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Reading and Book Reviews


Reading and Book Reviews

Books and they are always the windows through which the soul peeps out. I have always been an ardent reader through years as I possess a wonderful Library – Shelves with books on Parenting and Child Care, Fiction & Romance, Management, Children’s Books, Spiritual, Cooking, Art & Beauty, Health & Fitness, Music, War & Political …Endless reading and it’s always an ocean of knowledge. “Children who formed the habit of reading at Swagat Children Library are never alone” quips a student’s mother whose son stepped to Swagat world and is now a business man. Books have remained his constant companion while travelling too, she says.

Reading workshop every Saturday is a routine at Swagat Children Library . During this time, students are reading self-selected books independently. However, guided, they choose the books from library and it is important to make sure that the same is “just right” level based selection. While students are reading their books, I am conferring with individual students, conducting guided reading groups or strategy lessons, facilitating project ideas, etc. For this reason, it is important that I have clear routines and procedures in place to keep my independent readers on task and truly engaged in their reading.

Keeping Book logs is encouraged where students must record ALL Books they read throughout the year in their Reader’s Log. This reflect on their own reading habits, set monthly reading goals, and also helps to assess their reading progress.

I find many parents who approached me for Library class, want their children to form the reading habit and have mentioned that they have laid rules for reading and television viewing.

I think, Reading should not be a forced activity but made interesting by narrating, communicating, expressing and showing pictures in the book. Discovering books in a Library or at a store should be a routine. Encourage children by talking ‘just books’ with added Scrap book fun. Children love to draw and add color while they write a review or part of the story. Even games are fun while reading. Making spelling games, board games, cards and so on. Reading should never be serious and this is no learning. Let kids lighten up. Stories and comics are meant to be fun together. Some kids love fiction, some like poetry whereas some like non fiction. Let the child make his choice.

The most important factor is setting priorities and setting example. If a parent or a teacher is not into the habit of reading, they fail to make it ‘fun reading’ and even make boring sessions for the kids. Children who see the adults reading follow the footsteps as they are prone to imitate elders. Setting reading priority is even more essential part because reading habits are formed through setting of routine reading sessions. It can be once a week, two hours of every day, half an hour to two.

Moreover, We need to encourage children to write ‘Weekly review Journal’ of stories they’ve read with a simple jot down in the scrap like: (It can be a daily review too)

Name of the Book
Name of the Characters in the Book
Best Part I like
Hard Words in the Book
My Opinion or Moral of the story
Lastly, Sign of the Student and Teacher’s sign.

Once a week, one review writing and you have 52 reviews ready in a year. Even if the child skips writing, at least there will be 25 book reviews written – five may be beginning efforts but the remaining will be written properly with a little bit of help from the parent or teacher. I have students who’ve submitted 40 reviews + in a year. In the process, the child improves on reading, narrating and even sharpen language skills and handwriting. If a student dislike review writing, there should be an option to write a letter to a friend telling about the story. Here’s Swagat Page with list of students who’ve read +25 and +40 reviews. You can submit reviews to Kidsfreesouls and get into Global List of Readers on Kidsfreesouls.

Engage kids for creativity with many related activities as reading alone is not enough and it may end up a boring activity. Let the creative juices flow and gradually, the habit of reading is developed! Another idea is for Literature reads. Explore the Literature section of Kidsfreesouls and follow the tips here. Kidsfreesouls has conducted Literature Projects and Fairyland Projects – creative ideas always do help.

Here’s on Read Aloud – “Reading aloud helps to develop oral language. It teaches children how to listen and how narrative is structured. They also learn vocabulary and how print works and is read from left to right.”

As most of the children appear for exams soon in coming months, here’s wishing all the best luck and meanwhile, I chart out all the book recommendations, drop in back to read more on the blog.


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