We asked them to give it a try….now they keep asking for more!!


- by Mala Balamurugan 

Mala Balamurugan is a former Corporate Banker ,currently a mother of two  and a homemaker. Mala realized that the field of education is where she wanted to be and has completed her B.ed and M.com. She is a Parent Representative and an active  member of  the Discipline Committee. Her daughter Anaghaa Balamurugan is currently studying in class 4, and her son Shlok joins Shishuvan in the coming academic year. She joined Shishuvan two years and thoroughly enjoys coming to school, even when she is unwell.


You must be wondering what this title means!! Maybe try a new food, a new hobby, a new sport…??

How about getting your grey cells ticking..you ask questions to your children, don’t you?..Now here’s your chance to answer!!

■        Sitting down with __________ provides children with a time for quiet and calmness in their busy lives.

■        ________ can stimulate  imagination and play.

■        _________ provoke curiosity and discussion.

■        ________ provides inspiration, thought and reflection

■        _________exposes children to a wide range of language features and vocabulary.

■        _________ fill a child’s mind with knowledge.

The answer to all this is just one word….did you guess it right? I am glad.

As a generation we are struggling with getting our children to hold a book in their hand, read, explore, think and walk on less travelled paths. We have been looking at ways to get them to leave that notepad, the mobile, the TV aside; even if it was for a little while. Many of us don’t know how to keep them gainfully occupied with something that does not harm them.

Most of us were looking for an opportunity that could help us do this. We had stopped believing that our children could have fun by just sitting calm – without a gadget or technology.

On 15th Oct 2015, World Reading Day, a day being celebrated in the memory of Dr. A P J Kalam; Shishuvan launched its maiden initiative of a Reading Challenge with the help of the British Council. The school’s Learning Resources Committee ( formerly known as the Discipline Committee ) was given full freedom and responsibility to run the challenge with the support of the Leadership and the Library team.

When we launched the programme we were not that hopeful of getting many registrations though we really wanted the parents to give this programme a try. But to our surprise we were able to convince over 200 parents and children from Sr.Kg to Std 7 ….and what a journey it has been!!

Children were to read atleast 6 books in 6 weeks, but many of them surprised us by reading so much more. As we were wrapping up the programme we glanced through many reviews written by the children and were so proud of the growth and enthusiasm in children. The best part was that they were themselves amazed at how they were able to read so much – so quickly.

The bookworm had bit them!! They had realised what we as parents and a school were trying to teach them for years…

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. 

The British Council conducted various workshops where we saw craetive young minds at their best. The session where they had to write their own limericks brought out the writing skills in so many. Our children surprised the facilitators by their talent, wit and humour. One of the facilitators commented that I never expected a sr.kg child to know and use the word “douse fire” when asked what will be another term you use to say put off the fire!! The magic of books had started rubbing off on them:))

The titles and the variety of BCL books, caught their interests and they realised that there can be so many different genres of books out there. By the end of the challenge many were so charged up that they wanted to read as much as possible and push their own limits.

The library staff shared:

Children wanted to keep exchanging new books and read different genres. Wherever they would see the library staff they would say…”Can we take another BCL book?”

The parents shared:

“Our children have learnt so many new words and are able to comprehend so much better. And the best part is they were gadget free!!”

I spent so much more time with my child during these 2 months, watching her read, reading some books by myself, reliving my childhood!!

 The children shared:

I didn’t know I could read fat books and complete them too!! The books were different – some stories scared me, some made me laugh, some were magical- but all were wonderful!! Can we keep reading more?

What else could we have asked for?

Even if we were able to ignite the minds of few children this year, we are hopeful this will inspire and motivate others to join the world of books and reap benefits of this silent friend for life!!

Thank you Shishuvan for this wonderful opportunity and experience!!

A peek into the Reading Challenge……


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