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Trying to Cultivate a Bookworm

By Farheen, Viva Learn Content Contributor

I suppose one of the great problems of this day and age, for parents anyways, is trying to cultivate a bookworm; or, at least, a child who doesn’t see books as the last avenue people resort to when life has seemingly been leached of all colour and happiness. And that is understandable: reading sometimes requires patience and the ability to become a breathing, beating corpse for a number of hours.

As one who has observed this issue in my own household, the one thing I can say with absolute certainty is that simply telling, ordering, demanding, or begging your kids to read will not make them lifelong readers. Setting an example, on the other hand, will.

It’s a simple case of “monkey see, monkey do”. I myself come from a family in which I am the sole possessor of an obsession for books. I visit libraries and bookstores as often as I can, and am the keeper of a sizeable collection of books at home; many are gifts, many I’ve bought myself and a few I’ve filched from my uncle’s collection. My three younger siblings don’t remotely display the same passion for mere words on thinly sliced trees as I do, but what I’ve noticed over the years is that if I escape into a book, they will follow suit. While I read Anna Karenina my little brother will dive into another one of Captain Underpants’ adventures and my baby sister will flip through Kevin Henkes’ “Chrysanthemum”. My other sister, to whom even vacuuming is preferable over reading, will even condescend to sniff at the next book in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

The bottom line, dear parents, is that you must create an example and an atmosphere if you want your children to adopt certain habits, whether it be reading or something else. In the case of cultivating a bookworm, keep books around the house, make weekly trips to the library and designate a certain time for reading alone, in which both you and your child read. We are all products of our environment; as parents you have the power to shape and control your child’s environment but what you mustn’t forget is that you are as much part of the setting as a creator of it.

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