"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all."
— Jacqueline Kennedy
This article in the TOI only states the obvious. Children who develop friendship with books early on have a significant advantage over their peers in terms of vocabulary, general knowledge and even oratory skills.
It is not rare to hear complaints about how a child seems disinterested in books. While some part of the disinterest can be attributed to the child’s inherent nature, for most part the love of books can be cultivated in the infancy stage that can be fueled further as the child grows up.
"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
— Emilie Buchwald
Experts opine that it is never too early to start reading out to the child. One can start as early as 6 months. There is a wide variety of books available in the market that caters to various age-groups. One can start with board books with bright and bold pictures to get the child interested and later on graduate to higher level books depending on the child’s interest.
A book definitely serves as a better distraction than the television in getting the child to eat his food. You can devote a “book-reading” time when the child can pick his favourite book to read. It doesn’t matter if the child wants to read the same book day after day. A bedtime story is also a good way to inculcate good behavior via stories.
You can make a book-reading session more interesting by making appropriate animated sounds, pausing at strategic places to give the child a chance to complete the sentence out of memory or creative thinking or even by enacting out a certain story with your child and his friends, if the child is older.
Books need not be expensive at all. It just needs to be age-appropriate with impeccable language quality. We have some lovely books by Indian authors under publications like Pratham, Tulika and Karadi Tales. The Sesame Street series, Barney series and Pepper series are also favourites with children and adults alike.