Childrens books - how to get them reading and loving it?
There is an old proverb that is applicable in many life situations, none more so than this -
"if you give a man a fish, he can feed his family for a day - but if you teach that man to fish, he can feed them all their lives.." (anon)
The same can be said for reading.. just giving a child a book might engender a love of reading, but working at it and teaching your child that reading is fun and worthy, can make them an avid book reader for life.
One post that I recently read, told of a man who got his little baby boy reading while in the cot. Got the child into such a routine that the baby demanded a book every morning. What a gift!
"... Research has proven, time and again, that reading is the key to success. It is a skill that crosses all barriers: economic, religious, ethnic and social. It requires little, if any, financial investment since public libraries are free to use...." [https://buffalonews.com/2019/04/17/letter-spread-the-joy-of-reading-through-books-for-kids/]
If you want a smart society, then make people smart. Teach children the joy of getting lost in a book, a great story. It doesn't matter if you are six or sixty six. I have struggled with my own kids to get their heads out of the smartphone or the tablet, and have had limited success. Fortunately, now they are writing songs, so at least some literary effort is being made.
So, I would like to suggest that it is up to our generation - (I am a baby boomer) - to generate younger peoples' interest in reading.
When I was a young Naval officer, I spent many years away from home - no internet, no smartphones, not much in the way of TV or movies at sea, so, naturally you read - the Navy has a nickname for everything - a good story was a "dit" - various types of dits - 'warries', 'cowdy's' 'detective dits' - probably the most prominent - sometimes a biography or an autobiography, but anything you can read reasonably quickly from your bunk in your limited downtime (not forgetting of course, those highly literary articles that were the only reason we read "Playboy"). Well, it was more or less words on paper so that probably qualified.
But I digress.
Thousands of new books published every day - how to read them all? Who cares, you can never eat at every restaurant either, but you can have a good, old-fashioned go at it.
There is a finite number of letters in our alphabet, and virtually a finite number of words in our vocabulary, so, in theory you could say that there must be a finite limit to the number of books that can be written. Who, in their right mind, would believe that?
They say that if you put ten thousand monkeys in a room, each with a word processor, for a long period of time, then, statistically, one of them could write "War and Peace" - I'd like to see that. The human brain is not a logic super computer that works purely on statistical theory. The synapses of our brain don't work on pure logic, and thank goodness.
It is this absolute wonder of the human psyche that we need to impart to our children. Whatever intellectual stimulation we dish up they will soak up.
Happily, we are seeing a great new trend of people writing more childrens' books - it may be that that is because it is a relatively simple genre to write and is a vehicle that is loved and for which there is huge demand on the newer platforms like Amazon and the like.
Whatever the explanation, it seems that the Gen X and now Gen Y parents seem to be adopting it as they are the generations that grew up with social media and electronic platforms and are now seeing that it is important to start their offspring on the right path. If that engenders a love of reading in the coming generations, I will be their greatest admirer.
Kids are our future. Let's get them ready for it with the best start we can.