Motivational Speaker

MY STORY

I am Gomathy Narayanan, and I am on a mission to inculcate the love for reading in 1 million young minds thereby changing the way children approach studies and academics. 


BACKGROUND

I am a mother of a lovely 8-year-old son and wife of a loving supportive husband. 


I was born in a normal middle-class family and aspired to live an independent life right from my early childhood. I approached reading as purely academic. My

and a gateway to achieving the financial independence I was seeking, but never 'enjoyed' schooling or the education. Like every south Indian middle-class family, I also did my Engineering and went on to do my higher education in Masters in one of the reputed universities in the USA.


LIFE IN AMERICA

It was during this time that I noticed something very interesting and unique about the early education system in the western world. I saw that children in America enjoyed their pre-primary and primary schooling and it was a very calm and pleasurable experience that parents gave to their children. And at the heart of it was READING. There was so much importance given to early reading and love for books and children could read so fluently by the time they were 3 or 4 years old.


This I saw was a striking difference between how we approached education and I noticed how very little importance was given to reading in children, yet we produced the most successful doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs in the country. Then I went on to study the lives of these successful men, and I noticed one thing in common. These achievers were all AVID READERS.

It was then that my passion for reading started. 

BIRTH OF MY CHILD

Fast forward a few years and we were preparing to become parents. I wanted to give the best for my child, like every other mom out there, and hence during my pregnancy, I went on to read about what are the things I need to do as a mother. I went on to read many books including what to expect when you are expecting, Indian Puranas, How to raise a child, Parenting books and so on. Having read about how a baby develops hearing capability inside the womb, I started singing to my child during my third trimester. I would sing and fall asleep listening to this one particular song during my entire pregnancy. 

Finally, the day arrived and our son was born. It was just past 24 hours since he was born and he was crying inconsolably and any amount of consoling did not stop. Then my mommy instinct directed me to sing a song to console him. And I sand a few rhymes and other songs and he still wouldn't stop crying. Then I sang this song that I used to listen to during my pregnancy, and something MAGICAL happened. My baby not only just stopped crying, but he started giggling and became cheerful. It was a BULB ON moment at that moment, and I had strong proof now that babies can hear and develop through auditory senses. 

BEGINNING OF A JOURNEY
It was with this realization that I decided to sing-along songs and READ a lot of books for my child. Our journey of reading books began when my son was only a couple of weeks old. And soon our naptime, tummy time, and happy time was filled with books and before we knew it, he had over 200 books in his library even before he turned ONE! I would read aloud to my son books with funny sounds, stories of animals and people, and of love and fun. I used to read the books in an animated way that would make him laugh his heart out. By the time he was 2, he wanted to become an astronaut :) and he would tell all the planets and colors and animals, and he would recognize flags of over 100 countries by the time he was 3. My son and I would spend our weekends hopping between libraries and Storytelling sessions conducted in the city. It is then I was attracted to the art of storytelling and I start telling stories for my child and his friends. 

THE BIG SHOCK
But our happy tales had a twist to it and a big devastating incident happened when my son was 3.5 years old. He had started school by then. We got a call for a Parent-Teacher Meeting from his school. In the meeting, we were handed a sheet of paper. In it were names of over 25 centers that evaluated children for all kinds of disabilities, from Dyslexia, ADHD, Autism to LD. I was devasted and I was unable to comprehend how a child who knew so much about planets and dinosaurs and whom I thought was a very bright child could ever have any of these learning difficulties. 

For the next 4 weeks, we went from pillar to post, trying to figure out what the actual issue was and get my child evaluated for these learning difficulties. I would have sleepless nights thinking what if he was deemed Autistic, what if he was branded as a NOT A NORMAL child, what would happen to our dreams, of his dreams and hopes for the future. Our future seemed dark.

THE REVELATION
During one of our visits to evaluate for Autism, a Remedial Therapist told us that our child did not know to read the words that he is supposed to know for his age. She went on to say that he does not know the sight words and the high-frequency words and it was a REVELATION MOMENT for me!! I was thinking, how will my child know to read if he was NOT exposed to these words. Over the next 2 weeks, I went on to research what are sight words, what are high-frequency words, and how they play a building block to reading. I enrolled myself in a phonics class and taught myself how to read phonetically. 


READING JOURNEY
The next 2 months I spent time teaching my child Sight words and letter sounds and I started seeing that my child was starting to read not only did he start to read, he quickly went on reading short sentences and then short storybooks, and I saw that he was able to move from one stage to the next and his reading level was improving faster than I had hoped for. 

Reading by himself not one proved to solve his learning issues in school, but also I started seeing him develop in other aspects of growth, from speech, cognition, and his overall awareness of his environment. He quickly went on to read lengthy picture books in just 6 months and he started reading early chapter books as early as 5. At 7 he was writing his own stories and was excited to publish his own book at 8 years. 


MISSION 
After I saw the success I started to see in my son's reading journey in just the first 3 months, I decided I shall tell the world how Reading proves to be so helpful in a child's growth and I resolved to not let any other parent go through the tough journey that we underwent. 

I went on to perfect my Storytelling skills by undergoing courses and workshops. I launched my first reading club called the 'Bookworm Club' with just 8 children in the living room of my apartment back in 2017. Our weekends were filled with storytelling sessions and book club activities of exchanging books among my son and his friends. 

On mother's day of 2020, I launched my YouTube channel exclusively for kids where I would read aloud books for children. Quickly my YouTube channel started to grow in viewership from across India and other countries like the US and UK. I have over 120 episodes by end of 2021. 

In Nov 2020, I co-founded BooksTrail, along with a good friend with a singleton motive of making 'age-appropriate' books accessible to kids, so that kids develop their love for reading at an early age. Since its founding, BooksTrail has helped over 250 parents find books for their children. Learn more about BooksTrail at www.BooksTrail.in

I continue to have a dream, of the time that will come, when every child in the world has a book in his hand, and reads for pleasure and gets lost inside of a good book seeking pleasure, knowledge, and entertainment. 

And I hope to achieve this through Early Readers Lab, where readers are made.