A genuine love for reading is something that many, if not all parents, would like to inculcate in their children. Exposing children to books at a young age allows them to develop their skills in listening and speaking and later on builds on their reading and writing skills as they learn language and increase their vocabulary. Reading together is an enjoyable activity that helps strengthen the bond between the adult and the child. Modeling good reading habits is a good way to encourage young children to appreciate good literature. A regular reading schedule helps in developing the habit of reading, and as important as choosing the right book for your child, supporting the young reader at home and in school is also essential.
Reading to Infants
The beauty of reading to kids is that you can read to them at any age. As young as newborn babies, story time can already be developed. As infants, they like to hear more of their caregivers’ voice and because of that you may choose to read any book to them. Classic ones are always a good choice such as the Dr. Seuss series, Guess How Much I love You, Runaway Bunny, Corduroy, I Love You Forever, Goodnight Moon, Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Giving Tree, Rainbow Fish and the likes. On their 4th month onwards sturdy board, vinyl or cloth books may be introduced for them to explore. Big colorful images of faces or familiar objects, patterns and textures with 1 to 3 word descriptions that is read to them are things that may interest the infants. As the reach their 1st birthday you may start introducing books that include daily routine such as bathing or eating. Allow the child to explore the book by turning its pages, looking at the images and touching the various texture. Ensure that when you have your story time routine the child is also in an alert mood, well fed and comfortable.
Reading to Preschoolers
Story Time Routine
Set aside a time wherein you and your child can read together. Choose a time when you can be relaxed, whether it is before bed time or in the middle of the day, make sure to allow yourselves to enjoy the activity together. You may choose a cozy spot or a comfortable chair and bring along some story buddies such as a favorite stuffed toy. Sit next to each other as you read the book to your child. Read the title, author and illustrator before opening the pages. While you read the book, point to the words as you say them. Pause at some parts of the book and ask simple questions, or make comments on the text or image to encourage your child to think about the story. Be creative and use different voice pitch when you read through a book. Allow your child to turn the page and let him or her to also ask questions and make comments about the story. As he or she becomes more familiar with the books you read, allow your child to finish the sentences to help foster confidence. Once the habit of reading is formed your child may pick up from it and have independent reading sessions.
Choosing a Book for Your Child
In choosing a book for your child consider their interest and what is most appropriate for their age and/or skills. Choosing a suitable one may help in his or her increasing curiosity in books. For toddlers, a sturdy book that they can easily be flipped is advisable, with big simple images and texts that are repetitive such as Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr., or the Spot book series to begin with. For older children you may look into a topic that they may find interesting like animals, transportation, superheroes or you may explore classics like Where the Wild Things Are, There’s A Nightmare in My Closet, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Good Night Moon, Go Away Big Green Monster, Dr. Seuss Series, Leo Leoni & Eric Carle books, nursery rhymes such as 5 Little Monkeys, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the fun The Wheels on the Bus. Locally published books such as The Ten Friends, Bakit Matagal Ang Sundo Ko, Ang Pambihrang Sombrero, Halo-Halo Espesyal, and But That Won’t Wake Me Up among others help them learn the language as well.
Does the school make literature come alive?
A magical thing happens when one opens a book and suddenly you are in a different world. Making literature come alive in the classroom, being brought to incredible places, going on different adventures and meeting unique individuals are some of the things that the children from Child’s Place Preschool in Quezon City, experience regularly.
A grand and festive event to culminate the school’s literacy celebration is done annually to celebrate the children’s love for reading. Weeks before the celebration, the class chooses well-loved books that reflect the culture of other countries. Opening the book and reading it the class is just the beginning of the journey as stories comes alive with every discussion and activity to know more about the character, the setting and plot as well as the country from which the story came from. Children relate to the story in a personal level guided by their skilled teachers.
On the day of the celebration classrooms are dressed up in 3D designs from a page of a book that will clearly rival any theme park set-up. Using only sustainable materials guest and participants are transported to France, China, Africa, Antarctica, Spain, Korea, Japan because of the outstanding set-up. Books like Ferdinand, Mama Do You Love Me, Bibimbap, Where the Wild Things Are, There’s A Nightmare in My Closet, Red is The Dragon, Tiddalik and may others are some of the titles that have made the classrooms into 3D wonderlands. Known as the Literacy Night Celebration, the Child’s Place Preschoolers come to school dressed up in their favorite literary character or unique cultural costumes and enjoy the activities such as trick-or-treating for goodies in the classroom, stories told by professional storytellers and a parade to showcase their amazing costumes. A friendly competition to recognize the efforts of the parent community and the teachers’ preparation of the classroom makes for an exciting evening for everyone. Highly coveted awards include the Best Classroom and Best in Costume decided by competent external judges from various sectors of the community.
Supporting the children’s growing interest in reading and finding the right partner to tend to this interest is clearly very essential. With a strong support from the home and the school, and opening opportunities to make reading fun and pleasurable, your child will grow to genuinely love reading.
By Teacher Ella T. Basco-Inventor
Child’s Place Preschool
Multiple Intelligence International School
4 J. Escaler St., Loyola Heights, Katipunan Ave., Quezon City
433-4948 to 49