A Treasure Chest of Books
by Nandinii Subrahmanyam
"The simplest way to raise literate children is to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And, that means finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books and letting them read them.” – Neil Gaiman
Besides the textbook reasons why reading books is beneficial to people: such as improved grammar and vocabulary, a strong command in language and polished communication skills, reading books widens your horizon and builds a strong character.
Books are like doorways to the whole world. Just by reading the right books it is possible to travel the world, live another lifestyle, learn a new skill, experience love, hope, heartbreak, tragedy… I am a strong believer that the right books greatly contribute to shaping your character.
Unfortunately, the competitive world we live in has started to erase such reading habits from the lives of children, the stage in life where the development of character is at turning point. The world pushes onto them tedious skills and subjects that will distinctly take them forward in life ignoring the value of “stories” and imagination in this success.
Working with RKF on their Reading & Storytelling Workshop was based entirely around trying to recreate these habits. I had the opportunity to work with a fellow volunteer and a group of children no older than six years of age. Since most of these students were still in the process of trying to learn how to read we focused on grabbing their attention by reading out the story and dramatizing it for them to follow along. We asked questions along the way, asked them to summarize the story in their own words and tell us what they liked about the story and what they didn’t.
All the other volunteers also split into teams to do a similar activity with their respective students. At the end of the workshop all students performed to display what they learnt from the Reading and Storytelling Workshop in less than 2 minutes.
Evidently, these activities introduced Reading and Storytelling to the young children we worked with using a fun and positive approach
This workshop, I believe, was not only a success in terms of being able to engage the students into stories and pulling them out of their shells to confidently express themselves and their opinions and perspectives, but also in reemphasizing to every volunteer, teacher and student who participated, the importance of stories. After all: “what is a bookshelf if not a treasure chest for a curious mind?”