Reading is a crucial part of language development, and there are some fantastic English language children’s books.
Hello! My name is Mr Elliot, and I am a teacher at our Avendale, Sai Wan Campus. As part of my role, I teach Enrichment classes about nurturing the love of reading!
Although I really enjoy teaching the class, I am a firm believer that reading, and language, can be developed at home as well; and I often encourage the parents themselves to get involved. Here are a few tips I suggest to develop reading skills at home:
1. Be a role model
Children are particularly good at learning by example - whether it be a good habit or a bad one. In order to promote the habit of reading in your child, provide the example through how you act and read more for yourself. They don’t have to be children’s books. Instead, read more of what interests you and your child might just find a book on their own and join you to read.
You don’t have to read serious books to promote a love of reading. Instead, you can read magazine or newspaper articles - whatever you might enjoy.
2. Build a routine
Have story time as part of your child’s daily routine; even if the day seems too busy. You don’t always need to use a physical book, but having a set time each day in which stories can be shared is an opportunity to develop more than just your child’s reading skills. By talking and sharing with you at a certain time each day, they can develop their social skills, sequencing, time management and more. Having time set aside where a parent can read the story is particularly important, as it allows for some relationship development as well as language.
One popular bedtime story is ‘Oops! says Olly Bear’, a book by Tony Kenyon. It’s fantastically illustrated, and tells the story of a bear who can’t quite go to sleep.
3. Sharing is caring
Be involved in your child’s reading by sharing it together. Try asking them to engage in the reading by talking about the pictures they see; or by contributing individual words and phrases. Sharing the book together demonstrates that you are invested in what the child does and in what interests them.
4. Beyond the Book
Often the best story books can be developed away from the pages on which they are written. Many popular children’s books have opportunities for further engagement through roleplay, songs, real-life observations and more. It might require a bit of thought, but by broadening stories in this way, children are able to see how the words they read can have a real-life application as well!
For example, the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle has a lot of applications, including discussing the days of the week, a healthy diet, and the natural processes of caterpillars and butterflies.
5. Use the Library
The library is a gold mine for families with children. There are many more books on offer than you can provide at home, and the range of stories is much broader. You’ll be very surprised by which books your child can find and want to read! An afternoon in the library is also a free afternoon spent out as a family. There’s no time limit, and you expose your children to a world dedicated to books and language.
6. Avoid screens
I’m very passionate about this one. While phones and televisions might be helpful sometimes, I must stress that children do not learn the same way from screens as if they interact with something physical. When reading, the physical book is much better than a screen at this age, as children can enjoy the full experience of turning the pages and interacting with the pictures and stories they read.
When promoting reading, I would also encourage parents to use the physical books more than the screens.