Shivaay Kumar began reading when he was just three and a half years old. Just a year later, the prodigious reader, still barely a toddler, has been setting world records.
Born on November 23, 2016, Shivaay set a record for reading the most number of storybook pages upside down. In total, Shivaay fluently read 201 pages of 15 storybooks, including The Ugly Duckling, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Cinderella, Little Red Hen and The Princess and the Pea. He achieved the feat on July 3, 2021, at the age of 4 years, 7 months and 10 days.
In November, the India Book of Records certified another milestone for Shivaay – a new record for reading the maximum number of words in a minute (208 words) by a kid, which he achieved at the age of 4 years, 11 months and 19 days.
With the pandemic grounding many schools, the Dubai resident found reading as his favourite activity at home. His mother, Neelam Raj, had taught and trained the young boy and noticed Shivaay had exceptional memory. She also later discovered he can also read books upside down.
His father Mukesh Kumar got him more books as Shivaay’s appetite for reading continued to increase, with his personal library now growing to around 500 books.
With his special abilities, Shivaay has been granted an academic scholarship at JSS International School in Dubai, where he is a kindergarten 1 student. While English is unsurprisingly one of his favourite subjects, Shivaay also excels in mathematics and science, having scored a 100 per cent mark at the recent Mathematics and Science Crest Olympiad.
His penchant for setting records notwithstanding, Shivaay is much like any other child in his class – he loves to play football, cricket and other outdoor games, while also dabbling in painting, dancing and singing. Originally from Agra, India, Shivaay is also inclined towards word search and card games and has a deep interest in geography and the solar system.
An aspiring pilot, Shivaay also now has his own YouTube channel called “Little Shivaay”, where he produces educational and fun videos to encourage other children to read and learn.