Nothing pleases me more than watching my toddler Penguin busy with his books. Our discovery to Penguin’s love for books is shared earlier in many posts. It was an accidental observation. He used to wait for my Maa to read the newspaper every afternoon. In two years of “Raising a Reader,” we have read almost a hundred books. I am aiming for 1000 books before kindergarten. In my earlier posts of this series, we shared what types of books to have for early readers. You can add another book in the list Scanimation. I was introduced to it by a friend recently. Later, we shared on “How to introduce books to babies and toddlers?”. Now that we shared our story and experience, you might be wondering what’s next. Can your little reader suddenly become a reluctant reader?
Yes, this totally insane thing can happen. My 23 months boy was suddenly pushing off and closing books whenever I opened. Soon, I realized I was surely doing something wrong. Else there was no reason for a sudden change. I asked for help, buzzed a few parents whom I knew were raising readers. Googled for days. Yes. Yet, we didn’t find a solution. Instead of asking and waiting it was time to introspect. As we were sure it wasn’t a phase that would go off in some time. We weren’t ready to abandon Penguin’s earlier enthusiasm for books without trying.
It took me over a month to discover things that went wrong and reshape it. This post is meant for all parents and caregivers who might be a similar situation. Also, on how to avoid this situation totally. Do keep in mind all kids have different personalities. What worked with us, may (hopefully please) or may not work with you.
When your reader suddenly become a reluctant reader?
First, recognize the behavior before it becomes too late. Then analyze the reason behind it. Here are the reasons that we found might be the root that Penguin was avoiding books.
Can you believe it? That force was a prime reason. We were unknowingly forcing him to books. While we have an array of books in hand and even rotate them every fortnight. Penguin was in love with certain books and wanted them. ONLY. So, when I rotated books, he opposed that. As he couldn’t communicate that. He avoided rest in the shelf. Uff! Can you imagine that? Now, we are reading the same book for over 9,3,68,214 times till he chooses another one. Thankful, he does choose others too.
I had expectations. Understood that was too much for my little one on time. I was expecting my child would like a certain book and introduced them. As they turned out not so well. We never expected him to like encyclopedias around 2 years of age. That’s when we started choosing books for a fortnight by Child’s choice plus a new one.
Living in rental apartments we don’t have much scope of adding furniture of our choice. Especially when it eats up the last remaining free space. Upon that our idea of keeping minimal items based on a dire need too keep us thinking. So, putting books in every corner was a little tough for us. And putting it only in one space that’s next to the bed wasn’t pretty approved by our toddler. He wanted it everywhere (read scattered). Even on floor and kitchen corners. Our solution was making a mobile bookshelf. Just out of a carton. Allowing the toddler to carry it everywhere in the house.
- Warm up time
During the initial days, our children’s book collection was small. It consisted of a few board books and a couple of paperbacks. With time our bookshelf grew bigger. So, every time I introduced a new book, I was expecting Penguin to eagerly join me. Just like old times. Duh! I realized my child needs a warm up time. And it’s okay to leave a book in 2 seconds. So, books are introduced now gradually giving enough warm-up time.
- Change in environment
We travel often. Vacation hangovers are real. Even this toddler of mine refuses to revert back to schedule. Can’t expect anything less, when we adults too take time. But at times kids are sensitive to frequent change in atmosphere. Penguin would prefer dancing or outdoors over books at that time. Again, we have adapted well to this now. We already spend at least 2hours under the sun plus the social play time. Now, in a day or two, our schedule gets back.
- Co-reader is boring
Co-reader, that’s majorly me. I was boring my child. Well, this Maa is learning too. Little animated voice and props for storytelling never hurt right.
Has your little reader ever, ever become a reluctant reader? How did you overcome that situation?