Reading helps child’s psychological wellbeing: Writers

Authors of children’s literature stress that reading a text aloud to children will have a positive psychological engagement.

BENGALURU: A nutritional, balanced meal can help bring up a physically strong child, but what about the emotional and psychological well-being? This was the topic of discussion at the Neev Literature Festival 2019, themed “Taking children’s literature seriously”. While food is for physical strength, reading is for the emotional and psychological well-being, participants stressed.

Authors of children’s literature stress that reading a text aloud to children will have a positive psychological engagement.

Mirrors and windows: Padma Baliga, former professor and reading evangelist, said, “Every child needs to read books that act as both mirrors and windows. By reading books where you see yourself reflected, it helps children to validate existence and feelings with the rest of the world. As windows, books introduce us to see another world.” An individual’s attitude, approach and nature of choice are the result of the childhood learning experience and exposure.

Ms Gita Vardarajan, an author, said, “Through texts, one can engage in conversations with children about issues like casteism, classism, gender etc., which are brushed under the carpet in classrooms. Using texts to talk about these issues is like therapy. By discussing them, we are also imparting the act of empathy. Books and texts are the second best way to sow seeds of empathy in children to complex issues.”

Saviors in difficult times: In an era of rising competition and lifestyle issues, children have bigger hurdles to cross. Ms Zai Whitaker, a writer, said, “Books are related to social behavior and teach children how to respond to relationships. For example, with divorce being a big social issue, children are reading about it through many stories and this makes them feel that they are not alone.”

On the therapeutic value of reading, Ms Smitha Rahul, a psychologist and lecturer said, “Reading provides a platform to explore, express and vent out emotions, as well as gain insights about resolving or committing to change.”

Knits the family bond: While reading results in engaging discussions, it also brings the family closer, said Ms Whitaker.

“It is the best gift that can be given to your child. This is also helpful for the emotional well-being of a family.”

The Neev Literature Fest lists many more themes being discussed on Saturday, the concluding day. Some of them are - Triggering imagination, conflicts that matter, Kashmir stories., etc. The fest is held at Neev Academy, Yemlur.

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