Reading is a very integral element of a child’s learning because it is where they learn new words and stories. In Singapore, many libraries for kids are open to visit and explore, most notably the Central Public Library and library@orchard.
For a child to be interested in his or her class, a good reading skill is imperative. Reading will hone one’s patience and allow the child to master listening skills when being read to, as well as practicing his enunciation when reading aloud. Reading also teaches the child to be meticulous about details in the book and train his memory as he remembers the front parts of the story as he reads forward.
Forming a good reading habit when they are young is not difficult but you may need to take care not to make the following mistakes when teaching your child how to read.
You miss out on pre-reading
When trying to teach a child how to read, don’t immediately go into a narrative of what the story is all about. Read alongside the child and let them try to predict what the story is all about.
Ask questions like what they think the title is all about or what would happen in the next scene. Asking these questions would help the child build their knowledge about the story and understand it better.
You ask too few questions
Once you finish a book with the child, don’t immediately go to the next book and try reading again. Ask questions about the book and see how well they understood the text. Of course, don’t keep asking them questions because they may be overwhelmed and affect their reading capacity.
You skip re-reading
Like many things in life, we tend to become familiar with something if we do it several times. This thinking is also the same when it comes to reading. If you re-read the book with the child, they would become more familiar with the story and its words. They also become confident in saying the words out loud.
Too High A Level
When teaching a child how to read, it is important that you don’t immediately start with the classics like Shakespeare and Plato. Pick a book that is age appropriate so they can grasp the words easier and understand the story.
Age-appropriate books are designed to keep a child interested in the story, and also use words and sentences they can easily pick up. Picking a classic may overwhelm the kid and become scared of reading the book. They may even learn words they shouldn’t know until they are older since some classics do not censure itself in certain lines.
You correct every mistake
When the child reads, don’t immediately correct them when they make a mistake. Keep a note on which words they tend to stumble upon and teach them after they read the page or the book.
You may be able to find specific patterns on which words the child tends to have difficulty in reading or pronouncing. Once they finish reading, you can teach them how to pronounce the difficult words and practice with them.
You put the book down quickly
When you and the child finish a book, don’t immediately put it down and look for another book to try out. Once you complete a book, ask the child if they liked the story or if they have any questions they would like to ask about the story. This will help you see if they were paying attention to the story and if they understood the story.
You stick to the same topics
Like adults, kids also have their preferences on what they want to read and would stick to their preferred topics or subjects when picking books. Don’t be afraid to introduce them to other topics, especially ones that are related to their major interest.
If they like dinosaur books, introduce them to books showing animals that look the same as dinosaurs like reptiles.
You overlook the voices of characters
When teaching a child to read, you should make sure you do not sound too monotonous when speaking the lines of the book’s characters. Try varying your tone to match the character’s emotions and expressions to give the child more ideas on how the story goes and what each character is like. Using different tones would also help the child learn the intonation of the words as they read and the importance of characterization.
You ignore illustrations
Kids are fond of illustrations since it gives them a visual representation of what they read and hear about. When you read with the child, always make sure to explain the illustrations in the story and help them explore the story.
If the book you picked for the child to learn does not have illustrations, take time to draw the scenes or find illustrations that match the story.
You interrupt your child
It is important you give children time to read the book without interruptions. If you keep interrupting them as they try to read, they do not get to chance to test their skills and just focus on you.
Let the child test the words for themselves and wait for them to get it right. When they ask for your help, that’s the only time you should speak out and teach how the word is pronounced.
There are a lot of things a child could learn through reading, especially if it is done right. As a tutor, you must be able to tone back a little when teaching a child to read and let the child learn at their own pace, especially if they are learning a second language. Bring your students to the nearest library in Singapore and start introducing the world of books by reading with them. If you do it right, you may even help these kids develop good reading habits and learn their second language quicker than ever.
If you want more articles on improving your child’s reading skills, these may interest you:
4 ‘Must-Know’ Tips for Better Reading
How Your Local Library Can Make You A Better Tutor