When my child was just 6 months old, I saw a TV commercial while shopping in Mothercare. That commercial was demonstrating that if you start showing words to your baby, even when he is just 6 months old, you will be surprised that he will be reading very soon. For example, you write the words ‘BELLY BUTTON’ on a card and then point to your tummy button, repeat that action a number of times and you will soon discover that whenever you show the card with the words ‘BELLY BUTTON’, your baby will point to his tummy button. After seeing that commercial, I started showing words and pictures and reading the words to my baby. Well, the result was amazing!
An experienced mother taught me to start reading books to my baby as early as possible. I did that and my child grew up with reading as his hobby. In fact when he was in primary 3, his school teacher made them read 10 books (each of at least 100 pages) each month. Initially, it was very stressful for him. However, before long, he find himself enjoying books and while in primary school level, he was reading think novels that where thousand pages thick and it was no sweat to him. If I were to buy a book that was a 100 pages think, he would finished reading in 1-2 hours! With a deep love for reading, my child grew up getting distinction for his O level English and A level General Paper subjects.
To all young parents, if you want your child to do well academically, read to them as early as possible and make it a daily routine.
A word of caution – avoid Fairy Tales!
It is very important that you introduce the right type of books to your child. I remembered that some 30 years ago, before I even had my child, I saw an article in ‘Her World’ magazine where the author advised against reading fairy tales. At that time, I do not understand why. Now that I have walked through a large part of my life, have seen the lives of many close friends, I realised that fairy tales are not books that you should be recommending to your children especially to girls. Why? I’ll tell you why..
Girls of my generation grew up reading fairy tales and romance novels. Most of us had parents who were illiterate. So we chose the books that we enjoy most. Reading fairy tales and romance novels taught us to be really naive — believing in ‘happily ever after’, believing that we will find joy when we find the man in our life. Worst of all, the selection criteria for the man in our life was always the ‘handsome prince charming’. Even the Beast has to turn back to a charming prince. What is the result of such belief and values in life? The result is that many women became blind to the good character of a man and fell in love with some charming guys whom were never suitable for them — maybe a soccer captain, but one who care nothing but bringing girls to bed, maybe a tall, handsome classmate who for one moment show as if he was interested but come back to her only once in a fortnight and then disappear again for the next month, or perhaps another who can play the guitar and sing like a celebrity but after winning over the girl told her that he has not forgotten his ex-girlfriend. Many of these girls had difficulties letting go of the man and they compromised to get in sexual and non-committal relationships, entangling with the men for years and living a life of tears and bondage.
Women of my generation grew up reading novels such as Jane Eyre. We imagine that the Mr Rochestor were so pitiful to have a lunatic wife kept at the arctic. The story goes that Mr Rochestor grabbed Jane Eyre and kissed her forcefully and she was swept off the feet. How could any decent, good man be so lack in self control? Obviously he knew that a forceful kiss is the way to win a girl’s heart. We studied the novel for two years but no literature teacher would teach us that Mr Rochestor could possibly be a womeniser and the lunatic wife was in that depressed state because of him. If you are a young mother in your late twenties or early thirties and had been lucky to find the right man in your teens, you may be thinking that I am some prejudiced old woman. I am not. As you age, listen to the life stories of your girl friends and you will soon be agreeing with me. Let me qualify, I am not saying that all men are bad. There are good ones, for sure. I am saying that there are men who simply cannot love a woman and you can actually read who they are if you are experienced enough.
Read with Your Child..
When your child is young, read with him. Give him guidance. Nevertheless, my friend, do you know that the best book to read with your child is the BIBLE? It is a book that gives wisdom. Make time everyday to read God’s words with your child. It is for this reason that we started the Parent and Child Bible Reading website, where we illustrate bible scriptures with pictures to make reading God’s words easy for children.