Kids Lovin It! (Reading)

This post is not a formula on how to learn to read.

The goal is to instill a love for reading

In our fast paced Society, there is a drive for us to teach our children how to read and in the process, often neglecting the ultimate goal of reading. i.e, To love reading. I am not spared from this drive either. Nontheless, because i value the learning process and the pleasure of reading, it is a constant reminder to restrain myself from forcing my kids to merely learn ‘how to read’ in regards to this matter.

love-reading

I remind myself that the goal is literacy, but the life long goal is the love for reading and learning. In our bid for our kids to learn our language, we often take the shortcut of drilling and practising reading with them.

There are three things that i refrain from doing.

1) Refrain from Repetitive Drills

I refrain from ‘drilling’ them to remember words for the sake of  ‘learning’ to read. For instance, instead of reading a book that only emphasizes on recognition of words (as some phonic books do by repeating the same set of words page after page to share how John saw a cat which chased after a rat.), I select ‘living books’ with rich, meaningful content and vivid illustrations to read to them.

If one is using phonics to teach, we need not be restricted to give them twaddle books. On the contrary, we need all the more to provide quality books for their sustained interest. Young children have the ability to comprehend great ideas even though they might not be able to read yet. We shortchange them by giving them watered down ideas into meaningless sentences for the sake of word recognition.

Inspire our kids with Living Books 

Having said that, there is a place for some form of useful drilling. It could be in a form of playful flashcards learning, or repetition of words through songs and the like. Nontheless, I am very careful not to make all these methods become a chore for learning. What do i mean? That leads to my second point.

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2) Refrain from Over Testing

I refrain from testing my kids on how to read ESPECIALLY during my Read Aloud Story time. During this time, i just simply prop them on my lap or sides and read to them unconditionally.

They simply listen and join me if they are keen to express their opinions or ask questions on the story. I also engage them by asking them about the content, the story sequence, the illustrations and make sense out of what they see or hear. E.g “What do you think will happen next?”, “Do you think this can happen in real life?”, “How do you think he/she was feeling?” etc. When they get stuck with a question, I simply provide the answers plainly without reproach.

Throughout the process, the child just enjoys being read to and having a real conversation with mum/dad.  I find this process banks in beautiful, fond memories and feelings of pleasure associated with reading a book. It also instills a genuine desire to learn and grow in the language.

Make reading enjoyable to build beautiful and affectionate memories

The only times when I do check to see if they have learnt their words, are only during my lesson time with them. For instance, I would ask A to read a story that is within his ability. Whenever he comes to a pause (indicating he doesn’t know a word) i would simply read that word for him and he continues his reading. I try not to make a fuss even if he had forgotten the word. If he is not confident, i will only ask him to read ONE page or even just ONE sentence while i read the rest. This normally encourages him to read aloud cheerfully.

The goal is not to test him but to help him grow in his confidence to read independently as well as having an idea on his progress. All these are done in an encouraging tone and manner to help him grow in his speech and intonation. For J and E, i do not require them to read aloud story books as they are still unable to manage. Instead, i encourage them to narrate the story according to their abilities. For more details check Charlotte Mason’s (CM) explanation of narration and Narration Ideas.

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Just ONE more Page, Just ONE more Minute, Just One Book 

3) Refrain from Setting Unrealistic Goals

Lastly, I refrain from being too ambitious. As a stay home mum, i would read more frequently with my eldest when he was young. Then came number 2 and 3. I had to juggle reading to them as a group and individually. Therefore, I try to read a few pages or one book a day for each child during our lesson time. For the rest of the day, I would read to all three whenever I am free.

 Daily reading is the key to develop lifelong reading habits

Do include at least 5-20mins a day for reading aloud to our kids. For working parents, be encouraged to spend just 5 mins reading at the same time daily. Once this routine is established, you can increase the time by one more minute, and gradually by another book and so on. The goal is to start (if you haven’t) reading consistently on a daily basis. I had to overcome this inertia of reading to all of them by starting small. Reminding myself, just One short book or even a few pages today for just  a few minutes. In time, not only did I get used to the routine, my children also grew in their attention span and could sit with me for an hour or more.

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These efforts are paying off as all three of my kids love to ‘read’ books. The eldest is reading now while the other two are content to look at the pictures and recall my story telling by having silent reading time every morning and sometimes in the evenings for a good 20-40mins at one sitting.

One of the morning routine that we have established two years ago is to have silent reading time from 7am before starting the day. They will read in their own rooms while I do my own quiet time in my bedroom with the door closed. I had never imagined this to be possible until I read Terrific Toddlers by Mel Hayde. She had trained her kids to do that in the early mornings. I was amazed and decided to try it myself. And now it is a great pleasure to have that undisturbed quiet time to be with the Lord while they read their bibles and story books independently. However, this kind of training can only begin after I had established their ability to silent read. It begins with just ONE minute, and adding on….

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Anna from The Imagination Tree has a very interesting method of reading 5 books a day approach which can be found here. If you can’t manage 5 books a day, just start with One for 5 days in a row and vary the interest by reading another book of their own choice. By repeating the storybook for a week, the child becomes familiar with the content and more meaningful discussions of the story can be done. It also reinforces the sight words as you point to each word that you read.

May you have a blissful time of reading with your lovely ones!

I have compiled a short list of books that my children and I have enjoyed. Do check out other books from these great authors as well!

Picture Book List Recommendation

  1.  The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
  2. Swimmy by Leo Lionni and Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni (He weaves in beautiful metaphors in his rich content of the sea creatures.)
  3. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
  4. The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson ( Her books are witty and charming)
  5. Click Clack Moo Cows that Type  by Doreen Cronin
  6. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
  7. Olivia by Ian Falconer
  8. Poems to read to the very young by Eloise Wilkin
  9. Bunny’s Noisy Book, and her classic book on Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wisebrown
  10. Flotsam by David Weisner (His pictures literally speaks a thousand words! Works with great imagination )
  11. Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers (Love all his books which contains simple illustrations accompanied by his great sense of humour)
  12. Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew (He has a series of books from the impressionists to the British painters)
  13. The Prince and the Pauper by Emily Lim (she has a series of meaningful stories with great teaching of values)

Website Resource

This website is a review by this homeschooling mum {Angie} of 4. She has a great love and knack for choosing living books. Her daughter was given a project to review books that they own.

Good Book Reviews by Alethea (grade 7/Sec One standard) 

For those interested in science and nature,check this series. Just click on the (available in with a black book icon)

http://us.macmillan.com/series/BackyardBooks

Lastly, this is a fabulous website which compares the prices of all the sales of book sites so you can get the cheapest deal! Happy shopping. : )

http://oo.sg

Let’s make a choice to inspire the love for reading!

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8 comments

  1. […] Kids lovin it was written in 2014 on how I instill a love for reading with my kids. Basically, I love reading and since they were babies I read to them daily. A picked up the habit of reading since 2yo by viewing picture books silently on his own. He was able to read at age 4 (J and E started reading later between 5 & 6yo) and the rest followed suit in their reading routines. We read day and night. We read at home, outdoors, at the libraries, bookstores, during waiting moments to events and during any rides. Give them a good book and they’ll sit for hours without moving. In fact, only reading prevents these active bodies from being restless. This is where content and ideas are absorbed and stored in their long term memory cabinet. […]

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