When I was younger, I had lots of imaginary friends thanks to books by Enid Blyton which pushed my imagination to overdrive. There was no limit to what my mind could conceive. One moment I was a detective courtesy of “Famous Five” and “Secret Seven” and another moment something completely different. I was never a Lawyer or Engineer or Doctor as these were not exciting roles in the books I read.
Reading books like Wole Soyinka “Trials of Brother Jero” and Chinua Achebe’s “Arrows of God” and “Things Fall Apart” opened my eyes to the richness of my heritage and to the exciting world within the walls of my own country.
Reading foreign books made me crave for marshmallows, liquorice, strawberries and caviar as these were things we didn’t have. When I later travelled, these were on my bucket lit of things to experience. Before the advent of the internet and cable TV, reading took me to a world where I visited so many places, learnt so many things about different things, discovered new heroes and heroines without leaving my house. This quote by Dr Seuss sums it up.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go, – Dr. Seuss
Many experts agree that the earlier in life children are exposed to books and to different vocabulary, the better they learn new words, and the more they benefit from everyday experiences. To achieve this sort of result, you need to expose your children to a broad range of books not just the ones prescribed by their schools. Expand your child’s world by selecting a range of books that are the right level for your child’s mental development, social relationships and life experiences.
The 10-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter Taylor Swift said, “I wouldn’t be a songwriter if it wasn’t for books that I loved as a kid. I think that when you can escape into a book it trains your imagination to think big and to think that more can exist than what you see.
It’s time to get your child reading, what are you waiting for?
I recommend the following 6 digital libraries and reading apps to get started:
1. Epic (www.getepic.com ): A large collection of books and videos on a wide variety of topics for children 12 years and under. Free for 30 days for parent but totally FREE for Educators.
2. Homer (www.learnwithhomer.com ): 200+ interactive animated stories for ages 2-8, with a section for favorite Sesame Street characters. FREE for Educators and 30 days trials for others.
3. Vooks (www.vooks.com): Offers 200+ interactive and animated stories/songs covering topics for all interest areas for ages 3-7. 30 days FREE trial
4. Reading Prep Comprehension: Is an app (on app store only) that provides comprehension stories with questions like what children ages 7-10 get in school. It has hundreds of stories with thousands of questions
5. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited: This app has a vast library of thousands of books, videos, and games for kids 12 years. Subscription required.
6. Google’s Read Along: This Google app offers 200+ interactive and animated stories/songs covering topics for all interest areas
And if you love good old fashion paper back, here are six (6) bookshops in Lagos to get books for your children.
1. Laterna Ventures LTD: 13 Oko Awo St, Victoria Island, Lagos
2. Chelis Bookazine Ltd: Plot 12 Johnson St, Surulere, Lagos & 28 Onikepo Akande St, Lekki Phase 1 Lagos
3. Book City: 23 Alh. Tokan St, Alaka Estate Surulere, Lagos, Lagos
4. Patabah Books Limited: B18, Adeniran Ogunsanya Shopping Mall, Surulere, Lagos
5. Glendora: Ikeja City Mall, Lagos
6. The Hub: The Palms Lekki Lagos
Even if you haven’t started, it’s not too late. Get your child reading. Let your child conquer the world – one book at a time. I will end with an apt quote by former US President.
Literacy is the most basic currency of the knowledge economy – Barack Obama
Titi Adewusi is Co-Founder, 9ijakidsS; an EdTech company – a fun learning company. that has developed over 250 educational fun interactive games to help children ages 3-13 years understand and retain knowledge as well as excel in school. She is mother to two boys 9 and 12 years and is always looking for fun places to take her children. She believes children learn best through play.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram: @titilopeadewusi LinkedIn: titilopeadewusi