‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.’ (Joseph Addison) Needless to say, reading has endless perks in stimulating our minds! And as with any other habit, it’s always best to kick-start a reading habit when we are younger. With that, use these tips to begin or elevate your child’s reading programme.
1. Start with sights and sounds
First and foremost, knowing how to read entails being able to differentiate between the sounds. In the development of children, you’ll find your young ones experimenting with sounds, moving on to blend words, before finally picking up the individual letters of the alphabet!
This is where nursery rhymes offer an excellent entry point into reading. Often recited in a song-like manner, the focus shifts from understanding the sentences to having fun playing around with words.
With that, expose your youngest ones to as many nursery rhymes and engage them with the tunes – they’ll soon be catching interest and having fun in imitating the sounds! Once they become familiar with the sounds, it’ll be easier for you to begin introducing the alphabet.
2. Get into a routine
As children grow older, it’s time to help them make reading a habit! Incorporating reading into their routines doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether it’s daily bedtime stories or weekly trips to the library, making the act of reading a regular activity is crucial in building their interest in it.
Remember, children are naturally always curious and enthusiastic – use this to your advantage by making your routine more engaging. For instance, when you’re conducting bedtime stories, perhaps you can narrate in tones appropriate to the story characters, or make the stories interactive by asking what they think will come next or how the character feels. Why not also rope your children into some prop-making fun? This creative activity will get them thinking about the stories more, and double up as a family bonding activity!
3. Show interest in their reads
As young as they may, even children appreciate it when you acknowledge their opinions and little milestones! After developing a reading habit, start giving children the freedom to choose their own books at the library. This will offer you an idea of what type of stories they are into, and get them to independently discover new things to read.
Once they have made their choices, ask them about their reads – they’re sure to feel assured about their decisions when you show interest. Additionally, consider asking them what they’ve learnt after they have finished the book. This simple act can go a long way in helping them process what they read; being able to internalise the ideas well enough to verbalise them back to you.
4. Seek your child’s school for help
Finally, getting support from your child’s school can also do wonders for their reading habits. Across the various IB schools in Singapore, teachers start cultivating reading habits from the IB Primary Years Programme.
As such, as you’re on the hunt for the best school for your young ones, look for a school with a robust reading programme. Many of these schools offer holistic bilingual education models that understand how crucial reading is to developing language competency, and integrate the act into classroom learning.
To continue honing your child’s reading habits in and out of your home, consider a school that provides enough reading opportunities for your child. Across the many language programmes crafted by international schools in Singapore, there’s a clear emphasis on reading to aid language learning. Enquire today to find the school that suits your child’s learning needs best!