Each child learns to read at their own pace. Finland is considered to have the best education system in the world. Here, children would only be formally taught to read at age 6.
Things around the world are quite different. In India, for instance, children learn to recognize sounds and letters as young as two and a half years. I don’t think there is any right or wrong, but I definitely do believe it must be a child initiated curiosity. Forced teaching can lead to undue pressure on the child and more importantly, a dread for reading.
Many schools invest in reading schemes that help children reach certain reading goals. A reading scheme is a series of books that have been written to support the process of learning to read. All reading schemes are designed to support the teaching in class and to ensure that when a child takes a book home they can read it successfully, build confidence and make progress. In most schools, the teacher and parent having a reading log that goes back and forth from school and home. Both make comments on the child's reading so the child can be assisted as needed.
Schools may be following one or more of these programs. I am putting this list together as my daughter is now recognizing most sounds and is developing an excitement towards reading. Moreover, I am currently working with an English school in a small rural town in Gujarat where the children do not have any exposure to English at home. I would like to gauge if any of these programs could be beneficial to them.
I have also learned is that no Indian publisher has a step-by-step reading scheme (at least in English). Many multiple factors could play a role- investment of money, the myriad of regional languages, the fact that are already good ones abroad. But it does make me wonder, what about the schools that cannot afford to invest in an international reading scheme? How do their children learn to read in a progressive and effective manner? Perhaps, they have another system that works well? I need to investigate this further!
THE OXFORD READING TREE -
millions of children around the world learn to read with the guidance of this program. They have more than 800 books at their disposal.
RIGBY STAR program
Foundation Stage up to Grade 2 (3-7 year olds), multi-layered, rich fiction and non-fiction titles, learning guides and assessment trackers are also provided
Collins Big Cat- whole-school reading programme that provides complete support for primary reading. Teaching resources to support developing and assessing key reading skills at all stages from early reading through to phonics, to guided, whole-class and independent reading for more confident readers.
Hello! I have been reading reviews on Publishers Weekly, Horn Book, School Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews and several picture book podcasts to come up with this list. I have selected books that I personally want to get my hands on (these may be different for you), but also because they are books that seem like they can be cherished over and over again. I also look for books that have something to offer to adults and children and where the pictures and text play off each other.
I have starred the books available on Amazon India. Most books are suited for children 4 years and above.
How to read a book by Melissa Sweet and Kwame Alexander *
This book seems like one of those evergreen picture books that you just need to have in your child's personal library.
In this book, Alexander (Newbery Medalist) compares reading to peeling the skin of a clementine, digging in to its juiciness, enjoying it “piece by piece, part by part.” Sweet’s (Caldecott Honoree) detailed mixed-media collage artwork encourages children to slow down, “get cozy between the covers,” and spend time enjoying and exploring every morsel of word and image.
Paws + Edward by Espen Dekko and Mari Kanstad Johnsen
Both my children ADORE animals and have been pestering us to adopt a puppy or a cat, but we've been reluctant. The main concern has always been that a pet becomes a family member, but you still have to be prepared for their death. This book seems like it would be lovely for those families who have pets, but even for those who don't!
Paws is old and prefers to spend his days sleeping and dreaming, mostly about rabbits, while Edward, cuddles close and reads books. When Edward invites Paws for a walk, Paws goes because, he thinks, “Edward could use some fresh air.” The two are inseparable until the inevitable occurs and Paws falls into a sleep “without dreams.” Edward is so sad, but when he finally falls asleep (in the park, on the bench Paws used to lie on) he dreams—of Paws, tail wagging, happy—and readers will be uplifted, understanding that Edward’s love for Paws cannot be erased by death. Johnsen’s warmly hued illustrations give Paws such a large presence that he often spills out over the boundaries of the page—a visual manifestation of the story’s theme of love unconstrained by the boundary of death.
Zombies Don't Eat Veggies by Megan Lacera and Jorge Lacera *
Mo, a greenish, bespectacled kid, has an idea to share his love of the veggies he grows in secret: He’ll make a bloody-looking gazpacho, one that might fool mom and dad into appreciating tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic, and cilantro. I would love to read this book to my daughter in hope that it would make her love her veggies :)
Who wet my pants by Bob Shea and Zachariah Ohora *
Reuben, the bear, has got donuts for everyone in his scout troop, but his friends are all staring at something else: there's a wet spot on Reuben's pants. "WHO WET MY PANTS?" he shouts, and a blame game starts. His buddies try to reassure him there was no crime. Just an accident. It could happen to anyone! But as all the clues begin to point in Reuben's own direction as the culprit, Reuben must come to terms with the truth.
Who Wet My Pants? isn't a potty-training book.It's so easy for us to blame others before we look within right? What a witty and wise story about acceptance and forgiveness.
Small In The City by Sydney Smith *
When you're small in the city, people don't see you, and loud sounds can scare you, and knowing what to do is sometimes hard. But this little kid knows what it's like, and knows the neighborhood. And a little friendly advice can go a long way.
I am always fascinated by author-illustrators, I wish I had so much talent! This author-illustrator has picked a meaningful topic and his artwork looks absolutely drool worthy!
Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman
Carl is a humble earthworm content to burrow busily underground, until one day a curious field mouse asks him “why?” This big question pushes him to ponder his purpose and his vital role in the ecosystem. A beautiful way to get our little ones to understand the wonder and interconnectedness of nature.
Dancing Hands by Margarita Engle Rafael Lopez *
As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano.. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.
Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House!
I think all our kids need a dose of non-fiction. I, for one, have just started reading lots of non-fiction (adult) books and I surprised myself when I realised I really enjoy this genre.
Hey, Water by Antoinette Portis *
Join a young girl as she explores her surroundings and sees that water is everywhere. But water doesn't always look the same, it doesn't always feel the same, and it shows up in lots of different shapes. Water can be a lake, it can be steam, it can be a tear, or it can even be a snowman.
As the girl discovers water in nature, in weather, in her home, and even inside her own body, water comes to life, and kids will find excitement and joy in water and its many forms.
My Papi Has A Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Pena *
I heard a podcast with Matthew Winner on The Children's Book Podcast with the author and illustrator and fell in love with the story before even reading it.
When Daisy’s tired Papi arrives home from work, they strap on helmets and take off on his shiny blue motorcycle for a sunset tour of their Corona, CA, community. They zigzag and zoom through busy streets, savoring familiar sights and sounds, and cherishing time spent together. A beautifully developed relationship shared by father and daughter while offering a heartfelt homage to a vibrant city, built by immigrants and faced with constant change.
Ho'onani Hula Warrior by Heather Gale and Mika Song
I know gender fluidity is a complex topic. It is definitely a topic everyone is not comfortable discussing, but may be at the right time and age its something we should be discussing with our children.
In traditional Hawaiian culture, every person has a role in society. Ho’onani doesn’t see herself as a wahine (girl), or kāne (boy). Will leading the kāne hula chant at school help her find her place in the middle?
Saturday by Oge Mora
I have been admiring Oge Mora's work for a while now and when I saw she had a new book out, I just knew I had to get my hands on it.
A trip to the library, a picnic, and a one-night-only puppet show are some of the activities Ava and her mother have planned for their day together. But when Saturday arrives, the two are met with disappointment after disappointment until the day ends on an absolutely “splendid” note thanks to the resourceful and imaginative child.
Vamos! Lets Go to the Market by Raul The Third
This story just looks like it instantly transports the reader to Mexico with its cultural references and detailing. Any book that can take me feel that way has me sold!
Readers travel along as Little Lobo and his pooch deliver a wagonload of supplies to a bustling Mexican mercado, stopping along the way to watch street performers, sample tasty treats, and chat with friendly shopkeepers.
Truman by Jean Reidy and Lucy Ruth Cummins *
In this charming tortoise-de-force, Truman is determined to find out where his Sarah has disappeared to, even if it means venturing into the unknown. This back to school story from a pet’s point of view helps readers find ways to be brave in new situations.
We Are (Not) Friends by Anna Kang Christopher Weyant
This book just looks super cute! Two fuzzy friends are having a fun playdate when a new pal hops in. As the day continues, each friend feels left out at times. It isn’t so easy to figure out how to act when everything seems to change
The day a cute picture book gets shelved can only lead to a dark, sleepless night.
Here’s a little brief to get you up to date:
Natasha Sharma is a Sikh and grew up in Amritsar. The idea behind this story came from childhood memories of seeing her father tie his turban every morning. She teamed up with Priya Kuriyan over a period of two years, where she would send videos of her father tying a turban in order to get the details right in the illustrations.
But, is this really the point?
I believe there's a larger concern at hand. According to Wikipedia, Freedom of Speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. Everyone involved in the making of this book has had their freedom of speech stripped away from them.
This episode has elicited fear within the Indian children's writing industry. I am worried about what this means for authors, illustrators, publishers and the kinds of books we will release going forward. When other countries are advocating more the need for diversity, we will be taking several steps backwards.
I wonder, isn’t a sentiment that forces the publisher to remove the book from their catalog only going to lead to more intolerance?
I stand with #bringbackthepug and hope you do to!
Today, I am sharing a list of books that I think would be apt for 1.5 to 3 year olds and the key words for this age group would be: Repetition & Rhythm.
At this age, children like repetition, especially as they are just learning how to talk. Repetitive text and words help them retain new words and concepts in their mind. Another reason I like repetition is because it allows children to partake in storytelling. My favourite activity to do with N when she was younger (and even now) is to read a new book to her a couple times and then leave out words for her to say. Rhythm is another great way for children to guess what word will come next. It also teaches them the concept of rhyme, laying a solid foundation for spelling. Of course a lot of these is intuitive and as you read more, you’ll figure out what works for you and your child, but I thought I would share my own experiences if they would be of any help!
A couple of cautionary words:
* The age bracket is flexible. I still read a lot of these books to my almost 4 year old and will probably start reading some of these books to my son BEFORE he is 1.5
*The books listed below are books that I have found great, but by no means the only list that you should follow.
*Somehow, I feel the joy of chancing upon a book while browsing through a library or bookstore is incomparable to any list you will find, so do visit book stores when you get a chance!
* Most of these books should be available on Amazon, but if you cannot find them, please get in touch with me – happy to share my own copies
*I have avoided listing too many OBVIOUS choices and starred ones that I really love!
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? *
One, Two Tree
Owl Babies *
The Animal Boogie
Eyes, Nose, Fingers and Toes
It’s A Bear
Days With Thathu
Each peach pear plum
Llama Llama Red Pajama *
Moo, Baa, La La La
Tip, Tip, Dig, Dig
Goodnight Goodnight Construction Sight
Sherri Duskey Rinkey
Whistle For Willie
Ezra Jack Keats
The Colour Monster
To Market, To Market
No Matter What
The Kissing Hand
Whoosh Around The Mulberry Bush
The Tiger Who Came To Tea *
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt *
Press Here *
Goodnight Moon *
Margaret Wise Brown
Guess How Much I Love You
Sam Mc Bratney
Eating The Alphabet
The Pout Pout Fish
Black, White and Wrinkly!
Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby and welcome to the chaos that is parenthood! Though reading with your little one may seem like an awkward exercise in the first few months, there is no such thing as starting too early. In fact, it is an excellent way to bond with your child and create a lifelong love for reading. The gentle sound of your voice and the comfort of being in your arms during a storytelling session is a guaranteed way to soothe your baby. You need not worry about comprehension at this stage, the experience of going through a book is what counts. Of course, this shared activity will also help you pass those initial countless hours at home!
Did you know that newborns have very limited eyesight and they cannot see much further than their own face? Books that have black and white images with strong outlines are perfect for the first few months. By three months, babies can coordinate their hands and eyes so use tummy time to allow them to engage with the books. Between four and seven months, your child can sit in your lap for a reading session. The combination of cuddling up with your child and reading a book, while allow babies to associate reading with a pleasurable experience!
At this age, reading should be introduced as a bottom-up and top-down activity. By this I mean, we should aim to provide books and activities that are developmentally suited for the child (bottom-upà black and white books), but also stories that they may not understand (top-down). The latter approach will open up your newborn to the wide array of sounds and rhythms of speech, as well as the concept of stories. I would suggest reading books with ‘stories’ at bedtime.
By six months, your little one “wakes up” to the world around them and this make them an entirely different reader! They can respond, connect and interact with books so it is essential to provide them with opportunities to do so. Ideal for six to 1 year olds, expose your baby to lamaze books and peek-a-boo books. Lamaze (tactile) books are great for teaching them around the world around them. Using their senses, they can discover what ‘bumpy’ feels like, the look of shiny surfaces and the sound of something crinkling and so on. These soft books that are bright and colourful are great to hang on car seats and strollers.
Peek-a-boo books are also great to introduce your child to at this age. You can peek through a hole to see what's on the next page or peek under a flap to see what's hiding underneath. Babies will have great fun trying to anticipate what comes next or what's hiding. Great develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills! As your baby will be able to sit up without assistance now, it’s the perfect time to give them small books to explore on their own. Use a combination of cloth books and board books.
Here are some great titles, but if you cannot find these particular books, just stick to the above brief and you’ll be fine :)
On The Night You Were Born
Ten Little Fingers And Ten Little Toes
Black on White
How A Baby Grows
Look At You
The Runaway Bunny
Margaret Wise Brown
Where is Baby’s Belly Button
Black and White
Are You My Mother
Where is Spot
Who Said Moo
A Tiny Little Story: Zoo
Flip Flap Pets