Monday, February 4, 2013

MIA for More than 1 Year

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.

More than 1 year has gone by and this blog has been neglected too much.
Missing In Action.
My life has become too busy and since I cannot spare more time for this volunteer work, I feel quite sad.
Hopefully, a new year will bring more activities for RAKB.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Setting up a children's home library

Source: the boo and the boy

  • But my son or daughter doesn’t want to read!”

As an English teacher, I hear this common complaint all the time when I ask if their children read at home.

I also hear interesting stories about how parents try to get their children to read by:

  • buying books and magically wait for their kids to read them
  • promising them rewards if they read them
  • threatening them with “unpleasant consequences” IF they don’t read them
  • lecturing them about the “benefits” of reading the books

Then, I’ll give them the following suggestions, stressing to them that it’s a) not an overnight miracle and b) they MUST try their best before declaring it a failure:

1. Switch off the TV at least 1-2 hours a day when the family is awake and at home. The radio is OK.

2. Parents MUST be seen reading (and enjoying) a book themselves – ok, newspapers and magazines count but do pick up a book sometimes 

3. Read to your children. Children love their parents’ attention more than anything else thus curling up or snuggling up with you and a book gives them the greatest joy. Don’t worry…this isn’t permanent as soon they’ll want to read the book themselves. Sigh and you’ll miss those bonding moments…

4. Set up an open shelf with various books there – the family’s selection can all be placed there, with books for younger kids on a low shelf. Books for toddlers can be separated but I’ve not had the need to do that EVEN with my super-active, naughty toddler 

It’s important that the kids can see and get the books themselves. Usually, glass-cased bookshelves are not very encouraging…

I’ve recently enforced the “No TV” rule i.e. if he wants me to read, the TV must be off.

The little fella will turn it off first, announcing,

  • “Shish off TV! Read books!”

5. In buying books for your kids, it’s best to start off with what they LIKE. From there, introduce other titles you’d like your child to read.

The key here is to have a VARIETY of reading materials as they’ll benefit from the information, ideas and knowledge from multiple perspectives.

For example, my boy is CRAZY over trains and he has about 6 books now on trains or transport. To encourage a balanced book “diet”, you will notice that I have other books slotted there too i.e.

- LadyBird “Read it Yourself” series – short stories
- LadyBird “Keyword Reading Scheme” series – essential vocabulary to help with reading skills
- the Bright Baby books – to build his vocabulary
- books about animals – different subject area other than trains!
- Chinese colouring books – to support his learning Chinese at school

6. Discuss the books with them if they show interest. Or you can show interest. Don’t lecture or ask them as a father or mother would!

Instead, approach them (esp teenagers) as you would your colleague, neighbour or another adult. You’ll be surprised at the insight your young reader shows from the discussion.

Also, refrain from acting shocked or horror-struck when they make shocking remarks on politics, sex or other debatable issues. Discussing with them about ensures that communication channels are always open among family members and it’s a great chance for you to fill in gaps for your children.

What if you can’t give all the answers? No matter how educated or experienced we parents may be, we are not experts on every subject (although we could try to be). Suggest that they talk to their best teacher about it, check it out in an encyclopedia or join them on a discovery through the Internet.

With a young child, ask questions that they can answer, eg:
1. “I can see the sun, a flower…what can you see? Show Mummy…”
2. “Uh-oh, what happened here?”

Or, you can even feign tiredness (as I often do LOL) and let the child “read” the book. Lately, he has been trying to show off what a “big boy” he is by holding the book and reading out the words or telling the story of a few books.

I hope that our experiences give you an idea of how to set up a home library and encourage your child to read. Remember to make the experience an enjoyable one – and you’ll have your child reading this book or that book in no time.

This article is copied from Kit's blog, RIGHT READS which was published in 2008 but still very relevant for us in 2011. Thank you Kit for a very nice sharing.


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