Dr Verghese Kurien is an inspiration for one and all.
The first time I heard Dr Kurien was during a welcome address to the new batch of students. I was hardly aware of him or the institute much before that. But his baritone and the thoughtfulness behind his words were captivating enough.
He said (and I quote from memory so the message is key, not the words) – A leader is someone ‘with a good mind, a warm heart and a desire to do good to people’. ‘And we are working on creating those leaders here.’ There was some magic and seriousness in way he said these words.
Impactful words from a great leader. Forever imprinted in minds to follow.
Between every ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘ The End’ is the surprisingly rich and cognitive act of Reading. With every good story, the involvement and its consequent benefits, is on a variety of levels – Educational, Linguistic, Neurological, Psychological, Social. This is true for everyone, but especially crucial for kids and young adults.
A widely appreciated benefit of reading is the improved linguistic skills in the form of a richer vocabulary, proper grammar, improved writing, better spelling and more articulate and evocative communication. The is a clear edge that readers have over non-readers, making way for early academic success, imparting a love of learning and almost certainly leading to better grades in all subjects.
This further inarguably boosts the confidence and self-esteem of a child who finds herself equipped to participate fully in most activities. This increase in confidence also comes from a deeper understanding where a child fits into the world. And stories have the wonderful power of showing children what people’s lives are like where they live and in other parts of the world.
But perhaps, the most lasting impact of reading is the sheer love of being exposed to ideas and the happiness of being able to experience so many times, places, and events that comes with it. From negotiating the tricky social world effectively to creating an entire world within, reading stories- especially those with strong narrative arcs- is always a joyful experience. After all, even the most advanced graphics and special effects of video games and movies will always fall short of the visual power of your own imagination!
So what exactly goes into the making of a young ’Super Reader’?
At a very Neurological level, reading stimulates the language-processing areas of the brain. However, researchers have proved that as one immerses oneself in a good story, the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were real. By placing the readers in the shoes of the protagonist, and making all the challenges, opportunities and achievements their own, reading vastly strengthens their emotional intelligence and ability to be compassionate. Just by expanding the sheer scale of exploration and experience for the child, reading aids the development of her/his brain.