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Monday, September 24, 2007

Cultivating good reading habits in our children


The key to lifelong learning is reading and writing. When reading and wiring are a regular part of your family's life, you send your child the message that they are enjoyable, valuable and great ways to learn. Here are some ways you can start helping your child:

1.Keep many age appropriate books and other reading materials in your house. If you have the time, schedule weekly or biweekly trips to the library with your child. Take out books for yourself too. Show your child that you value reading and that it is important to you.

2.Start reading to your child at an early stage.
Make reading daily to your infant or toddler part of your daily routine. It doesn't have to be for more than 20 minutes a day. Do it at the same time each day, if you can, so that you both become accustomed to it. Have fun reading to your baby. Choose books with vivid colors and point out images and shapes to your baby. Be animated with your voice and facial expressions.

3.When your child becomes a preschooler, you can start reading for a longer period of time. To help develop your child's critical thinking skills, encourage your child to ask questions or to predict what will happen next in the story. Be enthusiastic about reading. Read the story with expression. Make it more interesting by talking as the characters would talk, making sound effects and using facial expressions and gestures. Encourage your child to do the same.

4.As your child's ability to read develops, let your child pick out a favorite book to read alone. Make time to read the books together. Take turns, with you reading one page or paragraph and your child reading the next. You might also read the parts of different characters in a story. If your child is unsure of the meaning of a word, have your child use the surrounding words or sentences to figure it out. If this doesn't help, just tell your child what the word means and keep reading. Buy a children's dictionary-if possible, one that has pictures next to the words. Help your child get into the habit of looking up unfamiliar or difficult words. The American Heritage Picture Dictionary is great for preschool and early elementary school students.

StarFall.com is a great website for learning to read for pre-kindergarten to second grade. All the learning materials are free. http://www.starfall.com/

If you notice that your child is having some difficulties with reading, get some help for your child. The problem can be related to poor vision or your child might help extra help. Find tutoring services in your neighborhood or online to help your child. Identify if your child is having problems with vocabulary or reading comprehension.

You can get a free reading aptitude test for grades 2-10 at Mind Play.com-http://www.test4free.com/assess.asp

The good news is that no matter how long it takes; most children can learn to read. By working together with your child's teacher and other educational professionals, you can determine if your child has a learning disability or other problem.

As your child gets into middle school and high school, your child will have other distractions and interests. You can continue to help your child by buying books that would be of interest to them.

Other tips on reading well

1. Active reading takes effort. Parents can help their children to cultivate good reading habit by having strict rules that they should never do serious reading while doing other activities such as watching TV or playing with their toys.

2. As much as possible, provide them a conducive reading and learning environment where there are minimum distraction. For example, switch off the TV at home or get other kids to play outside the house when your children are doing serious reading.

3. Do a preview of the book together with your child before he starts the actual reading. These often help him pay better attention and get more out of the textbook reading time. A preview usually takes between 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the volume of information.


To do a preview you:

- scan through the title of each chapter in the content page.
- look at all the headings, subheadings and marked, italic or dark print.
- look at any pictures or illustrations, charts or graphs.
- quickly skim over the passage, reading the first and last paragraph and glancing at the first sentence of every other paragraph.
- close the book and ask your child: what is the main idea and what is the author's purpose.

By doing the preview, your child will get a good general ideas of the materials. If he has a general idea of what the passage is about before he really read it, he will be able to understand and remember the passage better.

For older children, parents should teach them the technique of doing preview so that they can do it by themselves at any time without the help from their parents.








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1 Comments:

Anonymous Laura said...

You have a wonderful blog. Your theme is beautiful and your writing just perfect. I find your blog very useful and I'm adding you to my feed reader so that I can keep up with your updates.

October 5, 2007 at 12:22 PM  

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