By: Natasha Archary
One of the many simple pleasures as a child was walking into a library, choosing my favorite Nancy Drew novel, finding a quiet corner and reading the entire book in a day. Something about being transported into a fantasy world full of escapism that appeals to me, to this day.
But will this “dated” activity be lost on my child? Growing up in the information age, where the entire world and all its wonder is just a click away, I hate to admit that it just might be a thing of the past.
Make it a habit
Limiting screen-time is a topic of great contention for many. With some parents stricter and others more lenient as to what is permissible with their children. And if we’re replacing their beloved smart devices, learning tablets or laptops, are the replacements beneficial to their learning and development? Or is it equal brain fodder?
Children tend to latch onto the habits you have. It’s not just about telling them what to do or what’s expected, you have to be an exemplary role model. It does come across a little hypocritical if you’re constantly plugged in but they’re not allowed any screen-time during the week.
It also wouldn’t help if you’re expecting them to read more but are not invested in making this something you can do together as a family.
Pass on the book baton
As an avid reader and collector of priceless classics, passing on my treasured collection of childhood favorites to my son was a no-brainer. It does help that he’s a keen reader and has taken an interest in most of the titles I’ve since handed down to him.
The collection he values most is undoubtedly the highly acclaimed, 7 book series by J.K Rowling. Yes, I have a huge Harry Potter fan on my hands. And at not-quite 6, we’ve started on the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The movies are good, but the books allow you to use your imagination more. What this has meant for my son, is that it’s opened up his ability to visually bring to life the story and the characters.
With his 6th birthday a month away, he wants an “invisibility” cloak and this mamma is already working on it. Because if that’s what will keep him invested in this story for a while, then I will indulge that.
Creating a culture of literacy
In 2017, adult literacy rate for South Africa was 87 %. The adult literacy rate increased from 76.2 % in 1980 to 87 % in 2017 growing at an average annual rate of 1.59%.
South Africa’s literacy rate isn’t much to brag about but this is largely due to English being the 2nd language in a majority of households in the country. So, under the global standard for literacy, with English being the predominant language, we do not fair well.
That said there are a few really impressive, proudly South African books to introduce to your children from foundation and pre-primary phase and up.
The following list comes highly recommended from Colours of us and it’s a diverse list that teaches children about the country we live in. With a few culturally strong storylines, some fun and hearty tales about unity, the list has something for every age group.
With all the uncertainty around us at the moment with schooling and the Covid-19 crisis that’s gripped the country, many parents are looking for alternatives for their families. Another fun way to distract energetic or bored children if you have chosen to homeschool, like me for the rest of the year.
I have also downloaded a bunch of YouTube animated nursery rhymes and fairytales. This doesn’t replace reading, but it does help keep him occupied and still learning if I need to finish up some work or get on with supper prep.
If you get through the South African recommended titles and are looking for more reading material, then find more titles to add to your child’s collection below.
Don’t forget to share your child’s favorite books with us by tagging @KayaFM95dot9 and using the hashtag #KayaOnline. That way we can start an online book club and keep our young ones reading for days.