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You've decided to raise a reader. Congratulations! It may be challenging in this digital age, but it isn't impossible.
To get you started on your journey, check on your little one's reading readiness by asking yourself five questions.
But if you answer "no" on some, don't fret! We provide solutions as well to help inch your little bookworm along the reading world.
An interest in both letters and symbols is the most basic sign of reading readiness. The building blocks of reading is phonics, which refers to the alphabet, the sounds of each letter, and how these sounds come together to form words.
A reading ready child knows her letters and is able to identify specific letters when asked.
Test this by asking her to point at an "A" on a poster or pick out an "S" among letter blocks. It is also important that she is able to identify both uppercase and lowercase letters.
Teach letters and phonics using fun games and activities. Start by teaching him to sing the ABC song and other alphabet tunes like A You're Adorable.
"I Spy" is a fun game you can also do to practice letters. Show your child a letter on a flash card, have him identify it, and then tell you what sound it makes. Then ask him to point out different objects around you that start with that letter.
During the official opening of the Singapore Book Fair 2012, Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, says that parents can also encourage their children to engage in conversation over a meal, sing songs together and play simple word games, as this will help influence your child's learning and it is not very time-consuming or difficult to do so.
Kids who are ready to read will try to interpret everything from fast food menus, food labels to stop signs.
If you notice that your child is spending time looking and browsing through books, you can take it as a sign that he is ready to start learning how to read.
Don Bosco, who runs the Super Cool Books range, tells parents to start with the themes that your child might be interested in to start the ball rolling with their love for reading.
Children become interested in reading when they see their parents enjoying the activity.
So if you are looking for a way to relax and unwind, instead of scrolling through social media sites on your phone, try burying your nose in a good book instead and set a good example for your kids to love reading books.
Knowing how to properly use and handle a book is a sign of reading readiness in kids. Give your child a book and observe what he does with it.
Can he comfortably hold it open? Does he know which side is up? Does he flip through the pages from front to back and focus on the words on the page knowing that they tell a story?
If he knows how to do all this, then it's a good indication that he is ready to start reading.
A regular reading routine is an opportunity to show your kid how to properly use a book.
Ask him to hold the book and take charge of turning the pages as you read. Guide his finger across sentences as you read so that he can follow your progress on each page.
Tan Tarn How, a senior researcher at the Institute of Policy Studies, and Loh Chin Ee, an Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education, believe that the most important way to raise a child to love reading is by reading with them.
They also feel that children who start to read early, widely and frequently for pleasure can possibly have a happier, richer and more flourishing childhood.
Was your child able to follow along as you read to him or did he seem lost and confused as the story progressed? Understanding a story is a sign of reading readiness. It is also important in developing an appreciation for books and reading.
You can tell that your child is able to understand the story when he asks questions about the plot, characters or setting, can answer questions about the story, and is able to re-tell the story in his own words.
As you read to your children, pause once in a while and ask them questions. Take the time to clear up any confusion they might have, and back track in your reading whenever necessary.
The Avondale Grammar School also reminds parents to always talk to your child about the book; about all the pictures, the different characters, ask how they think the story will end and their favourite part of the book.
This will help parents to see how well their child has understood the story and you can also help them to develop good comprehension skills.
Your child may ask you to read the same story or series over and over again. This is one sign that he is ready to read and is also enthusiastic about reading.
Adan Jiminez and Felicia-Low Jiminez, writers of the Sherlock Sam series, tells parents not too get too hung up on how educational a book is and if their child wants to read a certain book, just let him read it.
They believe that, "The more children enjoy reading, the more they will see it as a recreational activity instead of something they have to do. This means they will read more on their own and learn tons along the way."
Take note of types of stories or themes that your child likes, and choose reading materials based on those. If he seems to connect with a particular character in a story, look for more books or other reading materials that feature that character.
Eliza Teoh, children's book author of the bestselling Ellie Belly series says, "The most important thing is to choose books according to your child’s interests – not your own. It’s important to get the child used to holding a book and reading it."
Also find out if he can add to a letter sound to form a word. For example, you give him an "F" sound and he responds by saying "food."
Teach your child how to rhyme by choosing a word and taking turns saying words that rhyme with it. You can also challenge each other to say as many words as you can that have the same beginning sound or end sound.
Read: Best phonics apps for Android devices: fun reading tools for preschoolers
If you see your child pointing at the words printed on the cereal box and trying to "read" by stringing along a few words, this might be a sign that she is ready.
To support your child's early literacy development, the National Library Board offers several different programmes for children of all ages, such as the Jiggle, Read & Rhyme interactive programme for toddlers aged one to three years.
If you see (or hear) that your child is trying to read or even just pretending to read, encourage and guide her as she tries to connect the letter sounds to form words.
Don't feel discouraged if she is not able to do so right away. Instead motivate her to keep trying!
Republished with permission from: theAsianparent Philippines.
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