only a bonding moment but also an opportunity to teach them the nuances of life and life skills.

With that said, I want to add, little ones tend to have much more energy and, of course, more free time than adults. So, it can sometimes get a bit challenging to manage the time and energy gap. This is where Audio stories come in. Listening to’ Audio stories’ is one creative and thoughtful way out to keep children entertained and ahead of time in the new, digitized world.

The rhythmic and dramatic narration with a backdrop organum has the power to take anyone into the tale and open the gates of one’s mind to different dimensions.

How does audio impact a child’s psychology?

Even before a child takes birth, she is able to respond to the auditory stimuli around her. Researches by psychologists suggest that audio plays a vital role in developing the initial and essential neural pathways in an infant’s brain. After they are born and can open their eyes to the beauty of their colourful world, they become sensitive to the sounds in their surrounding environment.

The power and influence of well-told stories on a child’s mental, social, physical and moral development are unparalleled. A plain text accompanied with visuals and other auditory sounds (e.g. animal sounds, moods displayed by tonality etc.) helps a child remember things easily and for a long time. In a way, a child develops holistically listening and reading stories. After all, learning is about making connections between the brain and the outside world, and stories with an added dose of morals and life lessons help strengthen these connections!

Now, let us take a deep dive into some of the major benefits of listening to Audio Stories for children:

  • Inculcates values even in your absence
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children, and one of them is Audio Stories helps in Inculcating values in parents and caregivers' absence.

The best way to instill values in children is to lead by example. But we cannot accompany our children all the time in all their real-life situations that test our values. 

This is where Audio Stories comes in; we can teach and instill values in our children even without them having to deal with a lot of real-life situations. The advantage of well-narrated stories is that they allow us to live, learn and lead by empathizing. Children are able to identify with the characters in a story and imagine themselves within the story while listening. They absorb their own lessons and morals during the process and store them in memory. This form of education is known as Preventive Education, which is very important for children. 

Ultimately, we all want our children to be independent, kind and compassionate Beings. 

  • Enhances language comprehension and vocabulary
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children, and one of them is Audio Stories helps in Enhancing language comprehension and vocabulary in children.

‘If language comprehension was to be a superpower, audio stories would be the superhero!’

While the advantages of audio stories are numerous, the most important one is their power to help with language comprehension. A child may be reluctant to read as she may be lacking language comprehension or struggling with vocabulary difficulties, or lacking fluency; everything audio stories have shown to help with.

Audio stories help children develop their vocabulary, which they can learn on a daily basis by listening. There are a plethora of words and ways to describe a single thing, situation and experience. So, gift your children the opportunity to develop vocabulary by diving under the ocean of new words and making creative use of them by listening to stories. 

  • Stimulates learning and imagining experience
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children, and one of them is Audio Stories helps in Stimulating the learning and imagining experience of a child/kid.

Audio stories help boost artistry intuitions of children and help them imagine the characters, settings, and themes of the stories that are dished out bit by bit during narration. Audio Stories can help children make the connection of the information in a more delightful way with backdrop organum and moral messages. I highly suggest “Make a ‘Ritual’ out of audio stories. To know how to do it, follow the link here (how-to steps are towards the end of the linked blog)!”

  • Fosters empathy and understanding
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children, and one of them is Audio Stories helps in Fostering empathy and understanding in children.

We can foster empathy and the understanding ability in our children from the very beginning, fill the communication and fellowship gap in children as stories allow them to generate the feeling of compassion & sensitivity for others. Children tend to remember both the good and the bad and make their own sense of the world by processing the details.

  • Sparks awareness, curiosity, and action
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children, and one of them is Audio Stories helps in Sparking awareness, curiosity, and action.

Good audio stories have the power to open eyes, minds and spark conscious awareness, curiosity and action. And in an audio story world, ‘curiosity never kills the cat.’ It always and always sparks conscious awareness and compassionate actions in our children for a better world.

  • Promotes active listening skills
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children, and one of them is Audio Stories helps in Promoting active listening skills in children.

We all know the significance of effective communication. But, to master it right from the start, one needs to be an effective listener first. In this regard, audio stories benefit children in practising patience and in promoting active listening skills, which further boosts the learning, societal and educational knacks in children. 

Being a good listener helps one learn and empathize with others well. 

  • Helps in building analytical thinking
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children and one of them is Audio Stories Helps in building analytical thinking in children.

 Let me share a secret which is not a secret anymore but a mindful hack to improve and expand a child’s analytical thinking skills. Audio stories help maintain a child’s inquisitive nature of discovering, exploring and learning things.  Stories also allow them to draw logical inferences by connecting items of information revealed in gradual precepts.

  • Helps in counteracting screen time
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children and one of them is Audio Stories Helps in counteracting screen time of Children.

Another most important benefit of audio stories is that it compensates for the adverse effects that the excess screen time has on our children. According to a study, children who have a screen time of more than two hours a day lack analytical thinking. Plus, those who spend more than seven hours on the screen of any electronic gadgets such as television, mobile phone, laptop, and tablet, can cause thinning of the cerebral cortex of the brain. It is the sensitive area of the brain and handles critical reasoning. On the other hand, audio stories do not have such implications on health. Instead, it focuses on developing potent and rational thinking in children. And audio stories at ‘Storyland’ by ‘She Narrates’ have purposely been kept short and uncomplicated, avoiding the fatigue and keeping children’s attention span in mind.

  • Buckles them up for reading
There are numerous Benefits of Audio Stories for Children and one of them is Audio Stories Buckles children up for reading.

Starting your little ones learning at the age of 5 to 8, or even earlier with audio stories can help prepare them for fluent reading as well-narrated audio stories will allow them to visualize the events, theme and characters in their heads. Hence, listening to an audio story acts as an excellent brainstorming activity preparing children to become fluent readers.

Now, where can you encourage your children to listen to audio stories?

If your question is where can you encourage your kids to listen to audio stories, then 'Storyland' by 'She Narrates is here for you!

Well, well well, audio stories for kids at ‘Storyland™’ by ‘She Narrates‘! These are free! You can access several audio stories on ‘She Narrates‘ for free! The stories at ‘Storyland’ have been curated by a team of professionals for educational as well as entertainment purposes.

The editing team has done a fantastic job of incorporating sound effects relevant to each story using background music which adds meaning and emotion, thus, activating the imagination. The narrator has an immaculate way of speaking, perfectly suited for kids. For informative and entertaining audio stories, visit ‘She Narrates‘.

Audio Stories at ‘Storyland‘ demonstrate fundamental values important for children while in action, without preaching, enabling them to learn from the characters’ experiences in stories and make those experiences their own. All audio stories at ‘Storyland‘ are free of literary distractions that children don’t know how to deal with. One can listen to these stories even if the screensaver mode on mobile devices is ON. This may be the best way to listen to the stories- out there – for kids. Select the audio of your kid’s choice and turn on the screensaver mode on a mobile device.

So, audio stories have uncountable pensions for you and your children. Avail of these benefits with our Audio Stories at Storyland, where we have a variety of stories for children with different life lessons.

Furthermore, we are all ears to your feedback and open to customizing audio stories at ‘Storyland’ by She Narrates for you, so do share your experiences in the comment section below. Also, let us know what you would like your kids to listen to, any age group that you want us to prioritize, let us know. ☺

Happy listening and as always happy parenting!

Post Script

When we let our little ones indulge with the internet, it becomes crucial to put parental control on devices like mobiles, laptops, tablets, and websites. In case you are not aware of these security checks, visit lifewire.com and explore them under ‘The Ultimate Guide to Parental Controls- Lifewire’.

Importance of Comic Books for Children

Importance of Comic Books reading for Children. Powerful benefits of reading comic books.

Comic books have existed in our world for over 80 years. But the last fifteen years have particularly witnessed how comic books have taken over cinemas, toys, clothing. Some even prefer comic character-inspired names for their pets. A whole culture has developed around these imaginaries over the top stories.

Comic books are art, art that is designed in the best way to help children learn and grow; visual stories in them have a stronger and staying influence. The ultimate simultaneous integration of visual and verbal communication in comic books assists in developing visual thinking skills and nurtures curiosity in children. 

Yes, comic books are ‘entertaining’, but ‘not just entertaining’; their benefits go infinity and beyond. Let us explore the positive aspects of comic books and their importance for children with this blog.

  • Welcome your kids to the world of reading!

In today’s time, television, mobile phones, and video games dominate children’s senses. Because of this, a lot of children miss out on the captivating beauty of reading. They don’t find reading as vibrant as the gadgets’ world. Comic books can offer a powerful solution to this problem. Mixing vibrancy and reading, they provide a very entertaining Segway for introducing children to reading. Once they start getting interested in reading, they will grow exponentially. Don’t be shocked if one day, your child starts to skim through hundreds of books as fast as “The Flash”. 

Reading Comic Books is important for Children as it helps them grow exponentially.

In the formative years of your kids, you might have taught them by using picture books. Comic books are an extension of picture books. Comic books, through their pictures, give the word a visual representation. They are visual stories.

The books that are not considered literature can teach verbs, adjectives, punctuations, and other parts of speech to the kids in a much easily conceivable format.

  • Improve inferential thinking and become a detective!

The world of a comic book is immersive. Kids can read and build their world and also get better at problem-solving. Have you heard of “The Batman” effect?

Studies suggest that children engaging in pretend play while performing mundane or difficult tasks can have enhanced focus and better attention span. While they role-play Batman or any fictional character, they tend to engage longer and be more focused. They tend to mirror the qualities they admire in their favourite characters and take steps towards building perseverance. The Batman effect also helps kids improve their decision-making skills when they imagine themselves in different scenarios and approach the task at hand by self-distancing.

Reading Comic Books is important for Children. It helps improve inferential thinking in children.

In comic books, unpredictability and magic exist. Plus, the whole comic creation process has several stages of development, from conception to completion. In the comic creation process, first, the story ideation, plot development, and scripting happens. Once the script is ready, it goes through the Art Production stage, which again has a few sub-stages of development and then the final editing, re-editing, printing, marketing, and distribution, happens. You might be wondering why I am talking about the comic creation process here! It’s because children get a chance to look at the finest art in their hands and figure out hidden details about the story, which helps a child improve their inferential thinking and their capability to depend on their intuition. So, don’t let your child miss upon the fine benefits of reading comic books mindfully.

  • Become righteous and save the world!
Benefits of reading comic books to children can be life-altering. It can encourage children to become righteous as a Superman and save the world.

A lot of comic books come with high moral values. These values exist in their characters and the story and are not taught like moral science lessons. Children get to use their own reasoning to make sense of these values, which strengthens the personality they build in life. Maybe your child can get inspired by the righteousness of “Superman” and bring a better change to this world. 

  • Fly in and out of beautiful imaginations!
The powerful benefits of reading comic books to children are many. It helps children become more creative.

Comic books usually follow nonlinear storytelling, which means that the stories in comic books take months through years to finish. With such a huge time frame, children can make up their own stories using their imagination to fill the gaps. The more they read these stories, the more ideas they come up with. And the more ideas they come up with, the more creative they become. One day you might even see your child writing the story for the next “Avengers“. 

  • Expanding memory, enhancing powers!
The empowering benefits of reading comic books to children are many. Reading Comic Books help children enhance their memory, and expand their imaginations.

The human brain registers more when there are more sources of information. Each shape, frame, colour, layout serves as an individual source. Comic books have multiple colours and various layouts that design the environment and its characters. When texts/words get added to these, the cherry meets the cake. Children get to see many such sources, and with time they begin to link real-world information to the shapes, colours, frames in comic books. Who knows, your child could develop a memory like “The Thinker” and come up with mind-boggling innovations. 

  • Not all heroes fly!
The powerful benefits of reading comic books to children are many. It helps enhance children's perspectives and introduce them to new concepts about the world!

Comic books don’t just mean superheroes. Superheroes comics became a lot more famous due to the grandiose they have. A lot of other comics like “Owly” and “All’s Faire in Middle School” deal with friendships, social issues, family, etc. exist. These different types of comics can enhance children’s perspectives and introduce them to new concepts about the world. 

Some other great comics that you can offer your children are “Teen Titans” by Art Baltazar and Franco Aurelian and “Chi’s Sweet Home” by Konami Kanata.

Comic books will continue to influence and change the world. Their impact in the last decade has seen the formation of new communities, connections, and friendships. They are much more than being a source of entertainment; they are a catalyst for harmony.         

When you see your child reading a comic, do not think they are wasting their time. Reassure yourself that your child is taking a fun approach to growing and learning. And make sure to give them the best comic books available!

And as always, I say ‘Introduce your Child to Diverse Genres’. When a child reads books of various genres, she or he can maintain a balance between fiction and reality and prevent the onset of “anti-social” behaviour. Introducing diverse genres is our simple solution for those who maintain this critical concern towards reading. 

Enjoy the sweet treat of comic books with your children sometimes and raise happy, self-confident readers!

How to Read to an Overactive Child?

7 ways to develop the reading habit in overactive children

Some children are just more active, enthusiastic, and bouncy than average. They are spirited like an intense ball of energy. Unfortunately, the high amount of energy these children have gets in their own way, hindering their ability to accomplish things. It is challenging for an overactive child to complete tasks that demand patience and alertness. Reading is one such activity that requires a calm mind and attention. But by harnessing the child’s high energy in a positive, mindful manner, they can become an avid reader, incredibly creative and productive.

Who is an overactive child?

A child who possesses more energy than most children of their age is considered an overactive child. The unique characteristics of an overactive child are as follows:

  • The child is a ball of energy.

The child has excess energy that makes her or him fidget. Due to this high level of energy, she or he has low concentration levels. The child gets distracted easily and is unable to complete the task at hand.  

  • The child has a wandering mind.

As the concentration span is shorter, the child tends to get lost in her or his thoughts. As a consequence, she or he has weak listening skills.

Some of the unique characteristics of overactive children: they are ball of energy, they have wandering mind, they are over-enthusiastic, have high emotional range.
  • The child is over-enthusiastic.

As an overactive child contains high energy, she or he is impulsive, zealous and likes to do everything faster.

  • The child has a higher emotional range.

An overactive child experiences a higher range of emotions in a shorter time than other children. She or he goes through sadness, worry, restlessness, happiness, and excitement in a small amount of time. 

7 ways to Read to overactive children

If your child is (indeed) overactive, you can conduct constructive reading sessions with your child by following these tips:

  1. Reading sessions conducted after outdoor activity.
Conducting reading sessions after outdoor activities helps an overactive child stimulate the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that are crucial for impulse control, learning, focus, and attention

A simple walk amidst nature or an hour-long swimming session will help to burn out the excess energy in your child’s body. Moreover, physical activities stimulate the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that are crucial for impulse control, learning, focus, and attention. You can also make reading a part of the morning and night-time ritual when the child is feeling all relaxed.

2. Create a warm and welcoming book nook!

A warm ambience and a welcoming book corner is also one of the ways to develop the reading habit in kids

Ambience plays a significant role in setting up the mood. Therefore, create a reading environment for your child which is devoid of distractions. Place different books, stationery and indoor plants in the reading corner to make it inviting. Design the corner in a way that it radiates warmth. Or maybe build a reading tent in the designated space with lots of couch pillows (Eric Carle’s pillows, Book Nook pillows) for relaxing reading session/s. 

The key is to create a warm and welcoming space with limited distractions possible. The space got to be inviting for the child and parent (both).

3. Play some soothing music in the background!

Play soothing music in the background can help an overactive child focus and developing the habit of reading becomes easy.

Instrumental music lowers energy levels and regulates emotions. Exposing your child to such music can help her or him to calm down. Your child might associate reading with music and consider them as pleasant activities that go hand in hand.

4. Direct your child’s excess energy into activities accompanying reading!

To develop the reading habit in an overactive child Kinesthetic learning has proven to be the best form of learning for an overactive child.

Kinesthetic learning is the best form of learning for an overactive child. If your child starts fidgeting and they are losing interest, engage them in activities like 

  • Enacting a character from the book. 
  • Raise their curiosity by asking them to predict the story. 
  • Make props or portraits or bookmarks of the characters and utilize them during the reading sessions to enhance the reading experience. 

This way, you gain your child’s undivided attention to the reading session as you convert the passive act of reading to an active act of role-playing.

5. Begin with the easy stuff!

To develop the reading habit in overactive children begin with easy and short books! It encourages a feeling of accomplishment and boosts your child's confidence.

Always begin with easy and short books. Since an overactive child struggles with focusing on a larger span, she or he will feel motivated to have completed the book. It encourages a feeling of accomplishment and boosts your child’s confidence. Once the reading habit is in place, gradually move to books of higher level. 

6. Chapter books over picture books

How to read to an overactive child? Prefer chapter books over picture books

Being mindful in the book selection is crucial. Chapter books with more words work better over the picture books. Children who have difficulty focusing find it challenging to sit down still with a book and read. So, let them BE, let them wiggle and bounce the extra energy out, and you keep reading. Remember, they are still listening while bouncing around; they still hear the words.

7. Be patient with your child.

How to read to an Overactive child

It is easy to get frustrated and annoyed by a spirited child’s energy. In most cases, the first reading attempt is a failure. Practice patience when you read to your child. Do not hesitate to read the same book twice or thrice, multiple times. Remember to see an overactive child’s energy as a positive thing and embrace them just as they are. I genuinely have a soft spot for overactive children. 

Consider these tips as a few ideas to formulate a customised reading plan for your overactive child. Children who have difficulty focusing find it challenging to sit down still with a book and read. So let them BE sometimes, let them wiggle and bounce the energy out and remember they are still listening while bouncing around. And don’t forget to compliment your child on having completed a reading session successfully. Encourage interactive reading sessions with your child and help her/him participate with enthusiasm and vigour. Through these efforts, you would raise an inquisitive reader in no time.

I wish you a beautiful bonding time while reading to your child and rooting for you dear parent that all your reading sessions happen with ease!

Read. Raise. Rise.

#readraiserise

How to Develop Reading Habits in Children?

5 ways to develop reading habits in children

“The world belongs to those who read.” -Rick Holland

Reading habits are encouraged across all cultures and age groups. Through reading, a person can master skills and qualities that act as essential assets for a lifetime. Developing a reading habit from an early age is therefore crucial for the overall development of a child. A child undertakes an activity only when it answers an inner need or fulfils a purpose. So, to successfully raise a child as an inquisitive reader, focus on their area of interest. Making reading child-led and helping them develop a positive, mindful relationship with BOOKS is the key.

Why is reading from an early age important?

It is easier to establish new habits at a young age. When a person starts reading in her formative years, it becomes an indispensable part of her existence. The benefits of encouraging reading from a young age are:

  • It enhances imaginative and creative abilities.

Fiction and fantasy books introduce the child to a world that differs from reality. This new world acts as a stimulant and improves the child’s imagination and creativity. 

  • It develops emotional faculties. 

An author’s work always contains a range of emotions. A child feels a connection with the characters of the book and becomes sensitive to such emotional variations. 

  • It improves communication skills. 

As a reader, the child is exposed to a myriad of emotions and situations. Consequently, the child’s comprehension skills and self-expressions improve.

  • It widens perspective.

Books contain infinite information. When exposed to this sea of information, a child learns to view things from multiple angles and develops a curious nature.

How to develop reading habits in children?

To develop your children’s interest in reading, introduce it in the guise of a game or as a ceremonial ritual. Just as a game is played according to rules, and rituals are performed with a sense of purpose and ceremony. Similarly, setting the grounds for healthy reading habits can be done in the following five ways:

  1. Design a space dedicated to reading!
How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 1: Design a space dedicated to reading

This space can be in the corner of your child’s bedroom or even the living room. Decorate this space with a bookshelf and posters of famous book characters. Make this space inviting for your child by placing colourful cushions, beautiful lights, and a comfortable couch. Most importantly, make this a read-only zone with no distractions. You can also make reading a part of the morning and night-time ritual when the child is feeling relaxed. If possible, make books easily accessible all around the house.

How to develop reading habits in children? A dedicated space for reading is really helpful

Psst! And I am close to executing what Dr Seuss says “Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and all the nooks.”

2. Let your child pick the book!

How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 2- Keep it child-led. Let your child pick the book!

Visit bookstores with your child and let her or him choose the books. This way, the child will feel a sense of independence. The child will also relate the book picking activity to a fun event and look forward to it every time. Get your child enrolled in reading groups and libraries; get her/him a library card. Many cities have lucrative options of doorstep libraries, too; they deliver the books home as per the reader’s reading list requirements and furnish new book sets on a monthly or quarterly basis. Explore it in your cities! If you want to know one in Delhi/NCR, let me know in the comment section below.

3. Be an active participant while reading a book!

How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 3- Parents be an active participant while reading a book to your child.

Make reading a book thrilling by reading aloud, enacting roles, making storyboards, and using different voices and facial expressions for characters. Maybe sing along the rhyming sentences! My little one, Pratham, prefers me being a rapper to Dr Seuss’ books. I can’t forget Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss! It’s fun, though! 

Gift a picture dictionary or flashcards to your child and use them during the reading session. This way, the child will grasp things faster. The experience will also become more enjoyable. Once the child finishes a book, inquire about her or his favourite part, the things she or he disliked, and what would she or he like to read next.

4. Introduce your child to diverse genres!

How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 4- Introduce books of diverse genres, it really helps.

Encourage your child to read fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, poetry, prose, comic books, and historical or geographical books. At times, the child gets too absorbed into the magical world opened by a fictional or fantasy book. The new world may detach a child from her or his reality and lead to isolation and loneliness. When a child reads books of various genres, she or he can maintain a balance between fiction and reality and prevent the onset of “anti-social” behavior. Introducing diverse genres is our simple solution for those who maintain this critical concern towards reading. 

 However, in my personal opinion, your sky can be pink; who can or should have a say over that? And seeing things differently liberates you, gives you the chance to explore and decide on them for yourselves, not make you aloof! 

5. Be the pillar of support for your child!

How to develop reading habits in children? Answer 5- Be the pillar of support for your children, appreciate and motivate them

Every child is unique. Therefore, each child has a different reading pace, reading choice, and intellectual prowess. But if your child is struggling, identify the problem and provide a solution as soon as possible. Not having a strong foundation of phonics and a good understanding of words and letters is one of the common reasons. A child might have a slow reading pace or may have trouble with the vocabulary of the book. Re-assure your child of her or his capabilities and help her or him overcome the obstacles. 

What do children overcome through reading?

  • Insomnia
  • Fear of public speaking
  • Fluency

Many children develop reading habits but are unable to sustain them. They lose interest in reading due to many reasons.

  • An increase in the difficulty level is the most common one.
  • As they grow up, they prioritize other activities.

To maintain the reading habit in your child,

  • Keep a literacy-rich environment
  • Parents can also keep book reading as their ‘Me-time’ practice. The family can together have a reading time.
  • Don’t forget to compliment your child on finishing a book, emphasize the importance of reading as they grow up, and
  • Keep the ritual of reading aloud to children even when they become independent readers. 

Now, I’d take your leave by these parting words…

HELP THE CHILDREN TO MAKE THEIR READING A PASSION BECAUSE THEY ARE THE ADULTS OF THE FUTURE GENERATION. AND THERE’S NO SUBSTITUTE AS POWERFUL AS READING!

And enjoy the sweet treat of reading with your children and happy parenting! 😊

When and How to Introduce Books to Children?

When and How to Introduce Books to Children?

“Just hearing the word ‘book’ makes me sleepy. Reading is such a non-exciting and boring activity to do, sitting in one place like a dead person, cut-off from the world around you. Absolutely disgusting!” – said a non-reader.

“Indeed. Reading a book can put one to sleep. It is bland and anti-social an activity to do. Rather awful!”- replied a reader.

Puzzled by the above lines? (Though you will have a tough time finding any reader with that opinion but, for a while, just take it as said.)  

Both the reader and the non-reader shared the same opinion, but they still sound different, and one out of them sounds better, right? There is no magic behind it, but the edge of ‘vocabulary’ and ‘self-expression’ that one has. Both said the same thing, but the way of expression was different. It is just that the ‘reader’ has a better way of communicating her views than a non-reader. This highlights the significant benefit of book reading, and that is enriched vocabulary and exceptional self-expression.

Benefits of Reading Books to Children is that it helps in enriching the vocabulary and helping in enhancing self-expression

That’s the magic of reading! It helps us improve in many ways than we tend to count, pretty much like homoeopathy- working naturally in the background, on the fundamental belief that with a little boost, the body can heal (learn a lot- in the case of books) on its own!

There are terms like sincere, nerd, and studious, which are usually used to describe inquisitive people, eager to find answers for their questions, caringly passionate about what they do or how they do. But the whole narrative around the same has changed since the last two decades, as the world has witnessed the greatest of innovations, art, and entertainment coming from people who had a few qualities in common.

There are endless benefits of reading books to children

Earlier, these things were considered anti-social, but people are now beginning to realize that these qualities are crucial for learning and development. They believe that nothing is wrong to be like this when one is spending that time productively reading and learning. Other benefits, such as improvement in one’s knowledge base, development of critical thinking, boost in one’s confidence level while putting mind and time in reading and exploring, have brought a significant shift in perception.

There are endless benefits of reading books to children

Book reading is a promising hard skill to have. And like any other skill, it cannot be mastered in a day. For children, reading is one of the important skills to have to be successful in life. Making ‘book reading’ a ritual is essential because it stimulates the imaginative and creative sensory of the child’s brain because there are no visuals to manipulate the narrative to the content they are consuming. The greatest merit all children enjoy is ‘curiosity’. They are new to everything and keen on discovering, learning, and engaging with anything new; they don’t hesitate to skim through the books, take a pause to glance at the pictures, ask questions that stand out to them.

Benefits of reading books to children

Also, children don’t have any preconceived notion about anything; this is also why they grasp things quickly and retain them for a long time. You tell kids Santa Claus is real, they will believe it, you tell them ‘XYZ’ is wrong, they will believe it, you tell them reading a book will help you they will believe it. There will definitely be follow-up questions, but they have these questions because they are trying ‘to understand’. These questions are helping their brain to develop a sensory perception.

Introducing children to book reading can be tricky because they have a short attention span, and they keep steering from one thing or activity to another really fast. Sometimes the book or story is not over, and they would unwaveringly be unwilling to join you through the story till the end. And that’s OK! Keep it child-led, even when it comes to the book selection; however, guide them with age-appropriate books.

So, it becomes vital that reading is inculcated in a way that doesn’t look enforced on them. Because if it does, there is no chance in hell they will do it. Plus, they don’t know anything like adherence, so parents’ mindfulness in making the reading experience enjoyable and meaningful plays a vital role. We are helping them develop a positive relationship with BOOKS.

Now, when to introduce books to children?

Parents can begin reading books to the little ones when they are as young as 3 to 5 months’ infants. Because their receptive senses are active by this age, they can respond and recognize the sound, touch, and objects around them. Reading to them will make them alert; their attention would mainly be on the narrator’s face and her gestures or on the vibrant colours, and patterns in the book. 

Keep a place just for books. The books can be about anything; the goal here is to let the toddlers become aware of what a book is. When the infants are 9 to 10 months young, by now, they hold things with a better grip, walk towards things that intrigue them, sit and explore them. There is no chance, an infant to find something new at the corner of the room and not approach it. They will pick it up, or sit on it, chew, or tear the pages while trying to flip them; they will try every possible way to get to know ‘the book’– the introduction of what a book is- done, perfectly done to a toddler by herself!

Introduce the books to children when they are as young as 3 to 5 months' infants

Children 1- or 2-years young are learning to communicate. They surely understand what is said to them; maybe they can’t reply as they don’t know any words yet or have just begun joining two words to respond. Surprisingly, studies have shown that people who are bilingual or multilingual have command over different languages because they had a bilingual or multilingual family or environment that led a child to pick up different languages naturally rather than taking classes to learn the languages. Children have brain fresh as a clean slate absorbing anything and everything, which means their brain efficiency and receptive ability, is high. It must be channeled into use wisely, ideally by reading books and stories to them, talking to them about things they like and dislike. Don’t worry whether they understand everything or not, but as long as parent-children both are having a fun time together, that’s more than enough to set the ground for grooming. And the process of making sense of things is already in function, so stay calm and enjoy the reading treat together.

Once the children are 5 or 6 years or above, they probably by now have learned to do lots of activities independently, such as walking, eating, communicating; some may even have begun reading on their own. At this age, book reading can be made even more engaging. Help them predict the story by asking them to describe the book cover and the pictures between the pages. Involve them also in reading the book a sentence or two in between, keep the fingers running on the words while reading as they’ll learn how ‘the words and sentences’ are read, spelt, and pronounced. Conduct small plays to make the story come alive, create storyboards, ask questions, allow them to narrate the stories, ask them ‘what-if’ questions. And don’t forget to ask their views on the book. All of this would spark interest and enable them to ‘choose and decide’ books themselves eventually and not just tag along with everyone’s likes and dislikes.

To inculcate the habit of reading in children build it with patience and practice

The whole idea is to not let the hustle die and make book reading an everyday ceremonial ritual to ensure the child remains inquisitive, imaginative and curious explorers growing up. Book reading can be lethargic when the mind is not into it. And scientifically, it is said that some things to become a muscle memory or doing something without giving much attention to it, at first requires conscious, constant practice. In other words, when you are young and have just learned how to walk, from getting up to taking a step and navigating the path, everything is consciously done. But when an adult, you don’t give much thought before walking because the mind is aware and well trained to perform the task. It happened because the intrinsic motivation to get better at taking every step of the way was there as a child.

Don't let the hustle of reading in children die

The childhood period- introducing books as early as 3-5 months young- is the best time to start instilling the relationship with books and inculcating the habit of reading, done with a sense of ceremony and purpose. It is basically gaining so much at no fear of losing anything. Yes, finding an intent on the internet is easier and convenient. But it narrows the scope of getting more information in abundance. And being fond of books doesn’t have to be to boycott the technology; it is to completely be aware of it and enjoy it, but still not give up on one of a human’s old friends, a book.

Benefits of reading books to children that they are peaceful, enriching companions

Books are a lot more sorted than the internet. And peaceful, and enriching, and feels a lot more personal. As Mark Haddon said, “Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well”. And it can be everything to ask for, sometimes. So, don’t let your child miss such a great thing—a book.

Enjoy the sweet treat of reading with your little one and help her make book reading a part of practice! Happy parenting while reading!

An Important STEM Challenge for Kids Dominoes Challenge- Full of Life Lessons

STEM challenge- Dominoes challenge for Kids

Today, my little one, Pratham, came to me with an unusual request; he had chanced upon a stirring challenge from one of his favourite kids’ shows. With a glowing face, dilated pupils, and frequent blinking eyes, he asked, ‘Mommm, should I attempt a Dominoes chain challenge?’.

I said, “Wait a minute, why ‘SHOULD’ baby? Please go ahead if you are feeling excited to try one. Never resist your creative talents!”

Beware of the 'Should' questions of kids! Don't let the 'should' questions define your experience and display of your creative expressions and aptitudes!

The next few paragraphs are for parents and caregivers who connect to the experiential and instinctual way of parenting. If you want to delve right into the dominoes challenge, you can skip the following three paragraphs, but we would love it if you stay!

I would want to say it out loud to each of you reading this, don’t let the ‘should’ questions define your experience and display of your creative expressions and aptitudes! Unfortunately, we are so conditioned to limit ourselves with the ‘should(s)’ that we hinder our accomplishment of ‘would’. 

If today just casually I would have replied to his eager ‘should’ question with a ‘yes or no’, he would have had his first limiting acknowledgement coming from me, and eventually, he might have ingrained several ‘Should’ experiences that might limit his potential, which as a parent, I would not want him to experience. Asking for permission is one thing, but seeking validation for multi-dimensional experiences and risking not following our ideas and wants because of limits set in the mind or society is not something we got to pass on to our younger ones.

There was a realization in this for me too! As I choose to give my child a conscious parenting experience, why would I be casual in my responses and remarks, and why not deliberately co-create positively! The way I would not limit my dreams and desires, why would I fetter his dreams, aspirations, and desires that way.

Now, going back to my experience of the day…

When I asked him what the dominoes challenge is, he looked around here and there, a bit puzzled for a couple of minutes and then brought his Legos to explain what the challenge looks like.

To explain to you further, Pratham doesn’t have a dominoes deck at home as of now, and to illustrate the challenge as a demo to me, he avidly found a creative way out and utilized his Lego bricks, the rectangular ones (2X4 variants), to make a dominoes’ contraption/chain. Voila, the Dominoes chain was right in front of me!

I, as an ardent reader, did not stop there. I further tried digging up on the subject by reading on the Internet about the Dominoes Challenge. So, here I am to sort you up about ‘Domino Chain Reaction: an important STEM Challenge for Kids’ and its significance in creating an exponential learning curve for kids, which in turn teaches essential life skills.

Now, what Are Dominoes challenge and the theory behind it?

Have you ever heard of the phrase “fall over like a row of dominoes”? It traces back to the Cold War years, and the first person to propose ‘The Domino theory’ was President Harry S Truman. He introduced it to justify sending military aid to countries that asked for it. However, the analogy was made popular by President Dwight Eisenhower.

The domino theory or the domino chain reaction refers to a series of equally placed (rectangular tiles) dominoes toppling over when the first one is knocked. What happens is, when the first domino in the chain or series is pushed, it topples over the second, then the third up until the last one going over very quickly with a profound influence. One by one, all of them fall over due to kinetic energy.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) aims to improve education by teaching children basic life-changing skills like problem-solving, time management, coping with failures, thriving skills, and many more. The Dominoes STEM challenge refers to Lego towers (each Lego 2×4) placed the same way dominoes are. The legos are supposed to increase in size as they go on, so the demonstration of transferring kinetic energy can be seen clearly.

You also get readily available dominoes decks- wooden, plastic, glass, or marble; colourful or black & white ones- in the market.

Benefits of Dominoes chain STEM challenge: 

Benefits of the Dominoes Challenge- 1) It helps in fine motor development in children,
2) It helps exercise concentration muscles well,
3) It helps display best creative expression,
4) It helps understand the spatial dimensions needed to make curves and spirals.

Dominoes challenge helps in:

  • fine motor development in children,
  • helps exercise concentration muscles well,
  • display best creative expression,
  • understand the spatial dimensions needed to make curves and spirals.

As mentioned above, the Dominoes STEM challenge teaches values that can be used later in life, so it would be better if the above STEM challenge is encouraged from a young age.

Here’s a list of 9 life lessons that the Dominoes Chain STEM challenge is helpful in. Picture this- if the child is working on a Dominoes challenge with siblings or parents or friends. What are the lessons they’ll pick up on?

Life lessons from Dominoes STEM challenge- Patience, Commitment, Concentration

1) Patience

Patience is always a desired virtue in any career field. 

Building and placing dominoes (or legos) is a repetitive process that involves a lot of time and patience of a person making one. Sometimes, it takes several attempts to build the anticipated domino chains. However, the art of putting each of them in the desired position perfects patience skills.

2) Commitment

Making domino chains is a process that might take a very long time, depending on the final output size, factoring in the number of failed attempts that may happen.

Dedicating so much time and energy can be exhausting, but the spirit of commitment goes a long way in the world.

3) Concentration

The dominoes (or legos) demand being placed perfectly behind each other. One small mistake can mess everything up. Thus, concentration is an indispensable skill to have when it comes to making a Domino Chain Reaction.

It is essential to be focused on whatever you are doing, even later in life. Short attention spans are unhealthy and can be unattractive in future relationships, work, or otherwise.

Life lessons from Dominoes STEM challenge- Communications, Planning, Organizing skills

4) Communication

This particular challenge teaches the most fundamental values of communicating with your peers if she/he is playing in a group. Without verbal communication, the whole model can go haywire and result in no achievements at all.

Communicating with your peers is one of the essential skills to have in the real world. Lack of this skill can lead to disruption in personal and work relationships.

5) Planning and Organising Skills

The whole base of this challenge lies in planning and development. If the model is planned wrong, the whole experiment can fail. Hence, planning and organizing everything is the basis of the Domino STEM Challenge.

Organizing is one of the extra talents looked for in the corporate world. This talent can also help in your daily life planning, and make you more focused on your goals.

Life lessons from Dominoes STEM challenge- Trust and Forgiveness

6) Trust

Different children working on different model sections means that they have to trust each other in the making process.

Trust is the basis of all relationships in your personal life. Without trust, you wouldn’t be close to anyone, and it might also lead to various mental illnesses.

7) Forgiveness

A lot of crashes and collisions take place in challenges like these. If the child is playing with siblings, parents, or friends, she/he gets to understand that being angry at the one who made the unintentional mistake or crash is not good. Mistakes can happen with anyone, and that forgiveness is necessary for such situations.

Everyone makes mistakes, but everyone doesn’t forgive. Forgiving is considered one of the most important virtue. Having it is the most helpful attitude of living a compassionate life for oneself and others.

Life lessons from Dominoes STEM challenge- Anticipation and Excitement and Creativity

8) Anticipation and Excitement

The excitement and fun of the building process teach kids to enjoy the process while anticipating the best results in the end.

Similarly, enjoying the process is the most crucial part of a big project or goal in the real world. Work without enjoyment makes the project lifeless and results in an unstatisfying output. 

9) Creativity

Making models and design ideas sparks creativity and lead to creative thinking in toddlers, pre-schoolers, or high school kids. They imagine and produce designs in their head first when an idea strikes.

Creativity is a life-changing skill that can increase passion and love for certain things while expanding imagination and encouraging thinking. Moreover, it is an everlasting skill that makes you happy.

Here are a few variants** that the kids of Preschool to High school can enjoy with the right amount of challenge mixed with age appropriateness:

Variant -1 for Dominoes Challenge that the kids of Preschool to High school goers can enjoy with the right amount of challenge mixed with age appropriateness
Variant -2 for Dominoes Challenge that the kids of Preschool to High school goers can enjoy with the right amount of challenge mixed with age appropriateness

**- sourced from the Internet

The Domino Chain STEM Challenge definitely got to be taken up by the children of the modern age. So utilize the Lego bricks (2X4 variant) or buy the readily available decks to make your child develop into a well-rounded being!

I trust that I have explained to you everything about the Dominoes Chain STEM challenge in today’s post and if you have any questions about it, drop me a message in the comment section below, and I’d be more than happy to assist you with it.

Thank you for reading, and happy parenting!

Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

“Opportunities of learning are everywhere, even while playing games!”

The three primary activities that form a part of early childhood experiences unless the formal education starts are- Playing, Eating and Sleeping- the only three mindful affairs at least the 90s born can remember, isn’t it!

Play is the leading form of learning, and games are the natural need for children. We all know that games (whether traditional or contemporary) positively influence the upbringing and growth of each individual. And if you as a parent, also trust that play can raise and help a child thrive in unimaginable ways, you’ll easily relate that as childhood is the budding age for growth and learning, playing games can lay the ground for children to learn essential life skills in play-way spirits; whether it is for learning human relations skills, pre-academic skills, healthy humour or it is moral, emotional, physical and mental development in children.

For this simple reason, we as parents want to pass on our favourite childhood games to our offspring. The added benefits of learning through play are many. Read** on to discover how each game finely and secretly models real-world situations and helps children learn how to live and act naturally.

**Our excitement ended up making this blog a long one. If you, too, are excited and can’t wait to try one of these classics, you can enjoy the list of games and the benefits of each game via the creatives we have made with extra effort!

Here are some of the classic childhood games that teach children essential life skills in play-way spirits :

  1. Musical Chairs

 5 people. 4 chairs. Always one chair less than the people playing. As soon as the music stops, everyone rushes to get their seats. Who will be left out?

Musical Chairs: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

Musical Chairs is one of the only games that teach children how to talk their way out of arguments. It teaches how to deal with the frustration of failure. Sharpening a child’s auditory skills is another perk. This game works on being happy for others and cheering them on from the sidelines. This game teaches a child how to be a cheerleader not only for others but also for oneself. 

Moreover, musical chairs can be played by all age groups.

2. Name, Place, Animal, Thing!

 A multiplayer paper-pen game. As the name of this game goes, all you need to do is make four columns on a paper and label the columns Name, Place, Animal, Thing. One of the player commands ‘Start’ and whoever completes the list first commands ‘Stop’. Now, who gets all the four columns (correctly) filled with the instructed letter of the alphabet in a row? 

Name, Place, Animal, Thing! - Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

Playing this with your child can have surprising results and definitely increase her concentration levels. Teaching phonics becomes easy; introducing ‘Noun’ to a 5-year young child feels effortless too. Other perks of this game are: vocabulary development for sure happens, but more amazingly, geography and map reading happens too. Eagerness to learn and memorise names of cities, towns to quickly fill the row with correct feeds also ensues, independent thinking, time management, and spelling advancement… all can happen leisurely in play-way spirit. 

3. Hide and Seek 

 A multiplayer game. 1 finder. Who will be caught first?

Hide and Seek is a game of rational thinking and patience. The finder has to think and memorise all the spots where the people could hide. At the same time, the hiders have to look for the best places to hide quietly, without making a sound. Patiently waiting is also an essential part of this game. 

Hide and Seek: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

 In real life hostage situations, the hide and seek game can be re-enacted. This game definitely makes to the list of games that prepare a child to determine and manage undesirable situations.

4. Dumb Charades

 A multiplayer game, which can even be played among 2-3 people if the family is a nuclear one. 

No materials required. All you do is hum a song or enact a folktale/story you’ve just heard/read together or act out a portion from the documentary series on Netflix you and your family may have watched together. Ask the participants to name the song, or story or documentary! It’s a lot of fun. 

Dumb Charades: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

The benefits of this game are many; to list a few, here we go. It helps in listening skills, concentration and memory, audio processing of a child, and mindfulness practices. 

5. Indoor Hopscotch 

A multiplayer game. You can make a Hopscotch board with masking tape on the floor. And then be ready to hop, jump and balance with your little one!

With variations like hopping on the even/odd numbers
or the count down 10 to 1,
or adding numbers and jumping on the resultant number
makes learning numbers fun

How about alphabet hopscotch for letter recognition?

Indoor Hopscotch: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

Hoping, jumping, and balancing on one foot helps develop good gross motor muscles and provides exercise that children (and we!) need staying indoors. 

Psst! Gross motor movements keep everybody sane! Not only can Hopscotch keep the child physically strengthened, but also can help them learn numbers and letter recognition on a hop. It also supports decision making, positive relationship, self-regulation, patience and turn-taking skills.

6. Monopoly

28 properties. 3-8 players. Two dice. 1 board. Who will be the richest in the end?

Monopoly: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

Monopoly (also known as a Business Game) is a contemporary game based on strategy and tactical skills, which helps a child with financial literacy, the most important in building 21st-century life skills. It is never early for a child to have financial skills and budgeting knowledge. It sharpens the mind of the young ones and teaches them monetary control. The feeling of being organised and having complete control of your assets is what Monopoly promotes.

 Currently, Monopoly has 1144 versions, fictional and real editions included. It is a must-have game.

7. Table Tennis

2 people. 1 table. 1 ball. Who will miss the shot first?

Table Tennis: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

Table Tennis is an Olympic sport practised in schools and colleges, too. This indoor sport mainly focuses on hand-to-eye coordination and impulses. Being cautious and focusing on the ball are some of the other perks that later can be used. It helps fasten your impulses and to withdraw from the jump-away-from-the-ball-coming-towards-you impulse that people generally have.

Playing this with your child can have surprising results and definitely increase his concentration levels.

8. Rock! Paper! Scissors! 

A simple and interesting hand game usually played between two individuals in which the participants simultaneously outstretches one of the three shapes- rock (a closed fist), paper (a flat hand), scissors (we all know how! Victory sign with index and middle finger making a ‘V’ shape). The possible outcomes are only two: a draw or one of the participant wins.

Rock Paper Scissors: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

This simple game helps in consciousness, concentration and control of the mind, identifying patterns and predicting the future behaviour of the player. For adults, this game can be 5 minutes’ de-stressor between work intervals.

9. Football

11 people in 2 teams each. 2 goal nets. 1 ball. Who will land a goal first?

 Football is one of the leading sports worldwide, which is making parents put their child into this rapidly growing field. Teamwork and sportsmanship are two of the main reasons why football makes it to this list. 

Football: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

The intricate art of hand-to-leg coordination and anticipating your teammate’s move at any given time makes the players alert 24/7. Not only does it physically strengthen the child, but it also makes her learn how to play and dribble a ball to perfection.

10. A – Z Gratitude Game (our featured and most talked-about game)

Gratitude journaling and mindfulness practices help everyone sail well and bounce back, especially when the going gets tough. 

So, here’s a little about the game. Read the full blog here.

Name an object or a toy that begins with each letter of the English Alphabet: Starting from A till Z, ask the child to look around for all the toys, favourite and not so favourite objects/things/items present in and around the house. Sort of treasure hunt!

A - Z Gratitude Game: Classic Childhood Games That Teach Important Life Skills

A – Z Gratitude Game’ helps your child look for his long unattended toys, re-connect with the things she/he has, feel grateful for the things he already has. This game also aids in vocabulary development in young children.

Conclusion

Children are at home during the pandemic, and a child’s mental health is more important than academics at the moment, is what I feel. And what better than learning in play-way spirits for children can happen because we know learning opportunities are everywhere, even while playing games!

While many of the above games teach patience, perseverance, self-regulation and turn-taking, some games from the above list also teach about other facets of real-life secretly. And most of the games mentioned above can have variations and extensions and can be made age-appropriate.

Virtues and morals are essential for social skills development, helping a person act duly according to the situation. Aside from reading moral stories, these games form an integral part of the learning process, assisting children bond with peers and adults in a better way at the same time teaching them life skills.

Mentally and physically strengthening our young ones is one of the first steps to parenting. Inculcating values for life in children in their early life stages helps them later in life.

Pandemic has come as a gift of time when it comes to spending priceless bonding time with family members. Bonding over playtime is an activity that all age groups enjoy. So, why not make the most of this time to cherish it forever and re-experience the childhood days with children in a whole new episode.

So jet-set-go, grab a pen and paper, note down the games you can plan with your child next time they ask you to play, unless it is an outdoor game ‘Football’, if you have a spacious backyard, then why wait, go ahead!

Help them learn and grow into well-rounded human beings.

Thank you for reading, and have a happy, playful parenting!

Top 10 Open-Ended Toys that Promote Creativity and Learning

What are open ended toys and what are the top ten open ended toys that promote creativity and learning in Kids

The world is ever-changing, and we all want our kids to be physically and mentally equipped and trained to navigate through the changes easily and effortlessly. If you, too, wonder how to inculcate these in your kids, make them better at handling various issues, and improve their problem-solving skills, open-ended plays are a must. As a parent, our mindful investment in toys that inspire open-ended plays is vital. 

Now, 

What are open-ended toys?

Toys that the kids of different age groups can play with in numerous ways, invested in for long hours, are open-ended toys. These toys allow them to think for themselves, act out real-life scenarios and express their creativity in multiple ways. Anyone at any age can play with open-ended toys: babies, early toddlers, pre-schoolers and beyond.

Why to choose open ended toys for kids

In simple words, toys that inspire open-ended plays are open-ended toys. Open-ended toys are 90% child and 10% toy based, giving plenty of room for inputs to come from the child. The concept ‘Less is more’ can be best explained with open-ended toys. 

Here are ten open-ended toys that promote creativity and learning 🔽

  1. Legos
Open ended toy for kids- Lego

Legos have been around for years. One can build almost anything with legos, from models of skyscrapers to robots, by rearranging them in the shapes that one desires. This helps give life to the user’s imagination. Legos come in various shapes and colours too.

2. Letter Blocks or Magnetic Letters

Open ended toys for kids- Letter Blocks and Magnetic Letters

Letter blocks are not only useful in teaching children about word formations and new vocabulary but also offer a fun way to express what’s on their mind. They can get creative with new words or leave funny messages to each other with them. Magnetic letters can be rearranged on the fridge door every day to teach kids a new word per day.

3. Doll house

open ended toys for kids- Doll House

Who doesn’t love a doll house? They come with a variety of dolls, furniture and an empty house. These give children the freedom to rearrange the dolls and furniture according to their whims and fancies. Also, there is no instruction pamphlet instructing the users as to what furniture goes where. A tea party with Barbie and her friends on a Monday can turn into a quiet dinner with iron man and the avengers on a Tuesday. 

4. Paints

Open ended toys for kids- paints

Out of the different items available for kids in the market, this age-old art supply is the most versatile one. From painting on paper to painting pottery and even fabrics, it can be used to decorate and enhance almost anything. Painting offers a lot of opportunities for one to express their creativity and allows for a huge scope of imagination. Children can learn about different types of colours and their mixing with each other to give secondary colours.

5. White Board

open ended toys for kids- WhiteBoard

Almost anybody can use this play item. It is used to draw or write whatever one wishes. It can be used to play Pictionary and other games. It is a great means of teaching and learning simultaneously. You can casually draw or scribble new ideas on it, with the perks of being able to erase it later and use it to express something new. 

6. Play Dough

Open ended toys for kids- Playdough

Do you want an inexpensive and easy relaxing activity for your hands after a long day? Playdough is the answer. Playdough is loved by people of all ages. Much like legos, playdough allows the user to bring to life almost anything they can imagine. Playing with playdough has proven to improve fine motor senses in young children. So they can be used as an exercise to build and strengthen these senses as well.

7. Binoculars or Telescope

Open ended toys for kids- Binoculars or Telescopes

These devices can be used in multiple ways. They make way for a person’s inquisitiveness to grow in different directions. They are great tools to learn about one’s surroundings. Children can enjoy not just the thrill it offers but also learn new things with the help of it.

8. Tents

Open ended toys for kids- Tent and Tent house

Tents come with multiple poles, attachments and soft satin tent cloths. Most of them are convertible and can be used to accommodate 1, 2, 3 or 4 people. Tents can be used outdoors and indoors too. Are you planning a lakeside camping trip or narrating bedtime stories in your room when it is raining outdoors? Go for it as people of different age groups can enjoy it.

9. Kinetic sand

Open ended toys for kids- Sand and Kinetic Sand

Similar to clay dough, kinetic sand allows the user to knead it as they like. It gives the children the feel of playing with sand on a beach. Most children living in cities have not experienced playing with sand. Kinetic sand offers them this opportunity and, at the same time, doesn’t create a mess in their vicinity.

10. Balls

Open ended toys for Kids- Balls

Balls are probably one of the most common yet versatile toys used in various sports activities. The best of all, you can play with it in more than a hundred ways. Kids love it and it comes in various sizes and colours. Plus, you can find it easily in any store. The development of basic actions- throw, kick, roll, aim, catch and strategizing all happens with a dose of unmatched fun.

Benefits of open-ended toys:

  1. All the above toys not only offer ways to enhance one’s creativity and imagination skills, but they also offer more than one way to express it. 
  2. Open-ended toys keep the kids occupied for long hours, away from the screen- it is something which almost every parent wants.
  3. If you struggle in getting your kid to play independently, open-ended toys help encourage independent play. 
  4. Kids learn to keep themselves entertained with open-ended toys.
  5. Open-ended toys help in improving a child’s problem-solving skills.  
  6. Open-ended toys help stretch cognitive skills in children.
  7. They also aid self-regulation.
Benefits of Open ended toys and open plays are many

Open-ended toys can be affordable depending upon the choice, whether wooden or plastic or elastic ones. Wooden open-ended toys usually last for a very long time but are generally expensive.

Wooden Vs Plastic Toys:

At our place, we care for sustainable toys, and we believe in mindful investments in toys. So, our preferences are usually the open-ended wooden ones over the plastic toys when choosing between the above two types. And as per our experience and learnings, the wooden ones are the real open-ended toys. Wooden open-ended toys are a little expensive, but they are usually one-time investment which lasts long. But because children outgrow a toy very quickly, so the inclination towards plastic toy purchase feels attractive.

But if the objective or purpose is clear in toy selection for kids, then open-ended toys require only a one-time investment, especially for first-time parents. And in my opinion, kids do not really need too many toys to keep themselves entertained. If we as parents bring toys to nurture their creative and imaginative skills, then even a stick in hand can become a toy- a magic wand or a sword or a cricket bat.

Do we need expensive open-ended toys?

My answer to the above is ‘No’.

As parents, we get enticed seeing high-end colourful toys, dome climbers, and expensive hot wheelsets on Instagram, but frankly speaking, kids do not need expensive open-ended toys.

But there are three things we do not compromise our investments on for our little one, first is BOOKS, second is Lego sets, thirdly cars.

Lego sets are something we’ve intuitively felt guided towards; also, his Lego classes needed the initial investments, so are his collections. Fondness for cars, he has inherited from his grandfather and father. You can read about his love for cars at the blog A to Z Gratitude game‘. We have a declutter charity-based practice in place for ‘CARS’ and toys, so the investment in cars reminds us of the bigger purpose it serves us with.

Having said that, I nowhere disregard anyone’s interest in expensive toys. And we too have commercialized toys, expensive electronic toys at home, but they have either been gifted by friends and family members on birthdays or festivals or passed on to my little one from his elder cousins. We have pre-loved open-ended toys too.

Our emphasis is teaching our little one basic life skills, instilling the attitude of gratitude for things he has and fostering an environment where he gets plenty of room to think and create imaginative plays independently.

Let us know what open-ended toys connect with you for your little ones. Also, let us know which part of the blog resonated with you the most. If you found it helpful, share it with your family members and friends. 

Thank you for reading! Happy parenting!