Listening is the need of the hour
Since childhood, I have been told,
Be happy, stay happy till you grow old.
I was not introduced with all my emotions
‘Being Happy’ was the only notion.
As I grew old, I experienced all my shades
I disliked when I was angry,
Uncomfortable when I was jealous.
Thinking I was not being ‘human’.
Thus, the CONDITIONED me suppressed my own emotions,
Refrained from being my own self.
That ‘SELF’ was rotten and hurt.
Over the period of time,
New experiences blossomed into a NEW self
It made me mirror my own thoughts.
It had all the feelings it should,
It was angry, black, jealous and unhappy
Discontented, sorrowful and gloomy were few more to stay.
The mirror did not resemble a fairy princess
The way I was taught to become.
Uncomfortable I was
Restless and wondering where to go.
Contemplating on the same, I understood.
I still had a choice
The choice to decide,
Either to ignore or to live my feelings
I pondered, reflected and realized,
Was it inhuman to have those NEGATIVE emotions?
Was it BAD to feel BAD!
I wanted to hook to them, I wanted to cry
I wanted to feel and cuddle the feelings tight.
Those feelings had to be welcomed only once,
Accepted all the emotions with all my might
They stayed comfortable with me,
Just being on my side!
The self was contented.
Only then, did I create ways to heal myself
Free from the hurt I had,
This was a new journey for me,
To be an UNCONDITIONED MIND!
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
The quote by George R.R Martin stands out and is so true. Reading opens the doors for an individual to different perspectives, lives and events which one might not experience in one’s life. Yet, the reader can relate and empathize with the main character. It contributes very positively to a person’s ability to create a passage to different ideas, notions. The ‘social-ness’ of an individual is rewarded.
Reading aloud by parents and teachers introduces a child to a book. They understand that the book is to be held in the hands and has pictures. The stage called ‘pretend reading ‘ wherein the child understands that the book has pages, each page has some black ink with vivid illustrations which conveys meaning in the adult world. This could be as early as child is in mother’s womb. Yes! You read me right!
Furthermore, reading enhances the skills to decode (read) the words written in the book. The reading aloud sessions aid in understanding the phonics and decoding the words fluently. Furthermore, with frequent reading sessions the audience ( children) grasp many vocabulary words. These words become a part of the child’s language and in no time becomes a part of his/her speech. Thus, it aids in child’s ability to express his/her thoughts and ideas with clarity. As also recommended by many speech therapists.
After knowing and understanding the positive impacts of reading aloud sessions, we as parents or teachers need to promise in our hearts that we will take up one read aloud session every day for the child at home or in class. There is nothing better you could gift your child! However, it is very important for an adult to PLAN the session before beginning with it. A book has a lot of potential to teach a child, if it is used extensively. Thus, the article further will help a parent/ a teacher to know of the steps to take up read-aloud with examples.
The first step to begin with a good read-aloud is to select a book as per the child’s age and needs. A book with many difficult words might not interest a beginner reader. However, that same book might hook an advanced reader. Thus, know your child’s interests/ reading genres’ preferences and level of reading. There is no harm in trial and error! Post selection of the book sit with the book to plan the session. The read-aloud session will have three components to it: pre-reading, while reading and a post reading. Each component is essential in order to aid in child’s understanding of the story.
Post the selection of the book based on the above mentioned criteria, the adult needs to plan a pre-read session for the child. A pre-read session is to activate the schema of the child to relate to the story to be read. It is important that the pre-read should not last for more that 5-7 minutes, or else it will divert children’s attention away from the book or the plot of the story. An adult might take a book-walk wherein the child is shown all the illustrations to develop a basic understanding of the story.
After the pre-reading, the adult needs to read the story to the child. The story should be read-aloud with voice modulation and expressions. Otherwise, the child will not be able to visualize the story. The child should be able to see the story in his/ her head through your reading aloud. Only then will they enjoy listening to you! Thus, a caution, do not stop at each page to ask “What have you understood?” This breaks visualization momentum. Instead, scaffold the child in their reading by asking questions like ‘What do you think will happen next?’ (a predication-based question).
While reading questions can be of different kinds, for example: prediction-based questions, illustration-based questions, vocabulary-based questions. Each of them serves a different purpose. Thus, each question should be thoughtfully selected. Also, it is important to note that the number of questions selected should not interfere with the JOY of reading. Otherwise, the child will stop looking forward to your read-aloud sessions.
Finally, it is the post- reading session, wherein the adult plans an activity which will be the carry forward of the story. The post-reading session can extend to 15-20 minutes varying as per the task in hand. The adults could include different activities like drawing, painting, craft, origami as the medium to present their understanding of the story/ character.
A post-reading session might also include writing a letter to a friend of their experience of reading a book or writing a book review. Again a caution, do not emphasis only on writing as a skill in the post-reading session. The child might be forthcoming in the post- reading sessions.
Reading will be fun if you create fun and magic for them! Do not consider it as a chore which has to be done for sake of it. Enjoy reading for yourself and for your child. Read for the Joy of reading. Nothing in this world can take place for a mom or dad’s lap for a child. Snuggled up tight in your arms to enter the magical world of books is the GIFT from you!
You may contact me on www.upasanakapur.com in case you need help in planning the read-aloud session for your child at home or in your class. I will be more than happy to be available for you!
Wonder of God, is who I am
I am set apart with an intelligent mind and a loving heart.
Mesmerized by the beauty through my eyes.
I can walk on the path of life with steady two feet,
Each part is vital and essential,
The importance is understood when it’s not around.
I consider myself fortunate to be me!
Even with these blessings
There are moments of bewilderment
When I feel unsure
Of what I have and what I am heading to
I wonder what went wrong
In my way to look at life.
Here is a new me,
I promise to thank the universe,
For the air I breathe and soul I possess.
I pledge to be kind to all, with my words and smile
I assure I stand for the right,
To ensure all are looked and felt alike.
I am an educationalist!
I could create wonders through those little minds.
The value of life for one and all
Is what I am going to take in my stride.
In this world of technology it is important that you give yourself a digital break.
All sweet memories,
among the soothing shade of trees
bring bitter memories!
I am what I am,
feel blissful of what I do,
look at me with a smile
not an iota of doubt in your head.
I deserve your respect
the way it goes for all!
Include me in your thoughts,
the actions will proceed.
In the hustle bustle
trying to meet the daily needs
Letting each day pass-by
without having felt it.
When the rain stopped making me feel like a child again
Instead I crib its onset.
When winters no longer stand for a snuggle from a loved ones
and is replaced by a lonely stroll.
When quarrels and fights are the ways to be
In that hustle bustle
Give me those 24 hours
The hours to think
The hours to introspect
of what has happened
what is it I need?
Why am I and what is the way to be?
No longer will there be dark clouds,
but rays of sunshine
No longer will the quarrel be nasty anymore
or will the fight last or war exist
No longer will I defy,
but allow it to settle
Let the joy settle
to map the road ahead
Let the anger settle and thinking evolve
For the mind to have a clearer lens
Let me have that time
To ponder my responses thoughtfully
that is how I map my mind
The way it should be.
Those 24 hours is what I need!