“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go!”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
“Reading books? That’s boring!”
“I prefer watching YouTube video!”
“Looking up facts on the Internet is reading too!”
Have you heard your child making these statements before? If your answer is yes, do not worry.
This week, we sat down with Hazel Lee, Dorothy Koh and Joyce Simpson, TLL's English Subject Heads for the Early Years, Lower Primary and Upper Primary levels, to learn more about how parents can encourage good reading habits in their child.
First Things First, Why Is Reading So Important?
Diving into a good book opens up a whole world of knowledge to your child — new words, new phrases, new expressions and more.
“Besides making sense of individual words and the meaning of phrases, reading also helps your child to comprehend the logical sequence of events in a story and open his or mind to a world of possibilities,” says Hazel Lee.
According to a paper from the University of California, Berkeley, children’s books expose kids to 50 percent more words than watching television.
In addition, while reading the news or current affairs broadens your child's intellectual horizon and equips him or her with general knowledge, researchers have shown that reading literary fiction is useful in boosting your child’s emotional intelligence. It sharpens your child’s ability to understand others’ emotions and learn more about human motivations and behaviour — a crucial skill he or she needs when navigating his or her social relationships.
What Can You Do To Encourage Reading At Different Ages?
One of our favourite quotes about reading is by children’s books author, Katherine Paterson:
“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations — something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.” — Katherine Paterson.
At TLL, we believe reading is an integral part of learning. Here are some ways our English Subject Heads recommend to fuel your child's love for reading.
For your preschool child, Hazel Lee recommends you to:
1. Read Together With Your Child
Reading together is a powerful way to motivate your child to read.
For a start, you may want to read to your child while he or she points to the words and even reads along. Remember to make reading fun and playful — when your child comes across a new verb (action word), bring out the actor or actress in you! Your child will understand what he or she is reading better when he or she can visualise the meaning behind the words.
As your child's confidence in reading grows over time, you may want to encourage him or her to read parts of the story on his or her own too.
2. Surround Your Child With Good Reading Materials
Every book opens a new door in your child’s mind.
Help your child develop a reading habit by having a large array of age-appropriate interesting books at home. The more your child is exposed to good literature, the more reading will become part of his or her daily life.
3. Let Your Child Pick What To Read (Within Reason)
Sometimes, all your child needs is the opportunity to make a choice. Choose an appropriate section in the library and let your child have the autonomy to choose what catches his or her eye. Children who choose what they read, regardless of whether it’s a novel, a comic book or a magazine, are more engaged with what they are reading and more likely to retain the information.
For your primary school child, Dorothy Koh and Joyce Simpson recommend you to:
1. Bring Your Child On Regular Trips To The Library
Visiting the library is the simplest way to expose your child to the wide range of reading materials. Whether your child is a fan of fiction or non-fiction works, libraries allow your child to choose a variety of books on every visit. He or she may even discover new genres of books that he or she really loves.
2. Engage Your Child In A Wide Variety Of Reading Activities
Make reading an essential part of your child's life. Let him or her read menus, movie titles, roadside signs, game guides and newspapers headlines. Always try to make sure that your child has something to read in his or her spare time.
3. Show An Interest In Your Child’s Reading
Reading doesn't have to stop when your child puts his or her book down. To bolster your child’s verbal skills and critical-thinking abilities, ask your child what he or she liked or did not like about a book or character. Ask your child what he or she would have done differently if he or she was the character or how he or she would want the story to end.
At the Learning Lab, We cultivate A Love of reading
Reading is a huge part of your child's learning process. We do not just equip your child with exam-ready knowledge and skills but we desire to help your child develop proficient reading skills as well as a love for reading.
"In one of our recent English classes, our upper primary students read a passage about the ancient art of honey hunting in Nepal as part of the comprehension practice. In many ways, this English lesson was infused with knowledge of Geography, Science and Sociology as students learnt more about Nepal, the various species of honey bees and the role superstitions play in shaping culture," Joyce Simpson points out.
Additionally, to fuel your child's interest in reading, our dedicated curriculum team has curated an extensive list of books suitable for all English students in the early years and primary levels.
Here are some of our favourite picks!
For Nursery 2 to Kindergarten 2 Students
Tony Baroni Loves Macaroni by Marilyn Sadler
This charming tale of a macaroni loving boy is sure to get your child repeating after you! Filled to the brim with stunning illustrations of different types of pastas, it offers ample opportunities to explore the book beyond the story.
Chu’s Day At The Beach by Neil Gaiman
This title is part of an amazing book series about a little panda with a very big sneeze! Humour is a great genre to introduce to your little one and is sure to leave him or her asking for more!
For Primary 1 to Primary 3 Students
Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz
Flora the pig was born for adventure: The day Flora spots a team of sled dogs is the day she sets her heart on becoming a sled pig. Before she knows it, she's on board a ship to Antarctica for the most exhilarating — and dangerous — adventure of her life.
Sleuth on Skates by Clementine Beauvais
Armed with a pair of purple rollerskates and a brain with as many connections as there are stars in the universe, eleven-year-old Sesame Seade is more than qualified to be Cambridge's number one self-made supersleuth. All she needs now is a mission. So when a student ballerina and aspiring journalist vanishes into thin air, some serious sleuthing begins.
For Primary 4 to Primary 6 Students
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Acclaimed detective Hercule Poirot is travelling on board the luxurious Orient Express when he receives news that one of the passengers has been stabbed to death. Will Poirot be able to find the murderer before he or she strikes again?
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?
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Don't Let The Fun Reading Stop Here! Here Are Some Recommended Reads For You!