There is no shortage of emphasis on how it is crucial to instill a love for reading into your child. Why is it so important anyway? Reading enables children to improve in many aspects of their development – when a child reads a word, he’s putting together syllables and trying to figure out how to pronounce it. His understanding of the word is tested at the same time.
Children who come to love reading will find it easier to adjust to the language-heavy primary school environment and have a means of relieving their stress at the same time.
Reading can start even before your child is born
As evidenced by numerous studies, including one published in PNAS, babies in utero are more adaptive to maternal sounds than external sounds. Exposure to their mother’s voice will aid the development of their hearing and language skills.
Not only does reading to an unborn child relax both mother and child, but it also deepens the maternal bond and gives the mother the chance to explore a wide variety of books.
From picture books (there’s a number of great Singaporean children’s books available) to fairy tales and classic folklore, there’s an endless list of what you can read to your child.
Back in 2017, the Straits Times published an article on the benefits of reading to your child, even if he is at a level where he can pick up a book and devour it by himself. Shared reading activates the brain areas involved in understanding narratives and mental imagery. Children also have the opportunity to improve their vocabulary and pronunciation.
(It definitely reduces the risk of your child saying ‘woo-men’ instead of ‘wi-min’.)
Another thing: reading to your child gives you the chance to ask simple questions like ‘What will happen next?’ and ‘Who is in the wrong?’ and gives him the chance to make predictions about the storyline. You can find out how he would act in the character’s place and even relate what is happening in the book to something your child has experienced.
Equipping your child with such skills will help him make better connections and boost his confidence as he moves on to reading all by himself.
Get acquainted with the nearest library
The library system is one of Singapore’s greatest gems. Registration is free for Singaporeans and the basic membership annual fee is free for both Singaporeans and Permanent Residents.
Just this year, it was announced that the anxious wait to borrow double the quota of 8 books during the June holidays is over. Now, you can borrow 16 books at one go and keep them for three weeks!
At the library, you can select books with your child and let him wander about to look at the different genres of books. Exposing children to a wide range of books will help them decide on what they like and widen their knowledge.
You can also take your child to the weekly storytelling sessions held at all Public Libraries. They’re fun and engaging – and who knows, your child might just make some new friends while he’s there!
If you’re keen to engage your pre-school child …
Check out the Rainbow English Activity Books for kindergarten levels: your child will have fun trying out the different activities and recalling words that he has learnt while reading.
The benefits of reading, both tangible and intangible, will stick with your child even when he has grown up. Some of the world’s most famous can attest to it: they owe part of their success to their reading habits.