SINGAPORE - Reading expert Mala Sundram offers some strategies for teaching and enjoying reading. She heads speech, drama, reading and writing at Julia Gabriel Centre, which offers reading and writing programmes for children between 18 months and 12 years old.
READ TO THE CHILD FIRST
"The process of teaching a child to read begins with reading to a child. You can make or buy games matching pictures to words, or label things around the home like cupboard or table, to help the child make connections between print and the world around them. It's important to emphasise the play aspect of such activities. If we do a lot of correcting the child's attempts, it can lead to a reluctance to read."
SING A SONG
"Rhymes and songs lead to phonetic awareness, helping the child understand the sounds that make up a word."
SAY IT OUT LOUD
"Make reading-aloud sessions a daily habit. It encourages a child to hear the words and is a nice prelude to shared reading, for instance, where mummy reads a page, and the child reads the next. This bonding time with parents inspires the child to participate.
At three or four, the child can begin to recognise sounds before the words when the session is interactive. For example, the parents can turn the pages, point to the pictures and repeat words."
"Having frequent and meaningful conversations with children can help increase their vocabulary. If you're going on a picnic, for instance, ask the child, 'Shall we plan a picnic together? What do we need - a mat, a basket? What happens if it rains?'
Once they start seeing the words in print, they begin to decode the meanings themselves as the words are not alien to them."
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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