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How I Persuade Hanif to Read

Anipchan is eleven now, and he no longer needs read-booster books like before. Unless of course, there is school-related book waiting on his table unopened ^^;

But years before, Anipchan is no book-lover. He always finds something with less-picture more-words kind of book. A bit like his dear uncle, my little brother, who always pick up the least worded book on our trip to the bookstore. Alas, Anipchan and my brother share one fav title: “GONG”! Manga about a small T-rex surviving the transition era. No text, only pictures. So as what my father did, I let Anipchan choose whatever book he wants. But this time I armored him with a bunch of reading together sessions and lot of explaining what Gong is up to. He likes it when I roarr to Gong’s antiques before bed.

After the “GONG” period, Anipchan spends more and more time at the bookstore. Among the many times we go back and forth in persuading him to read more text, he falls in love with the encyclopedia category, albeit still in comic form. By the time he reaches fourth grade, he already has a shelf full of “WHY” series. Some of them he read more than the others, mostly astronomy. He always loves anything related to the sky, planets, even myth surrounding it. So every time we go to the bookstore, we left him at the “WHY” corner and let him choose one or two books at a time. It is a slow progress than what we actually aim for, but it is a progress nonetheless.

A year later, he’s interested in more text. This time it is horror stories from the “Fantasteen” series. Despite somewhat hesitate, I let him brought home a book titled “Ghost Dormitory.” He immediately fell in love and continue buying more. I think every reading progress is a progress worth celebrating, especially for someone like Anipchan who always had a hard time sitting down and keep his focus.

I let the horror train went on and about for another two years before finally subscribe him to National Geographic Indonesia. The first time the magazine came to our doorstep, he was so excited. Too bad it’s not about astronomy, but he finds history quite appealing too! Last month, we bought National Geography Norse Myth from the special edition series. He already has several titles from the English version which he loves. So adding another one in Bahasa certainly worth it. It is still a long journey to the reading nook for Anipchan, but he has come so far. Now whenever I see him hiding a book under his blanket, I smile. A proud mom smile.

In my book-inducing project, I let my son choose whatever he likes at first. Then accompanying him in his read, create not only bonding but also teaching him how to actually read and understand the meanings of every word he read. To shape the big picture from every chapter in the book and create his own understanding and experience about the story. For Anipchan, it is already a great accomplishment. Of course, I have yet able to shove him my favorite classics like Poe or even Hemingway, he doesn’t  seem interested anyway. He is his own person with his own reading journey. We have a different preference regarding what we put on our bookshelf, which actually makes us richer person than if we read the same stuff. I can’t help getting excited to see what genre he’s into next!

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