How should publishers help develop reading habit in children

How should publishers help develop reading habit in children

Hurrah! What a beautiful Sunday evening it was! Children of my neighborhood were seen jumping in joy and having a gala time playing cricket, splashing water on each other, riding around the streets on their bicycles, and happy gulping some panipuris from the corner shop. Not only children, adults and office-goers were also seen playing badminton on the street. This was an evening of one “normal” Sunday before the pandemic lockdown affected all of us and made us, and is still making us, confine ourselves within our homes, for months together. Now, I can hardly see children playing on the streets. Even when they do, they come out with their masks on and a pocket sanitizer, essentials to keep with us whenever we head out, and are restricted from playing in groups. How hard this “new normal” has hit not only children but also adults. However, owing to the lockdown, a new concept was introduced to children, namely the “Online Classes.” From strictly prohibiting the use of smart phones in schools and colleges to schools themselves mandating children to buy one, to bringing classrooms to our living rooms through smart apps like Zoom, nobody can deny we are in a “new normal” indeed.

Unlike the school’s working hours, online classes are only for about 2 to 3 hours, giving children ample time for other activities. But how effectively this time is being used lies in the hands of parents. As parents also have more time to spend with their kids now, this would be the appropriate time for them to come up with new activities to involve their kids. Getting kids acquainted with activities such as solving puzzles, learning math tricks, or involving them in simple DIY (Do It Yourself) crafts, and encouraging them to read books will be beneficial to the kids in their formative years.

Of these, reading is one of the best habits that could be very easily inculcated in children. Reading benefits children in many ways:

  • gives confidence,
  • imparts knowledge,
  • improves communication,
  • builds personality,
  • decreases screen time, and so on.

Parents and teachers have the joint responsibility of initiating the reading habit in kids. But do all kids love reading? Definitely no. Some find it to be boring, some find it difficult to read, and some others find books to be not interesting.

It is important for parents to take the steps to make reading a habit in children:

  • Finding the child’s interest,
  • Visiting a local library,
  • Letting kids pick books of their interest,
  • Reading themselves often to the child,
  • establishing a reading time,
  • talking about new words and meaning,
  • making reading a comforting habit.

Although topics of interest could be chosen by the parent, making an interesting topic more interesting to read lies in the hands of the authors and publishers. In general, children’s books are divided into six categories based on the age group of children, average number of pages, word count, and number of images used:

  • Picture books
  • Board books
  • Chapter books
  • Trade books
  • Middle-grade chapter books
  • Young adult books

You are never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.

Dr. Suess

Start them early on books …

Authors should consider the following points while writing the book:

  • Decide the age group of children whom you want to write for,
    • Age Group 1: 3–5 year olds – picture books
    • Age Group 2: 5–7 year olds – illustrated books
    • Age Group 3: 7–12 year olds – short engaging chapter books (5000 to 10,000 words)
    • Age Group 4: 12–15 year olds – Teen story books (up to 30,000 words)
    • Age Group 5: 15–18 year olds – Story books (up to 50,000 words)
  • Choose the topic that would be interesting for the targeted age group,
  • Use simple vocabulary relevant to your targeted age group’s level,
  • Write it in a fun and engaging way,
  • Create memorable characters,
  • Make the content clear and understandable from the beginning to the end,
  • Use images related to the content,
  • Include an activity area for kids to ponder between every chapter where possible.

In addition to the authors, publishers also have an equal role in making the book interesting to young readers:A book publisher is a group or person who is responsible for bringing a book to the public for reading purposes. Per studies, publishing methods of children’s books vary greatly to that of books for adults. Publishers of children’s books should be up-to-date with recent trends in children’s book market and should be cognizant of basic categories of children’s books.

There are many little things to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.

Jacqueline Kennedy

Following are the points to consider by the publishers to promote reading in children:

  • Reach your target readers,
  • Conduct sessions at schools to promote reading habit in children,
  • Consider an author visit in schools,
  • Host book fairs at schools.

In conclusion, it is a well-known fact that book reading does wonders in kids. Not only parents and teachers but also authors and publishers should effectively play their role in every way they could in inculcating reading habit in children and this in turn will pave way to our children’s bright future.

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