Books to deal with frazzled nerves and have fun!

Reading books seems to be a thing of the past. A simple comparison would be to count the number of hours one has spent in front of the TV in the past year to the amount of reading we have done. Words have become less effective than visual representations. One reason for this could be that a visual presentation requires no imagination and hence no brain exercise. Needless to mention here that without stimulation, the brain stops thinking resulting in de-acceleration of personality development.

Why read?

Most importantly - and extremely relevant in today’s fast paced lifestyle – READING REDUCES STRESS!

Just 6 minutes of reading a book reduces stress by 68%!

A study at the University of Sussex last year indicated that reading for even just six minutes reduced stress levels in study subjects by 68%. Reading was the most preferred method for reducing stress when compared to other typical stress reducing activities like listening to music or going for a walk. Losing yourself in a book causes all of your muscles, including the heart, to relax.

For children, the reasons are attributed to personality development and problem solving. Research has proven that Children who read grow up with leadership traits and other tend to become followers.

Reading helps

Plenty of reasons why one should prefer reading over visual entertainment. Let us examine a few.

1. It’s the reader’s choice how to visualize a character from the book. Reading helps in creative thinking. As Ben Freedman says, “The author's writing is simply the yarn for the reader's imaginary fabric”.
2. The ability to express oneself logically and coherently is a very important skill in this competitive world. This skill is a function of the subject and language and improves with broadening one’s vocabulary. Reading is the surest way to achieve this.
3. Reading requires focus which eventually helps you get better at concentration.
4. Most movies/soap operas have been adapted from books. However, there is just not enough time to transpose all intricate details from books. Books can go into vivid and precise detail.
5. Reading is a great tool for learning. Turn pages back and forth any number of times till one absorbs the content.
6. As Hardwick says, “….. it consoles, it distracts, it excites… You can escape the real world for many hours.

Developing reading habit amongst children

  • Reading encourages imagination and curiosity

  • Reading widens views and expands horizons

  • Reading gives children skills in handling complex ideas

  • Reading books aloud to toddlers increases emotional bonding

How to create the habit

  • Create a separate reading area--Ideally a quiet and comfortable area where the child would like to spend time. Try to provide an area which is near your collection of books.

  • Give him access to books -- Set up a book collection shelf at home from where he can pick and read items of his choice.

  • Let the child choose books—Do not force the child to read a particular book. Take him to the store/library and allow him to choose his book.

  • Set aside time for reading-- Allocate a period of time, maybe 30 minute or so, every day, for your children to spend on reading at the allotted area.

  • Spend reading time with your child -- Whenever possible spend time reading with him and then discussing what you read.

  • Make reading fun -- Read to him and act out portions to make the experience lively. This is sure to arouse greater interest.

  • Display books in your home -- This will give your children the impression that books have an important role in the household.

  • Make him join a library -- Libraries are great places for reading and writing.

What not to do

  • Nagging -- Pressurizing and hounding a child will only increase his resistance.

  • Bribing -- Bribing can produce negative results. Instead present him with a book and praise on his completing a reading assignment successfully.

  • Judging-- Constant judging will take the pleasure out of reading and he will soon lose interest.

  • Criticizing his choice-- If he is taking the initiative to read books of his choice, encourage him, even if he is choosing books that are too light and easy to read. In time he will go for more serious options.

  • Setting tough goals --Don’t expect great things in short time frames. Encourage him gently, instead.

So, create some time and open up a book. As they say – you never know until you try !!!! “The right book at the right time can ignite a lifelong habit”.

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