Arts and crafts · Book reviews · Moments of Mummy clarity

Raising Readers

Reading is one of the important means of gaining different kinds of knowledge and of benefiting from the achievements and experiences of others. It is something vital which the person who wants to learn can hardly do without. It is an essential need which is hardly less important that food and drink. Individuals – let alone cultures and civilizations – cannot advance without reading, for reading brings minds to life, enlightens hearts and sets thinking straight.

And so with this being said, how do we cultivate and nurture a love for written word within our children? Especially in this current climate, where there seems so many other things to do with one’s time. TV and computer games have their place, but they are simply amusement. With reading, a person can go anywhere in the world…or even out of it! They can be a king, or an adventurer, or a princess, or a spaceman or a clown or a … The possibilities are endless.

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. (Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis)

Kids will learn reading skills in school, but often they associate it with work, not pleasure. As a result, they can sometimes lose their desire to read. And it is that desire—the want and the curiosity and the interest—that is the cornerstone to successfully infuse a love of reading to a child. Helping your children enjoy reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent and it’s well worth the investment of your time and energy.

One of the most effective ways to encourage your children to love books and reading is to read aloud to them, and the earlier you start, the better. With the variety of board books and fabric books and plastic books there really is no excuse not to introduce them to books as early as possible. People might remark that they’re too young for this, but they enjoy looking at the bright pictures, hearing your voice and tone change and seeing your facial expressions as you read to them.

Make this time together a special time where you share the pleasure of a story without the distractions of TV or telephones. As an avid reader since my earliest childhood days, I am still pleasantly surprised when I stumble across a well-written children’s book that is often as wonderful a delight to me as it is to the kids. For us, this is usually just before bed. As clichéd and stereotypical as it might sound, cuddling up with a book feels so right for us. At the end of a day which may have involved friends being nasty, or too much homework, or not enough fun, or a scraped elbow, to be able to wander off into the pages of a enchanting story is an absolute treat.

And another thing that I’d wished I learnt earlier: Don’t stop taking the time to read aloud once your children have learned to read for themselves. I was guilty of this for a time, and realised that Little Man’s interest in books had started to wane as a result of having no-one to share the story with. I began to read his books before he did, and as he went along, we’d discuss different parts of the book together. This shared enjoyment will continue to strengthen your children’s interest and appreciation. 

Children are more likely to read when their interests are taken into. With the sudden, wonderful surge of books aimed at muslim children, I’ve seen my kids take a new interest and have increased enthusiasm in reading. They are better able to identify with the characters, from things as superficial as the names, to checking whether or not a food product is halaal, to making wudhu in winter and explaining why dad has a beard or mum a hijab. To read words such as Allah and salaah and musjid and Quraan makes them feel more ‘at home’ in the story. As much as reading is meant to encourage imagination, it also needs to be identifiable.

From an Islamic point of view, the Quran stresses the importance of reading, studying, reflecting and investigating. Surah Alaq, the very first Surah revealed to the prophet Muhammad (SAW) begins with the word ‘IQRA’, read!!!

Recite in the name of your Lord who created (Quraan 96:1)

Other hadith from the Prophet (SAW) also stress the importance of gaining knowledge.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.“- Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 74

In order to do this, a child, indeed every person needs to have an innate desire to seek out and devour books, which contain this knowledge.

Also having a large variety of books, magazines, and newspapers around your home will help children view written word as part of daily life. And your example of reading frequently and enjoying it will reinforce that view.

Considering all of the above, fellow blogger over at Muslim Mummy and I have decided to dedicate the month of August to ‘Books for Muslim Children’ We will be doing a blog hop where each week we review a book that is either much loved by ourselves or by our children. We hope to cover books aimed at children in the different age ranges from baby books to books aimed at independent readers. Stay tuned, this promises to be fun and enlightening.

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5 thoughts on “Raising Readers

  1. I really hope I continue to read aloud to my little one insha’Allah . His only 8 months old but I started reading to him for a month or so now and he loves it! The expressions on his face when I read is priceless! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m also guilty of not reading out loud to my oldest (age 10), but mostly because she doesn’t want me to. That’s a good idea of reading the books they are reading, so we can connect at that level. However, I do notice her coming over when I read to her sisters, especially books she used to love when she was their age. Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

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