Saturday, July 7, 2018

Kids and Book Reading Project - A tool to overall improvements of kids

In India majority of parents force or expect their kids to read academic or syllabus oriented books as much as possible. Even if they encourage their kids to read a book out of their studies, their approach is unorganized. In India, the syllabus is everything and marks are the only worshipped God until college life. But we forget to cultivate child in other matters. If you see most of the developed countries, the education system gives importance of reading. You will find book projects as part of the curriculum. This kind of book projects can bear fruits that cannot be visualized in short term. It helps to cultivate reading habit in kids. It makes kids think in a different perspective. And more importantly, it makes kids express their experience.


In today's article, we will talk about planning the book project for your kids.  To make content interesting we have designed article in question and answer format.

What is a book project?
A child will be given a book to read in stipulated time. He has to present the book's summary or review as submission. The submission could be in written or verbal or any other creative format.
What are the benefits of such activity?
Well, even this whole post is not enough to explain the benefits of the project. Just google this "Benefits of reading", which is just first half of the project.
Okay, agree. What will be the ideal age of a child to give them a book project?
A child should be able to read and understand the content. Many countries start it from 2nd or 3rd grad itself.
My kids are busy studying for the whole year. When should I give them this project?
If you feel that your kid is having too much burden of studies, you can give him project during vacations. But in my opinion, you can give him project throughout the year with a flexible deadline as per his academic schedule. You can select books as per his/her current activities.
How many projects should be given in a year?
If a kid can take as low as 1 project per year, it would be helpful. Ideally, you should give 4-6 projects in a year.
But my kid already reads books outside his syllabus. Then why should I bother him?
This project is not focused only on reading. It is to give a completely new direction to their thinking process and mental abilities. 
Also many times kids keep reading certain types of books only, this project will make them read something out of their comfort zone.
My kid dislikes reading, how am I going to motivate him for such projects?
You need to get it done by hook or crook. 
The best way is by creating a reward system for them. Decide points for each project. At end of each project reward them points (don't forget to give the bonus points for good work)
Once in a defined period redeem their points against their wishlist (just like the redemption of credit card points)
Which type of book should be given for a project?
We want to start with a positive note so initially, preference should be given to kid's liking.
If a kid is younger than 12 years, we can start with storybooks (Panchtantra or Akbar Birbal types of stories will do). Make sure that book has a good number of pictures which will provide them enough entertainment to start with. You can give first 5-6 projects on comic books as well. Once they develop the liking for the activity you can give them different books
If a kid is in his/her teenage years, you can give him novels, biographies, selfhelp, general knowledge books in different combination. Again make sure that he won't get bored of books of the particular genre. Set reward points in decreasing order of his liking. His most favorite genre should fetch him least points and vice-versa his least favorite genre should fetch him a maximum number of points.
Who will select the book?
If you want to force kids to read only your choice of books then you won't get success in a longer run. So it is advisable one or two books out of 5 books should be of their choice.
Same way if kids keep reading books of their liking then there are chances that they will keep playing with particular genre or domain. SO it is advisable to keep giving books in between which you feel are important for them. 
Again, design reward points such a way that, his choice of books can fetch him lesser points than your choice of books.
Which language book should be given?
If we think that only English books will help him develop then we are wrong. It is advisable to give other language books along with English. At least 2 other languages if not then at least mother tongue.
How much time should be given to finish the project?
It should be planned according to academic schedule. If schools are going on then you can estimate so that he will get a day for 5-10 pages. If vacations are going on you can plan so that he will get a day for 20-30 pages.
What care should parents take while giving project?
Whichever book child is working on should be read by either parent beforehand. If not before the project then at least along with kid they should read.
While reading the book make sure to note important points. It will help you validate the authenticity of the child's efforts. It will also let you estimate your kid's understanding level.
If possible keep track of project status. It will help you gauge how much child has understood. You can even help them they feel lost.
Ask your kids to follow these steps during projects.
Keep notes of important points while reading.
If you don't understand any point get the help of elders to understand it.
Cultivate the habit of dictionary reference. Don't skip word which you don't understand. Always find out the meaning of new words.
How will they present the review?
It is in your hand. Encourage your kid to use his creativity. Following are just examples
Written Review - Aske him to submit a review in minimum 200 words
Present Orally - Ask him to present verbally in front of family members
Picture / Cartoon - Ask them to present in a format of cartoon or pictures.
Having said all these there are many things that can be done. But for a start, this is enough. Any doubts in this regards, just comment on this blog.
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