Embarking on the journey to nurture a child’s love for learning can be an exhilarating and deeply rewarding experience for parents. However, it can also be accompanied by a multitude of concerns and questions that arise along the way. From establishing an effective reading schedule and determining the ideal reading duration, to selecting the right types of books, creating a dedicated learning environment for kids in the house, and choosing the best learning program for specific age groups, parents often find themselves grappling with uncertainties.
To shed light on these common concerns, Fynn Sor, Early Learning Expert, Author, and Founder of @happytotshelf, shares valuable insights into the realm of fostering a conducive learning environment at home. Answering the questions that were asked during the “Cultivate the Joy in Learning” webinar, which is part of the Singapore Parenting Festivals 2023, Fynn provides guidance and support as parents navigate the path towards instilling a lifelong love for learning in their children.
Boosting Your Child’s Love of Reading
How to read together when we don’t even read ?
If it’s a language that you can’t read, try audiobooks, and read loud videos and storytime Podcasts.
What do you mean by reading together vs teaching how to read?
Teaching how to read comes much later. Children develop the basics of reading (how letters form words, how words form sentences), learn vocabulary and new words, develop imagination through being read to first. Teaching how to read involves learning letter sounds, blending skills and these come much later at around 5 to 7 years old.
How do you schedule the amount of time for each kid for reading? Who goes first—the youngest or the oldest?
I announce story time, I will read to the first child who brings me his or her book.
If I have three kids. Must I read a different age-appropriate book for each age?
For the newborn, short books with little text are recommended. For 7 and 5 years old, you can read the same book. Have them take turns to choose a book each night.
My two kids have different opinions on books to read. How do we read together? Or should I read with one kid at a time?
Yes, if you have time, you can read their choice of books to each child. Or you can have your children take turns to choose a book each night.
What is a good reading duration with our kids?
Depends on how much time you have for each child and the attention span of your children. My story reading time with my children is about 30 minutes, 10 minutes per child at night. Sometimes we read more in the afternoon if we have time.
Is there a specific genre or type of book that children really enjoy reading?
Go with books that are related to your children’s interests or what’s happening in their daily life. If your child just visited a doctor, books about hospitals and doctors may interest him or her.
Is it okay for me to read a book that is written in a different format, such as a graphic novel or a choose-your-own-adventure book?
Yes, these are fun books for children, too. It’s good to read a variety, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, autobiography, poems etc.
How do I get teenagers to be interested in reading?
Find books related to the topics they are interested in. If he likes Minecraft, find some Minecraft books. You can also schedule a family reading time, everyone grabs a book and read for 10 minutes a day, including yourself.
Early learning expert Fynn Sor recommends these five ways that you can instil a love of learning in your child
How to Setup a Learning Environment for Kids
What does learning space look like when there’s little space left in the house?
Work with the space you have. Use a small book basket if you don’t have space for a bookshelf. Use the dining table if you cannot find space for another table. A small learning space is better than none. Prioritize your child’s learning and make space for learning and play. A good analogy is we need a functional kitchen to prepare meals, likewise our children need a conducive area to learn and play.
Is the dining table for a conducive learning space?
Yes, that works, too. Find a way for kids to easily put away any materials that they have not completed.
Must the learning space be neat and tidy? When children play, they will take out everything and the space becomes a mess.
Mess is a natural part of play. Let them play and have them clean up at the end of the day.
Learning Tips for Kids
Is it necessary to schedule learning time for preschoolers? My child is constantly exploring and playing on his own.
I encourage a short 10 to 15 minutes learning time. It helps them develop the habit of learning at home, and they don’t get a shock when they are suddenly asked to sit and do work in Primary School.
Is a learning programme available for above 10 years? My sons are 10 and 14 years old.
I share activities that are designed for children between one to eight years old.
Is it recommended to use apps to let children learn? They seem more interactive compared to traditional books.
Apps can be helpful and engaging. But traditional printed books have benefits too – it can help in retention and encourage more hands-on learning.
How about learning outdoors, instead of indoors?
Yes, play and movement time outdoors is always recommended.
About the Expert:
Fynn Sor is an early learning expert and a former Math and Science teacher. She is the author and founder of Happy Tot Shelf, a popular educational website that is all about making learning fun, playful, and hands-on for children. Watching her children grow up, Fynn was constantly awed at how they loved to learn from the time they were born. Determined to nurture this love of learning, she transferred her passion and experience in education to creating learning activities for children.