Shrenik Devasani is the co-founder and CEO of Dojo Panda. He has a Masters in Human Computer Interaction and Computer Science from Iowa State University. He has published several papers and journals in various international EdTech conferences. Prior to founding Dojo Panda, he worked at Xerox PARC and Amazon in California, USA.
Reading to children will go a long way towards your child’s development. Vast research has been done to prove the benefits of reading to your child. Kids feel very secure when they are read to and it is a great opportunity for you to bond and connect with your child. Children who are read to frequently have stronger cognitive abilities and are better at problem solving. The books you read quite often contain words and phrases that are not used in everyday conversations and hence reading books to kids helps expand their vocabulary at a rapid pace. By creating a book-loving child, you are creating a book-loving adult. As Emilie Buchwald says, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents!”
It is very important that the books you select for your child are age-appropriate. A newborn’s eyesight is not fully developed. At birth, a baby sees only in black and white, with shades of grey. The baby starts to develop colour vision only around the age of 4 months. Hence, it would be great to provide books and flashcard sets that are primarily black and white in colour or have high contrast images. This makes it easy for your baby to focus on objects and strengthen her vision as her eyes grow stronger every day.
For toddlers, look for small and sturdy board books with very words per page. Toddlers enjoy interactive books like lift-the-flap, push-pull-slide and touch-and-feel books. You can also choose wordless stories with large colourful pictures that allows you to narrate your own story which in turn helps develop the child’s imagination.
Preschoolers enjoy stories with simple story lines and illustrations that are engaging. They find stories that have repetitive phrases and sounds to be a lot of fun. Predictable books that allow children to fill in the blanks and guess what comes next promotes their imagination.
For young children, it is important to select books that are realistic. Try to avoid fantasy for children under the age of 5 years. Younger children find it hard to distinguish fantasy from reality. Fantasy at an early age prevents the child from developing their creativity to their full potential. In fact, there is no need for fantasy given how amazing real life and nature is!
Books for early school children should have strong storylines and character development. You should also account for the child’s personal preferences and interests to make sure that they find the books very engaging.
The range of children’s books is massive. There are several publishers catering to a wide range of topics and themes. You can pick up children’s books from several avenues – e-commerce websites, bookstores and libraries. However, picking books for your child that are age-appropriate, engaging and realistic requires time and effort. One way to ensure that your kids get the best books at an affordable price is to go for a book subscription service. Dojo Panda is one such book subscription service. Every month, you get a box of books that are personalised for your child, based on their age, current reading or listening level, interests, etc.
Whichever path you take, make sure you give your children the gift of books. As Mason Cooley says, “Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are!”