Wednesday, November 10, 2010

9 things your family can do during the days of Eid

by Sound Vision Staff Writer

We are truly in the midst of blessed days.

This is the time of Hajj and Eid.

Image is from here: HERE
The first 10 days of Zul Hijjah are also blessed. Consider this: The Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "There aren't any days greater, nor any days in which deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah Most High, than these ten days. So, increase in them the saying of Tahleel (La ilaha ill Allah), and Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (Alhamdu lillah)." (Reported by Imam Ahmad narrated from Ibn 'Umar).

Below is a sample schedule of activities you and your family can do together in these first 10 days of Zul Hijjah. We have formatted this to fit an activity per day, but since time is running out, it would be a good idea for you and your family to combine two or three activities together.

One activity to do each day is to show what people making Hajj are doing on that day on a blackboard or poster in the living room or on the refrigerator. This way, you and the family will feel connected to them, knowing what they are doing of the Hajj rituals.

Make Hajj come to life in your home

What can you do with a square-sized cardboard box, some black paint and a line of gold fringe material? Make a model of the Kaba that's what!

But don't stop there. Make the Kaba the centerpiece of your family or living room for what's left of the first 10 days of this blessed month. Discuss Hajj by describing exactly how it is performed. If possible, get some dolls or action figures to demonstrate how Hajj is made.

Also, get one of the male family members to "model" Ihram, the clothing men wear during Hajj and Umra, using two big bath towels.

In addition to talking about how Hajj is performed, you can give details about the Kaba in terms of its construction and its reparations. See The Kaba: Its Size and History!.

Invite a Haji, dim the lights and .....

What better way to learn about Hajj from a personal perspective than to hear it from someone who's been there and done it?

If you have a Haji (a person who has performed Hajj) in your home great! Otherwise invite one over.

Dim the lights and ask people to close their eyes. Then the Haji should recount the story from A to Z, from when he or she first thought about Hajj to how the whole journey took place. At the end of this activity, everyone should make Dua (supplication) to Allah to be blessed with the opportunity to perform Hajj or do it again if they have performed this pillar of Islam already.

"Take me, take me, take me to the Kaba!"

Do you think going for Hajj is as simple as booking a plane ticket and flying to the Middle East?

You're wrong! Flying to Saudi Arabia is a luxury most Muslims worldwide still can't afford. This is why you and the family have to discuss HOW people of today and the past got to the Kaba for their Hajj.

If five-year-old Ammar, the baby of the family, is a car, plane, ship or train fan, use this to your advantage. Use his beloved toy(s)to show how so many people use different means of transportation to get to the Kaba, and how long it takes to get to Makkah using these various methods. Transport is a key point because Hajj becomes compulsory on an adult Muslim if the means of transportation are available.

Finally, end this activity with everyone singing the song Take me to the Kaba. The song is on the Allah Helps You Grow CD.(also available on cassette).

Tell it like it is: the story of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him)

Is there a storyteller in the family? If not, is there someone who loves to read aloud?

If even this isn't there, take the initiative and for this one night, be the storyteller of the family so you can share the incredible story of Prophet Ibrahim.

If families are able to sit together and passively watch television why can't they do something more interactive like sharing and discussing a great true story.

What was it like when this great Prophet was thrown into the fire? What was it like when he built the Kaba with his son Ismail?

At the end of sharing his story, ask everyone to think of all the Jewish and Christian people they know at school, work and in the neighborhood and pray for them mentioning their name. Everyone should pray aloud, asking Allah to help them understand what Prophet Abraham brought to humanity, the correct belief in One God. End Dua by saying Ameen.

Using the TV for Hajj

Does your family's time together revolve around the tube? If so, one great way to take advantage of these days of Zul Hijjah while having the family together is to watch a video about Hajj. One video to check out is of Muslim American brother Michael Wolfe's Hajj experience. For kids, they can check out Adam's discussion of Hajj in Adam's World 4: Take me to the Kaba.

But do turn off the TV as soon as you're through and discuss practical ways in which you and your whole family can and will be going for Hajj.

Share what you know-do a school presentation

What would happen if we let all this great knowledge we now have of Hajj, Prophet Ibrahim and Eid just sit in our brains? We would forget!

This is why sharing your knowledge via school presentations on this topic will not only make a great tool for Dawa (inviting others to Islam) but also help you check your own knowledge and remind yourself of the facts.

Presentations can actually be done even after Hajj and Eid, although if it can be arranged beforehand, that would be better, since it would be more timely.

Parents can also do this. Check out our article 21 Tips for Parents for a Hajj Presentation in a Class.

Engage your tongue in the remembrance of Allah

What's a great way to use our tongues these next few days?

Every person, individually, should regularly remember Allah by saying La ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah), Allahu Akbar (Allah is great), and Alhamdu lillah (Praise be to Allah).

Also, talk about the Talbiya (what pilgrims recite during Hajj) and everyone should recite the Takbir of Eid!

And don't forget to make Dua for all those who are suffering Muslim and non-Muslim. Ask for Guidance, and ask Allah to guide humanity.

Planning for the big day

Did seven-year-old Yassin wear different colored socks to Eid prayers last Eid? Did Daddy forget to bring change for parking at the stadium where prayers took place? Was the main dish for that special Eid dinner burnt last time because of the rush to get it done in time?

Planning and Dua are the keys to ensure that disasters like those mentioned above don't happen. Eid can be stressful and rushed as it is. Reduce this by planning properly. Call a family meeting and discuss logistics, menu, where the family will go or who it will invite for Eid, for instance.

Fast & read aloud the Last Sermon of the Prophet

Did you think fasting ended with Ramadan? If so, you're mistaken.

It is recommended to fast on this day. Muslim narrated from Abu Qatadah that the Prophet said: Fasting the Day of Arafa (the ninth day of Zul Hijjah) will be credited with Allah by forgiving one's sins of the previous year and the following year.

As well, we should sincerely ask Allah for forgiveness for mistakes on this day as the Prophet said: Allah sets more people free from Hell on the Day of Arafa than on any other day (Muslim).

Have a big family Iftar. The 9th of Zul Hijjah is going to be on a weekday, so everyone should try to get home from work or school early, if possible, to enjoy Iftar together.

Also, read the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him)'s last Sermon that day, since it was on the 9th of Zul Hijjah that it was delivered. There are so many lessons in the Prophet's Last Sermon (Khutba). This is a great time to read it as a family together.

You can even designate specific parts for presentation to one member of the family. For instance, Sara, 15, must discuss what the Khutba says about women. Ali, 12, must discuss what it says about racism and prejudice.

© 2002 Sound Vision Foundation, Inc.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010



It has been long since my last post. I'm really sorry for not doing my good job in maintaining this blog. I can't promise to update it frequently because I have other responsibilities that needs more attention. Please forgive me. 

I was thinking on next year's activities and was jotting down all the possibilities while I log in to my Maybank account. 

Something caught my eyes! Something very interesting indeed!

Look! Wouldn't this be interesting?

You can see more details here:

Look at the prize. And this is some brief info at the link:

Join Maybank's Stories For Our Future storytelling contest, and you could walk away with RM10,000!
Venue:Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre
Dates:27th - 28th Nov 2010 (Saturday & Sunday)
Time:11.00am - 7.00pm
We invite children to enter the storytelling competition. 
MORE INTERESTING info can be found here:

Aren't you interested?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Ramadhan Dear Readers!

Assalamualaikum and happy Ramadahn tu everyone.

What a blissful day! And I keep thinking that are people doing any reading during this month apart from the Qur'an? Yes, tadarrus is one activity that is done by many Muslims during this month. It's like a compulsory activity to do even though it's only sunnah. But every Muslim knows that during this holy month of Ramadhan, the benefits of doing good deed is multiple.
Anyway, please do not forget to do a regular read aloud with your children. For example you can do a short read aloud with them before the breaking of fast. This will let the children learn something good while waiting. If not, I believe many parents let their children watch the television to while away their time. It's a waste.

Let's not waste any more of their time, take a 10 minutes and read aloud with them. You'll see how fun that could be.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The power of nurturing reading at an early age

Assalamualaikum dear readers.

We know that if we want our children to love books and reading, the skills and interests usually are nurtured when they are still very young like at the age of 1 and 2 years old. Our daily reading with them will gradually help them learn to appreciate books and of course love reading.

Just look at my two nieces here.

I exposed them with books on the first day they're born.

As an aunt who is always preaching to my family about the importance of  reading and encouraging children to read, I have taken the first step in introducing them with books as early as day one they came to this world. Yes, I brought a special book to visit the newborns at the hospital. Try finding, 'We Have A Baby', that's our favourite book.

And, alhamdulillah when I started reading aloud with them they improves a lot since then. The older sister can read at the age of 4 and now she's 6 and she reads books for primary school children sometimes depending on her mood.

The youngest sibling is my nephew who is soon to be 4 years old (the head owner) is not that interested in reading but very much into Blues Clues VCDs.

Her younger sister who is 5 now can read as fast and as good as the older one since a few months ago. And you know what, every afternoon they'll come to my house specifically to the reading nook that I made for them under the stairs to read. I just love seeing them there reading their hearts out.

Such a good feeling for what I've done, alhamdulillah.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Story talk

Activity 5: Story talk

Talking about what you read is another way to help children develop language and thinking skills. You won't need to plan the talk, discuss every story, or expect an answer.

What you'll need:


What to do:

* Read slowly and pause occasionally to think aloud about a story. You can say: "I wonder what's going to happen next!" Or ask a question: "Do you know what a palace is?" Or point out: "Look where the little mouse is now."

* Answer your children's questions, and if you think they don't understand something, stop and ask them. Don't worry if you break into the flow of a story to make something clear. But keep the story flowing as smooth as possible.

* Talking about stories they read helps children develop their vocabularies, link stories to everyday life, and use what they know about the world to make sense out of stories.

Taken from: Reading Rockets

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I want a mom that will last forever

I want a mom that will last forever
I want a mom to make it all better
I want a mom that will last forever
I want a mom who will love me whatever

I want a mom that'll take my hand
And make me feel like a holiday
A mom to tuck me in that night
and chase the monsters away
I want a mom that'll read me stories
And sing a lullybye
And if I have a bad dream to hold me when I cry

I want a mom that will last forever
I want a mom to make it all better
I want a mom that will last forever
I want a mom that will love me whatever, forever

When she says to me, she will always be there
To watch and protect me I don't have to be scared
Oh, and when she says to me I will always love you
I won't need to worry 'cause I know that it's true

I want a mom when I get lonely
Who will take the time to play
A mom who can be a friend and a rainbow when it's gray
I want a mom to read me stories
And sing a lullaby
And if I have a bad dream, to hold me when I cry

I want a mom that will last forever
I want a mom to make it all better
I want a mom that will last forever
I want a mom that will love me whatever, forever
I want a mom that will last forever
I want a mom to make it all better
I want a mom that will last forever
I want a mom that will love me whatever, forever
I want a mom
I want a mom
I want a mom that'll last forever
I want a mom that'll last forever
I want a mom
I want a mom
I want a mom that'll last forever
I want a mom
I want a mom that'll last forever
I want a mom that'll last forever
I want a mom...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reading with your kids is a joy.

Taken from ParenThots,

Joys of reading with your kids


I WAS at a warehouse book sale with my five-year-old grandson. It was the last day of the sale. As I looked at the books spread out before me, I said to him: “If we had come on the first day, I would have grabbed more from a bigger range, but there’s less to choose from now.”

He seemed to ponder what I had said, then grabbed my legs! “Hey,” I protested as he chortled, “I mean grab things up here, not there!” He was soon back to choosing some for himself, and found one he was going to keep for his baby sister, soon to be born.

“I can read this to her when she is big enough,” he said.

That little sister, Sara, is now 17 months old but she had developed a love for books even before she turned one. This is mainly thanks to her parents who keep reading to her every day. Whenever my husband and I turn up to visit, she heads for a book and brings it to us to read to her. Then another book, and another, until we persuade her into doing some other activity like playing a game or sing and dance, all of which she also enjoys.

Yes, it’s never too early to get a child interested in books; it’s you who must make the time to sit with her, to point out all the little things on a well-illustrated page, to repeat words or numbers, and soon she will be repeating after you.  

Do the actions and sounds where possible, for that makes it more fun. Little Sara would cover her ears to show she understood the word “thunder” (plus the sound) read to her. There are times she even sits by herself and “reads” to her teddy bear!

Seeing how much joy books have brought to my four grandchildren (the oldest is 12-plus), I keep popping up at book sales to grab some humorous or unusual books that I have never seen in our bookshops. Some may look a bit worn but their stories can be so “cute” that I don’t mind paying a few ringgit for them.

When the grandchildren come visiting, I usually have some new books for them to browse through. They choose whatever they fancy and one may wait impatiently for the other to finish the one she also wants to read. With the younger ones, we read together page by page.

Among the gems I have picked up from the warehouse book sales are the following:

Put Me In The Zoo by Robert Lopshire is about a strange spotted creature that wants to stay in the zoo but is thrown out because there is no room for him. Narrated in simple rhyme, the creature meets a little boy and girl and he shows them what he can do – throwing colourful spots on things around him – in a very entertaining manner. The pair finds a happy solution for him.

Where Will The Animals Stay? by Stephanie Calmenson tells of what happens to the animals when the zoo is being renovated. It’s really interesting how an old lady offers them a temporary home.

The Lake Mess Monster by Beverly Komoda relates the story of a monster that suddenly appears in a lake popularly used by families around there. They are not pleased with the monster’s seemingly playful antics and fail to catch him or chase him away. However, they finally “tame” him.

For the reluctant reader, try to get a book that entertains him. The book could perhaps be filled with amusing illustrations, or share riddles and tongue-twisters with him. Soon they will be asking you for more!

If you are fortunate to be near a library, a weekly visit there should be a treat. Pick some books for him and also let him choose his own. At bookshops, pay for a new book now and then, whichever catches his attention. Or bring him to the children’s section in a book sale.

The love of reading, inculcated from early childhood, will last a lifetime. It is a hobby that brings limitless pleasure. He’ll never be lonely or bored.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Books has a new rival.

Reading flexibility


GIANTS and upstarts of publishing gathered at the annual BookExpo America in New York City last week agreed eBooks will transform the business, although exactly how it will all shake out remains unclear.

From biggest publishers to newcomers, there was agreement on one thing: the big change will come when there is a standard format across which all eBooks can be published and shared.

The industry has been going through a tumultuous period as Apple and duke it out for dominance in the nascent market for electronic books.

Both want their devices – the iPad and the Kindle, respectively – to be the one consumers use to read eBooks, and each wants to be the biggest virtual store where such content is sold.

A list of books being viewed with Microsoft Reader software running on a hand-held computer at BookExpo America. – AP

Ultimately, consumers want freedom, says David Shanks, chief executive of leading publisher Penguin Group USA.

“Our fondest wish is that all the devices become agnostic so that there aren’t proprietary formats and you can read wherever you want to read,” Shanks says. “First, we have to get a standard that everybody embraces.”

The issue, he says, is the fear of piracy and how to set a common digital rights management system to thwart it.

The battle over technology formats is a familiar one. A century ago, (record manufacturers) Edison and Victor made records that could not be played on each other’s players. There was the Betamax/VHS videotape struggle and more recently, Blu-ray beat out HD DVD.

BookExpo showed traditional books are alive and well. There was buzz for the upcoming book from news parody king Jon Stewart and raucous Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richard’s memoirs as well as a book on home design by Barbra Streisand.

And there was evidence of change coming in the age of eBooks, although the new format was displayed only in one small corner of the sprawling Javits Center convention halls in New York.

Among the digital companies there were Sideways, which helps authors and publishers transform text into multimedia content, adding video, pictures and features such as Twitter feeds.

Eileen Gittins of Blurb, which helps authors and companies self-publish, predicts eBooks will make up half of all sales in five years. In 2009, the global publishing business, including print and digital, was worth US$71bil (RM238bil), according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

“We’re seeing now in book publishing what had happened previously in the music publishing industry. And that is, a massive disruption of the business model,” she says.

The problem is that the cost of printing is a minor cost of publishing whereas developing work with an author and marketing it consume the lion’s share of costs.

That means, she said, that the book industry will become more like the movie business. “The book publishing industry is becoming more blockbuster focused,” she says.

Susan Petersen Kennedy, president of Penguin Group USA, says publishers will not make the same mistakes as the music industry, which had an epic struggle over electronic distribution and piracy and lost huge market share.

“It’s always treated as if the publishers are the Luddites,” she says. “The devices have not caught up with the content. Contrary to popular opinion, the book is actually so far more flexible.”

Serbinis says the industry will see dramatic change. He predicts consolidation among publishers and says tablet computers will be common. He expects readers to eventually be able to lend eBooks to each other.

And books won’t just be for bookstores any more, as new distribution channels from mobile phone companies to gaming companies join the party, he says. “It won’t only be the bookstores that have gone digital,” he says. – Reuters

Friday, June 4, 2010

Republish: On Reading, Books And Libraries

Libraries and books are undergoing rapid changes. The former are being downsized, some are even being closed; while the latter are predicted to go extinct in the future.

In such a light I thought it might be good to remind ourselves of the power of books, reading and libraries through these inspirational quotations:

On Reading:
“Read in the name of our Lord who created, who taught to write with the pen, who taught man what he knew not” — The Quran (Chapter 96)

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!” (1978)

“You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be – I had a mother who read to me.” — Strickland Gillilan

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” — Margaret Fuller

On Books:
“Just the sight of the book takes away the sadness of the heart.” — Moroccan proverb

“The best conversation companion in our time are books.” — Abu al-Tayib Mutannabi

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”— G. K. Chesterton

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.” — Roald Dahl, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

“There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.”— May Ellen Chase

“Never judge a book by its movie.” — J. W. Eagan

“A book is the only orchard I have ever seen which can be put in one’s sleeve and the only park which accompanies a man as he goes. The book is the tongue of the dead and the voice of the living. He is an evening visitor who never sleeps until you sleep and never utters a word except what pleases you, never reveals a secret or abuses a deposit. He is the most faithful neighbour, just friend, obedient companion, submissive professor, expert and useful comrade with no desire to argue to or weary of his owner.” — Ibn al-Arabi, Muslim philosopher

“The book is the tongue of the dead and the voice of the living.” — Arabic saying

“Buy books, and write down knowledge, for weather is transitory, but knowledge is lasting.” — Arabic saying.

A reminder of what libraries (local public and school) represent:
“Libraries are time portals. They can take us back into the past and into the future. They can take us to different worlds, worlds we wouldn’t know, people we wouldn’t understand.” — M.T. Anderson

“We’ve got lots of books to open lots of windows that will let you use your imaginations in lots of ways.” — James H. Billington (Librarian of Congress) at the opening of the Young Readers Center, 2009

“The best of my education has come from the public library… my tuition fee is a bus fare and once in a while, five cents a day for an overdue book. You don’t need to know very much to start with, if you know the way to the public library.” — Lesley Conger

“As a child, my number one best friend was the librarian in my grade school. I actually believed all those books belonged to her.” — Erma Bombeck

“The richest person in the world – in fact all the riches in the world – couldn’t provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library.” — Malcolm Forbes

I hope these quotations made you reflect about all that we have been given when it comes to our access to reading material and to value those who teach/support us in reading. And may we think about those who do not have the opportunities and privileges we have.

But more than this I hope you smiled a little, maybe laughed a little too, as reading these quotations made me do

Friday, May 21, 2010

Communication starts from infancy

Take some time to read and reflect.

Communication starts from infancy


MANY parents know that punishments and threats do not really work with their young children.

It helps to have realistic expectations of your children. Babies are curious about their world. They use their senses to explore their surroundings. Once they grab something, they will put it in their mouths and then throw it down.

When they are exploring, they are not looking for something specific. They want to find out the limits. This is the best time to commu nicate in the right manner with your baby to help him be cooperative. In every interaction with your baby, show mutual respect.

Before giving your four-month-old baby a bath, take some time to talk to him. Make eye contact and tell him exactly what you are going to do.

Your baby may not know exactly what you are saying but he is learning. Even though he is so young, you must use words that reflect your respect for him, including saying “please” and “thank you.” By doing this, you are acknowledging your child.

Make time to communicate with your baby as this will set him on the right path to learning how to behave. Babies are keen on getting what they want. They are not trying to manipulate their parents. All you have to do is show your baby what he can or cannot do, in the most loving way.

Toddlers are beginning to learn about what will happen if they do something. They may try to do what you do not want them to do. This is their way of testing the limits. They explore cause and effect as part of their growth.

If you are out shopping with your toddler and he screams as you pass by the toy shop, you can say to him: “You are screaming because you want me to take you to the toy shop. I get upset when you scream. You can help me by telling me what you want or show me so that I can understand.”

Your toddler will often act in ways that may suggest he is uncooperative. He is not being naughty or rebellious. It is just his way of asserting his independence. Act firmly but kindly. Your toddler will learn to stay calm and in control by observing and interacting with you. Use positive words to encourage him to pay attention to you.

Knowing that your toddler is active and needs safe boundaries, put him in an environment that caters to his activity level. This way, you do not need to constantly remind him not to do anything dangerous.

Remind your toddler that running and climbing belong to the park. Make time to take him to places where he can be his energetic self.

When he appears to be struggling with a task, ask if you can help instead of taking over from him. Your child would be more willing to cooperate when you seek his permission. He needs to feel in control.

Show him how he can do certain tasks at home, such as helping you prepare the family meal. He can lay the table or help you wash the vegetables.

The more skills your toddler learns, the less he will behave badly. All he needs at this stage is to learn ways of cooperating. Spend more time showing him how to do things rather than telling him what not to do.

The Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia is organising a one-day workshop on May 23 on Effective Parenting Of Young Children And Positive Communication With Young Children. For details, contact Letty (012-228 5086).

Article was taken from ParenThots

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Republish: 10 Great Reasons to Read to Your Children

Sometimes we need a little motivation to get us going in the right direction, to continue on course or to resume a course of action we once started. This is true for many parents when it comes to reading to our children.

Some of us hardly or never ever read to our children. We must take heed and start reading aloud to our children. Starting now is better than never.

Some parents began reading to our children from babyhood and all the way into kindergarten age. Then slowly we let the read-aloud habit fall to the wayside as our child grew into an independent reader. But our child still needs to hear our voice, expression and pronunciation. Did you know that our children can listen at a higher level than they can read themselves?

So read, read, read. We must read everyday with our baby, toddler, preschooler, kindergarten, elementary, middle school child. We may even read to our late teen/young adult child as one parent has done.

Here are 10 Great Reasons to Read to Your Children

  1. A Command” – The Qur’an, the best book and guidance, begins with the word “Read”. Read the Qur’an, read the hadith and then read some more. There are many Islamic books (and the numbers are growing) for you to read aloud to your child (see the book reviews on this blog).
  2. Learn the Deen” – Sharing books is one great way of teaching children Islam.
  3. Together Time” – Reading brings families together. What better way than to spend time together sitting and sharing books.
  4. Warm Connections” –  Holding the very young in your lap, sitting snugly with an older child on the sofa, or just sitting on the corner of the bed reading aloud can be a warm and loving experience. A child feels happy and secure having his/her parent’s time and attention.
  5. Reading Readiness” – Children who are read to grow into readers. Reading aloud to your child from young makes him/her familiar with the sound and appearance of the printed word. Making this connection makes it highly possible for this child to develop into a confident reader from an earlier age.
  6. Imagination and Expression Booster” – Develops the imagination of an older child as he/she must picture the story, settings and characters in his mind. They as well as younger children learn how to express words by hearing you read.
  7. Life Skill” – You are giving them a life skill. Reading is essential in all functioning as a Muslim and a human being. Besides, it has also been said, every teacher and librarian you ever meet will thank you!¹
  8. Attention Span Grows” – Listening to stories will help learn to concentrate and develop your child’s attention span.
  9. Word Power” – Reading aloud helps to build vocabulary, develop expression and improve pronunciation of new words.
  10. Just Fun” – Yes, reading is fun, looking at the illustrations are too!

Article was taken from: Guide to Muslim Children's Books and Media

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Get a new book every month

Assalamualaikum and peace to everyone.

Reading is something that need lots of encouragement from many factors around us. To keep the mood for reading we need to let our eyes see new books almost every month. To make it better, surround your eye view with lots of books.

Looking at all the colors of the covers, the illustrations on them, might improve your thirst for reading. Sometimes, you are too busy to read but I'm sure you have time to browse. Why not let your eyes get the chance to browse the pages of books. And new books are always interesting.

Early teen novels

Islamic history novels

Storybooks for children

Books for adults - motivational, religious, business, management and educational

Make them available at your home. Buy one or two books each month and sooner or later, your house will look like mine.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Nice Song for Read Aloud Activity

by Maher Zain

Everytime you feel like you cannot go on
You feel so lost
That your so alone
All you is see is night
And darkness all around
You feel so helpless
You can`t see which way to go
Don`t despair and never loose hope
Cause Allah is always by your side

Insya Allah3x
Insya Allah you`ll find your way

Everytime you can make one more mistake
You feel you can`t repent
And that its way too late
Your`re so confused,wrong decisions you have made
Haunt your mind and your heart is full of shame

Don`t despair and never loose hope
Cause Allah is always by your side
Insya Allah3x
Insya Allah you`ll find your way
Insya Allah3x
Insya Allah you`ll find your way

Turn to Allah
He`s never far away
Put your trust in Him
Raise your hands and pray
OOO Ya Allah
Guide my steps don`t let me go astray
You`re the only one that showed me the way,
Showed me the way 2x
Insya Allah3x
Insya Allah we`ll find the way

Recommended for reading session with teenagers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Reading Tips for Parents of Babies

By: Reading Rockets (2008)

It's never too early to read to your baby. As soon as your baby is born, he or she starts learning. Just by talking to, playing with, and caring for your baby every day, you help your baby develop language skills necessary to become a reader. By reading with your baby, you foster a love of books and reading right from the start. The tips below offer some fun ways you can help your child become a happy and confident reader. Try a new tip each week. See what works best for your child. 

These tips for parents of babies are also available as a one-page handout to download and print.

Snuggle up with a book

When you hold your baby close and look at a book together, your baby will enjoy the snuggling and hearing your voice as well as the story. Feeling safe and secure with you while looking at a book builds your baby's confidence and love of reading.

Choose baby-friendly books

Books with bright and bold or high-contrast illustrations are easier for young babies to see, and will grab their attention. Books made of cloth or soft plastic (for the bathtub) or "board books" with sturdy cardboard pages are easier for a baby to handle.

Keep books where your baby can reach them

Make sure books are as easy to reach, hold, and look at as toys. Remember, a baby will do with a book what he does with everything else — put it in his mouth. And that's exactly what he's supposed to do, so you may only want to put chewable books within reach.

Talk with your baby — all day long

Describe the weather or which apples you are choosing at the grocery. Talk about the pictures in a book or things you see on a walk. Ask questions. By listening, your child learns words, ideas, and how language works.

Encourage your baby's coos, growls, and gurgles

They are your baby's way of communicating with you, and are important first steps toward speech. Encourage attempts to mimic you. The more your baby practices making sounds, the clearer they will become. Go ahead and moo, woof and honk!

Give baby a hand!

Encourage your baby to pick up crackers or peas, touch noses and toes, point to pictures and grab toys. The muscles in those little hands will grow strong, agile, and ready to turn pages.

Develop a daily routine (and make reading a part of it)

Routines can soothe a baby, and let a baby learn to predict what will happen next. The ability to predict is important when your child is older and is reading independently.

Sing, Read, Repeat

Read favorite stories and sing favorite songs over and over again. Repeated fun with books will strengthen language development and positive feelings about reading.

"Read" your baby

Pay attention to how your baby reacts to the book you are reading. Stop if your baby isn't enjoying the story and try another book or another time

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Read With Your Child

Article is in Malay/Bahasa Melayu and copied from Positive Parenting website.

Membaca Bersama Anak Anda
Oleh Woo Pei Jun, Pakar Psikologi Perkembangan

Seperti yang anda tahu, membaca merupakan kemahiran yang penting untuk anak anda dalam tempoh pembesarannya. Selancar mana dia membaca akan membantunya menentukan cara berkomunikasi, memahami dan belajar.

Selain daripada menunggu sehingga anak anda menjejaki alam pra-sekolah, mulakanlah proses pembacaan kepadanya terlebih dahulu. Dia mungkin tidak dapat memahami pada peringkat awal, tetapi sekiranya anda meluangkan masa bersamanya bermain dengan huruf-huruf dan perkataan, dia akan membesar dengan minat membaca!
Adakah anda tahu?
Walaupun membaca dianggap sebagai aktiviti visual, sebenarnya kesemua deria anak anda terlibat ketika mempelajari kemahiran ini.
  • Ketika masih dalam kandungan, anak anda boleh mendengar suara anda dan akhirnya dia boleh belajar untuk mengaitkan perkataan yang disebut dengan tandatanda bertulis.
  • Latih anak anda mengenali huruf-huruf menggunakan jarinya dengan memberikan abjad yang terdapat dalam pelbagai tekstur, contohnya melekat kertas pasir atau kad keras di atas kertas lukisan; atau gunakan pelapik mainan berbentuk huruf.
  • Di bilik mandi dan dapur, bacakan label untuknya dan biarkan dia menghidu bau buah-buahan, bahan perasa dan alatan mandian.
  • Apabila anak anda semakin besar, minta pertolongannya untuk menyalin resipi, tunjukkan bahan-bahan yang diperlukan dan biarkannya merasa apabila perlu. Bantunya mencari maklumat di perpustakaan dan internet tentang asal-usul bahan-bahan masakan eksotik.

Aktiviti: Cakap seperti saya
Untuk umur: 1 tahun
Apa yang diperlukan: Buku atau carta abjad-abjad (anda boleh buat sendiri dengan menggunakan pen berwarna dan kertas)

Apa yang dilakukan: Namakan setiap huruf yang anda tunjukkan. Kemudian, pamerkan gambar atau objek yang bermula dengan huruf tersebut. Semakin dia membesar, galakkannya mengulangi percakapan anda dan membentuk ayat mudah menggunakan setiap huruf.
Aktiviti: Nyanyi bersama saya
Untuk umur: 2-6 tahun
Apa yang diperlukan: Puisi berirama kanakkanak/ Lagu kanak-kanak

Apa yang dilakukan: Bacakan puisi atau lagu secara kuat sambil bertepuk tangan mengikut rentak. Kemudian, jika boleh, ajak anak anda mengikutinya sekali. Lagu seperti “ABC” dan “1,2,3,4,5,Once I Caught A Fish Alive” juga boleh membantu anak anda untuk mengingati abjad dan asas mengira.

Aktiviti: Perkataan orang buta
Untuk umur:
6-8 tahun
Apa yang diperlukan: Keratan besar huruf-huruf besar (4 inci setiap satu) menggunakan kertas pasir kasar; tuala atau kain sebagai penutup mata

Apa yang dilakukan: Tutup mata anak menggunakan penutup mata (sekiranya dia selesa sedemikian) dan letak beberapa keratan huruf di hadapannya sambil mengeja perkataan yang dia tahu. Kira berapa lama masa yang diambil oleh anak anda untuk membaca perkataan tersebut dengan menggunakan jarinya. Tukar pusingan dengan anda atau pasangan anda mahupun ahli keluarga yang lain. Selepas 5 pusingan, tambahkan masa tersebut – pemenang boleh memilih ganjaran yang boleh dikongsi seisi keluarga!
Aktiviti: Baca resipi
Untuk umur: 9-12 tahun
Apa yang diperlukan: Resipi ringkas yang boleh disediakan oleh anak anda dengan pengawasan anda.

Apa yang dilakukan: Baca resepi bersama-sama. Untuk kanak-kanak yang lebih muda, anda perlu membaca beberapa langkah dan menjelaskannya satu persatu. Sekiranya anak anda sudah biasa menolong sejak kecil, anda tidak perlu membuat penjelasan tersebut. Tekankan kata kerja seperti ‘pecahkan’, ‘memukul’, ’mengacau’ dan seterusnya. Untuk kanak-kanak yang sudah besar dan cepat bosan, minta mereka membuat sebuah cerita berdasarkan apa yang mereka sedang lakukan. Sebagai contoh, semangkuk penuh tepung boleh menjadi lereng bukit berpasir di mana sebiji telur seekor burung gergasi ajaib telah terjatuh di atasnya, diikuti dengan hujan serbuk koko yang lebat. Luaskan imaginasi anda dan biarkan anak anda bermain dengan imaginasi tersebut.

Biarkan mereka lihat anda membaca

Kanak-kanak gemar untuk mengikuti jejak langkah ibu bapanya. Baca surat khabar setiap hari, dan sediakan bahan-bahan bacaan yang sesuai dibaca seisi keluarga pada hari minggu. Bincangkan tentang buku-buku yang dibaca oleh anak anda dan tanya mengapa dia menyukai buku tersebut. Dengan menunjukkan bahawa anda berdua mempunyai minat yang sama, secara tidak langsung memberitahunya yang anda turut mengambil berat tentang dirinya.

Hopefully, this article will encourage us to read with our children more.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A new way of reading

The Star Online

Readers are excited about what digital books can do for them, but publishers are being rocked by the changes they are bringing to the industry.

IF you’re a bookworm, carting around hundreds of books in one slim, book-sized electronic device would be the closest thing to Nirvana.

For Zarina Abu Bakar, it certainly is.

“You know how you can get caught unexpectedly, having to wait? Waiting for people to show up, for dinner to arrive or for the cars in front of you to move? With the eBook, I am assured of a variety of titles to keep me occupied during these unwanted and unexpected waits,” says Zarina, 37, who reads eBooks with her US$279.99 (about RM957) Sony Reader, a gift she received two years ago from a friend.

Zarina, whose Reader is loaded with the Quran and works by Jane Austen, Shakespeare and Leo Tolstoy, feels that eBooks are better than physical books because they’re more convenient, portable and one doesn’t have to drive to a bookstore to get them.

“Additional pluses are the automatic bookmarks – no more losing your place in the book – and the (Reader’s) variable font sizes. It also helps to know that you’re saving the environment,” says this general manager of a Putrajaya-based NGO via e-mail.

Although eBook devices have been selling in many Western countries for a decade, they have yet to become readily available in Malaysia (until recently). For various reasons – including market size and piracy, which we will get into later – Malaysians can’t even buy any of the more popular eBook devices online and have them shipped to a local address; we have to actually go to countries such as Australia, Britain, Japan and the United States to get one, or get friends or relatives living there to buy one.

Of course, we can also use other devices, like the Blackberry, iPod Touch or iPhone, to read with. But these communication and media player devices don’t have the large screens that eBook devices have and cannot really provide the same convenience an eBook reader does if you want to read entire books electronically.

Finally, though, Malaysia got its very own eBook device last month when MPH began selling China-made reader Hanlin in its stores here. Priced at RM1,299 (RM1,249 from, the device marks MPH’s ambitious first step into the world of digital bookselling. The local retailer hopes to bring in more devices from different brands this year.

It is only logical for the company to embrace digital books, says MPH senior business development manager Rodney Toh, an eBook enthusiast who owns two Hanlin devices: “It’s an investment in the future. If we delay or ignore all this, it’ll catch up and we’ll be left behind,” he says.

In the beginning

MPH, together with every publisher worldwide, is cruising through wild and rocky waters right now.

As the music industry did in the past and the film industry did more recently, the publishing industry is experiencing a digital shakeup. And it’s such a severe one that industry players – the publishers, booksellers, literary agents and the authors that they represent – are having a migraine trying to deal with changes that are potentially dangerous to profit margins.

Although eBook devices began life around 1999 with the introduction of the (now no longer available) Rocket eBook, the publishing industry didn’t take this new fangled way of reading books very seriously. Many industry insiders believed that the devices would remain on the fringes and would never wholly be embraced by a mass market that still seemed loyal to physical books at that time.

Then introduced the Kindle in 2007.

Kindle makes buying books dead easy. With just a click of a button, you can buy a book from via the device’s wireless integrated service. Better still, the eBooks are priced very attractively: new best-sellers can be priced as low as US$9.99 (RM33.80) instead of the usual US$26 (RM88) and above hard cover books command.

Though it doesn’t have a brick and mortar presence (or perhaps because it doesn’t), is one of the world’s biggest bookstores, so it’s not surprising that its Kindle has already captured the lion’s share of the eBook market in the United States; and since the website now ships the device to more than 100 countries around the world (no, not to Malaysia), we assume world domination will soon follow....

Avid readers will love the fact that hundreds of books can be carried around in one little electronic book reader. – KEVIN TAN / The Star

According to a Jan 15 report from the American book industry association’s Book Industry Study, 20% of American readers have stopped buying physical books and have switched to buying digital books in the last 12 months.

Device makers are taking note. Late last year, a slew of eBook devices were released, and even more were unveiled at the Jan 7-10 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (one of the world’s biggest electronics shows where the very latest products are launched). And it’s said that Apple – always a player to watch – will release a game-changing computer tablet that will function both as a computer and an eBook reader on Wednesday.

Birthing pains

Retailers like and manufacturers of eBook readers are forcing the publishing industry to change the way it does business – and that in turn will affect how you and I consume books.

EBooks certainly seem like a good thing for readers. Since publishers wouldn’t have to bear printing, warehousing and distribution costs when producing a digital book, surely they could sell eBooks at a much cheaper rate than physical books?

The problem is, publishers are still also selling physical books so they cannot afford to allow the digital version of a book to compete with its physical version.

“Imagine selling a digital eBook version of a new release at a lower price than the hard cover version – of course everyone would buy the digital book. As a result, the sales of hard cover books would be affected. Therefore, it is much easier, for the moment, for publishers to price eBooks the same as physical books,” explains Toh.

Or, like Simon & Schuster, they could delay the release of digital versions by a few months to protect the revenue of print versions, particularly the expensive hard covers.

Consumers, of course, do not like this practice, to put it mildly.

Two weeks ago, when HarperCollins decided to delay by a month the release of the eBook version of a much-anticipated book on the 2008 US elections, Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, hundreds of readers recorded one-star reviews for the book at in retaliation (the average rating of a book is known to influence buyers at the website).

“I will never buy a book I am forced to wait to buy. How’s that HarperCollins?” fumes Gary R. “Rustang” Gordon from Nashville, Tennessee, at the website.

“Seriously ... we want to read topical books like this one right away. Not wait a month for the ebook version to be available. I’m afraid I won’t be buying this book after all and will have to subsist on the excerpts published in newspapers,” writes another irate customer, Mugdha Bendre, from California.

As a result of this protest, Game Change earned a dismal average rating of 2.5 at (at the time of writing).

What of books that don’t have a physical version, then? Surely a book released only in digital format would be cheaper than your average paperback? And publishers wouldn’t have to worry about the book competing with its own print version. But, no; currently, such books are also the same price as physical books.

Again, consumers are obviously not happy about this, as they feel that they shouldn’t pay as much for a book that is not physical.

“That’s the consumer’s argument, but the publishers’ arguments is: ‘If I sell a new book at a very low price, where’s my profit?” argues Toh.

Industry indigestion

Then there are the nuts and bolts problems that also affect how much consumers will have to pay for books in the end, such as, how much, if anything, should authors be paid for digital versions of their work.

Last month, Random House – the world’s largest English language book publisher – sent a letter to literary agents declaring that it holds exclusive rights to the digital editions of the “vast majority” of its back catalogue (older titles that they still publish). This means that the authors of those works won’t get paid anything more if Random House sells digital versions of their works.

Why should consumers care? Well, in the long run, this might not be healthy for the publishing industry as a whole; to put it really (really) simply, if authors don’t get paid enough, if they feel they cannot make an adequate living from writing, they could stop writing – and we readers might run out of books to read!

We won’t come to that, of course. For one thing, authors might just decide to cut out the middle man and sell to us directly. Stephen Covey rocked the publishing world by selling exclusive digital rights to two of his best-selling books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Principle-Centred Leadership, to He bypassed his print publisher, Simon & Schuster, to sell his books directly to a retailer,

This means that authors who hold the rights to their works could deny their publishers the chance to earn more money by re-releasing print books in digital format.

Or authors could even get into self-publishing – a frightening prospect for publishers! For consumers? Not so much, since we would still be getting books, only directly from authors. Of course, that might mean badly-written, unedited books, as it is the publisher who usually edits books. So perhaps we shouldn’t write off the publishers just yet.

Pirates, ahoy

Apart from all these pricing and profit problems, the other big – huge! – deterrent to publishers entering the digital world is, of course, piracy. Digitising anything and putting it online makes it vulnerable to online piracy.

(Tellingly, countries like China and Malaysia, where the piracy of digital products is rampant, cannot buy Kindle online or download’s eBooks. Malaysia is not on’s “Live outside the US” list of countries to which the new Kindle 2 can be shipped. Angolans can buy the Kindle 2 but not Malaysias or Singaporeans.)

Not even sophisticated Digital Rights Management software, designed to prevent digital products from being copied and shared, is a deterrent: Last month, hackers claimed to have cracked Kindle’s protection software and enabled non-Kindle users to read’s eBooks without having to buy the device.

The market in Malaysia

It isn’t clear yet how the Malaysian bookselling industry will be affected by eBooks, but MPH’s Toh isn’t worried.

“It’s another avenue to sell books. We want as many devices in the market as possible, and we want to sell eBooks,” he says emphatically.

But one thing’s for sure: sooner or later, the Malaysian book-selling and publishing industry will have to grapple with the same issues the Western industry is struggling with now.

“Hopefully we’ll learn from what they’re going through,” says Toh.

Kinokuniya Bookstores Malaysia is also studying eBook developments closely. Its Japanese and Singaporean stores are already selling eBook devices (Singapore’s Kino sells the iRiver Story, a South Korean eBook device), though the Singapore store does not provide eBooks through its website.

According to Seto Kit Sau, the assistant merchandising manager at the Suria KLCC store, “We’re waiting to see what Apple is coming out with (the much-buzzed-about iSlate) and also waiting to see what publishers are doing for books here. If we provide an eBook device, we must be able to provide the eBooks as well.

“At Kinokuniya Bookstores, we see our role essentially as an information provider. If in the future information comes in a different form instead of the traditional ink and paper, we would still strive to provide as much of it as possible,” she says.

When asked how she thinks eBooks will affect the Malaysian bookselling industry, she says: “There is much buzz in the industry worldwide cause by various issues, such as the pricing and delivery of eBooks. When eBooks do reach us, booksellers need to be prepared for the technology and for change.

“On the bright side, it may be a good thing for small press publishers who may want to try this platform to reach readers as it may well be more cost effective,” she points out.

Is an eBook industry even viable here? Because, from just asking around casually, it seems that not many Malaysian readers are convinced about the appeal of eBooks.

“Call me old fashioned, but, honestly, eBooks can’t beat the aesthetics of the real deal,” says copywriter Randy Khoo, 27, via e-mail.

“Personally, I read a lot, and my books are everywhere in my house. Each one reminds me of a different time and the things I’ve gone through in my life. I don’t think an eBook can give me that,” he says.

Still, Khoo sometimes does read eBooks on his iPod Touch, although he complains that the screen is too small. Even with the bigger screens on eBook devices, “Screen reading for hours is not exactly appealing to me,” he says.

Others are deterred by the high price tag for eBook devices.

Shaqyl Shamsudheen, who reads eBooks on her mobile phone, says that she’s just not interested in the devices right now: “I’m just a student, I can’t afford them,” says the 22-year-old Mass Communication student.

Bernice Alvins, owner of My Book Place, a rent-a-bookstore in Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya, thinks it’s an interesting way of reading books but isn’t sure whether she needs an eBook reader as she’s surrounded by physical books most of the time anyway.

“I might pick one up as I haven’t experienced one before. It’s just that I’ve been brought up to hold a book, to feel it and touch it,” she says with a shrug, adding that she would only consider an eBook reader if the price is right – “Preferably below RM1,000,” she says.

Alvins believes that young people will be quicker to adopt the technology, as they’re more tech savvy but eBooks could be a stumbling block for the older generation.

Please write here if you have a ny feedback.


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