The Bookstart Project aims to get youngsters interested in reading
Books are food for the brain and mind and are a source of life-long learning for children.
Throughout the years, parents have been told to encourage their children to read, and in fact, getting your child to read is not difficult.
"Children will love to read if the books they are given appeals to them. They will always find books interesting and fun," said Ruangsakdi Pinprateep, managing director of the Book for Children Foundation.
In 2004, the foundation launched the Bookstart Project, which encourages parents to get their children involved with reading since they are infants. About 106 families with babies, aged six to nine months, participated in the project.
The method is simple and easy. Parents only spend five to 15 minutes a day reading books to their babies. This not only induces the children's attachment to books, but also increases the bond between parents and babies. Ruangsakdi explained how the process functions: "Infants get familiar to the sound of the mothers' heartbeat since they are in the womb. After they are born, they miss the familiar sound. Hearing their parent's voices therefore, responds directly to their needs. The babies will feel closer and warm with the parents' love.
According to Ruangsakdi, parents participating in the project are given a bookstart kit, which consists of six books - three are parental handbooks and three are illustration books.
The project was initiated in 1992 in the UK, where research found that children who participated in the project had the literacy skills three times higher than other children, when they entered kindergarten.
In Thailand, the study conducted among 106 participating families also showed positive results.
"When sent to the nursery, these children appeared to be well-prepared. They never cried and seemed to have emotional stability. Many times they became the comforters for their crying friends," said Ruangsakdi.
The study also confirmed that these children are sensible and have a better grasp of what is being said to them. Their vocabulary is vast and they learn more words quicker.
Besides, books help tighten the family bond. When parents and children read together, it improves the mental health of the families. Realising these benefits, parents also learned to devote more time to the children, playing and reading with them. Source - The Nation Website (Eng)
Monday, March 24, 2008 19:50
Publishers and non-profits team up to introduce youngsters to the joy of booksThe 6th Bangkok International Book Fair begins tomorrow, giving Thai children the chance to peruse a pile of new books.
An increasing number of publishing houses have shifted their focus to children's books, which comprise 20 per cent of the book market, Risuan Aramcharoen, president of the Publishers and Booksellers Associa-tion of Thailand (PUBAT), said.
The children's book market has been growing with more genres and more parents who can afford the books, Risuan said.
The association has also come up with a list of about 1,000 children's books for parents to choose from.
Risuan said the market cannot serve children from all walks of life but the birth of ThaiBby (Books for Children Foundation) has provided opportunities to more children in low-income families.
"Our aim is to bring books to children and bring children to books," Ruangsakdi Pinprateep, managing director of ThaiBby, said.
ThaiBby is a member of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) which has national bodies worldwide.
In three years, Ruangsakdi and his colleagues have provided "book-start bags" to 2,526 families in 12 provinces and to 17 schools and 109 kindergartens in Chiang Mai, Pitsanulok and Yala provinces. Each bag has three books for parents and two for children, Ruangsakdi said. Parents thus learn ways to make children enjoy reading and learn from books.
Support for the project comes from the Thai Health Promotion Foundation and the Office of the Education Council, while publishers offer 25 to 40 per cent discounts.
With the support of the Siam Cement Foundation, ThaiBby is the international sponsor of Inter-national Children's Book Day (ICBD 2008) to be celebrated on April 2.
Thai National Artist Chakrabhand Posayakrit has designed a poster.
In his painting, the artist depicts how Thai children learnt to read in the old days.
"The quest for knowledge needs to be given a high priority and nurtured from childhood," the artist said.