Be Excited About Reading

6:33 PM

This week Ishita’s school had a week long program special in school called “Be Excited About Reading” or B.E.A.R for short. The concept applied only to the smaller classes where kids aren’t yet reading but need to discover how fun it is to open a book, the older kids in the school had another program called “Drop Everything And Read” (DEAR) during which a little time was set aside each day for kids to read a book of their own choice without being judged.
Since Ishita is a small child, she was of course in a class participating in the B.E.A.R program during which teachers took 30 minutes a day to read story books to their students, we as parents were also instructed to send the children to school with a book of their choice, and because in her school parental involvement is paramount they asked us to volunteer to come read books to the kiddos on Thursday and Friday. Which I of course did, because reading for fun is something that has to be encouraged and is a thing I support 1000%

As some might remember I did blog about how children books are seen in India, and how there is more choice in English kids books than there is in regional languages. I also pointed out that the concept of reading to your children is not yet mainstream in India with the antiquated notion that books are only existing to give a lesson rather than distract and trigger imagination. And the international board in Ishi’s school being far more personality development oriented than more traditional boards, a B.E.A.R program week made total sense. I would have thought however more parents would get involved in it.
I volunteered for today and was the only parent in Ishita’s class that signed up for it, and I am by far not the only SAHM in the parent stock. There was 2 other parents from other divisions that were waiting in the hall to get into the classrooms…and that was it! The circular sent to us at the beginning of the week also asked us parents to take the time each day to sit down with our child and read at least one book to them which of course is more than covered in our home with bedtime stories being ritual, and books being something we spare no expense upon. Ishita is exited at the idea of going to a bookstore, and we even have a library subscription she makes ample use of asking to go there every week. The idea of a kid’s room without a stocked up bookshelf is pretty much unthinkable to me. I grew up around books, grew into a bookworm, my parents gave no restriction on books as long as they were age appropriate, and I remember getting my library card the instant I could read on my own, being subscribed to the Mickey Book Club upon my request the instant the promotional leaflet came in the mailbox, and eagerly waiting for my two books parcel twice a month. Over the years I read “smart” books, silly one, soapy romance to kill the time at the airport, mysteries, scary stories, short stories, epics, books that looked so heavy they could have been a self defence weapon of choice, I didn’t finish ones that I deemed boring even though critics raved about them, I loved some critics pronounced sinisterly idiotic and not worth reading, I’ve read books that made book snobs snort, I’ve read books that made those around me call me a book snob…I’ve read under the blanket with a torch light past my bedtime, re-read certain books so many times they fell apart…donating some I though I would never read again only to have the urge to re-read it years later and have to purchase it again. But all this would not have been possible if I grew up thinking books aren’t to be fun and something to have around at all time from an early age. That’s what B.E.A.R is all about, and safe to say that from the look of this:

2013-08-02 12.50.49

We are on the right path turning Ishita into a book lover for life…


  1. Susan8:47 AM

    I enjoy your blog. It's great that you are making books and reading an important part of your daughters's upbringing. I also grew up with tons of books and remember getting The Bobsey Twins and Nancy Drew books in the mail every month. I still love reading, and it's my favorite way to relax. My sons are 12 and 15, and both are good readers. However they love their iPhones and video games, so I have to make sure they spend time reading. I didn't have those temptations when I was growing up. These days I teach reading in Florida, and we actually have DEAR time for 25 mins a day after lunch time. We actually call it that, too. I guess it's a world-wide program.

  2. Ohhhh Nancy Drew...I used to love these when I was kid, I read them in French since that is my native tongue, she was called "Alice" in the French translation, I am sure Ishita will grow to love these as she get older. And true the good thing was that when we were kids there wasn't much in the way of distractions like there is today, striking a balance is a good idea with kids today. I limit the TV to the morning, when I am myself busy getting everything ready for the day, it stays off the rest of the day, unless it's a supremly rainy day and we are stuck inside in the evening, instead of goig to the park, she is allowed to watch a DVD then, otherwise, no.
    I think BEAR and DEAR are international programs and since our school is an International one it only make sense they are involved in it, not full time, but in special even weeks, since the school days in India are shorter than the ones I got used to in Switzerland.

  3. Amit Sharma3:02 PM

    You can shop at home for books, and experience a world of products that you might not have considered or been exposed to before. When you buy books online, you can experience how much fun it is to go shopping again.


  4. apple1:50 PM

    I read Nancy Drew and Famous Five of Enid Blyton. Famous Five kind of had an old world charm to it. The kids spend their vacations and by chance solved a mystery, very convenient.

    I think good books were always difficult to find in India and hell of a lot expensive. People had a difficult time buying schools books. The schools books were passed down from older sibling to the younger ones, if they were studying at the same school. Books for fun, other than school books is definitely an alien concept. Even today, a good book is somewhere between five hundred to thousand rupees which is quiet expensive for middle class person.

    I suggest you subscribe to children books like "Champak", "Chandamama" and "Amar Chitra Katha" for Ishi. These were the books which I used to read both in Hindi and English. It helped my reading immensely. I was so fond of reading that I soon started reading Hindi magazines meant for married women because I got bored of children's books, much to the annoyance of my parents. Self reading by children often stimulates their interest in reading.

  5. Books do come cheaper if you wait until the paper back is released :) But the best and cheapest option is to subscribe to a library. I am with "Just Books" not only do they have outlets all over the country, you can also pick your books online and have them delivered to you. The 3 books at a time plan cost me about 300 rupees a month, we tend to borrow 3 books a week, bring them back the next and take some new ones. I am planning to update to the 5 books and a magazine plan next months though, because Ishita is so exited at books that taking just two and letting me take the 3rd one for myself is a bit frustrating. The library also have Chandamama and Campak in the magazine section we will go for once I updated my plan :)


Blog Archive