We often have people marvelling at how well our daughter reads. Now I am not beating my own drum, but she can read very well for a 6 year old. Her current obsession is Daisy Meadows’ Rainbow Magic. It is much easier for us when people ask what she would like as a present to ask them to get her a book. She declared her fairy books the best present ever at Christmas and ran all around the house squealing because my Mom had sent her Layla the Candyfloss Fairy in mail for her birthday. I sometimes wonder if it is right, whether we should be putting some kind of restriction. Then I remember my Papa’s words – “People can take everything from you but the can never take your knowledge.” He had only attended a few years of primary school.
People ask us, how we taught our daughter to read so well. Now this is where I hit a speed bump. Did I teach her to read? I do not remember sitting with her and teaching her sounds. I do remember picking a few easy words such as ‘and’, ‘you’, ‘if’ and ‘the’ on the whiteboard for her to see every day. That lasted a couple of weeks and we stopped because she could read more than that.
As early as I can remember, and that was even before we decided to have children, I started collecting some books, ones I remembered from my childhood. When my daughter was born, we would read to her. The first readings were from the Bible. We did our daily devotion and prayed while I fed her before putting her down for the night. As she grew older and started touching and flicking pages, we bought some board books for her. Her favourite were Sesame Street Beginnings library. She found it very fascinating to touch and do things with the books.
Once iPad made an entry into the market, we downloaded some Read-To-Me books for her. The very first one was Toy Story. At that time, there were just the four books – all of the Toy Story ones and Disney’s Princess and the Frog. I also downloaded and App called Preschool: 15 in 1. There was not much learning happening in there. There is section that has animal sounds and that is all she played J
When she was 2.5 years old, I tried to introduce ABC Reading Eggs. It was all on the computer and she could not understand much so she was not interested then, however, 6 months later, her childcare introduced the program and she wanted in on it at home as well. I subscribed to it and downloaded a free App from them as well. To make it easier for her, we bought a laptop as well. Though she has become bored of the program now, as far as reading goes, that was the beginning and she has never looked back. We are now at a point where Library trips may become fortnightly rather than monthly. She has become an insatiable pit.
So here are some tips for reading:
Note: These are not endorsed by anybody or advertisements; these are what worked for us.
- Try to read to your babies even if it is newspaper, a work article, or a religious text.
- Do not push them. Let them lead, be the driver.
- Give them books. Babies would love board books. It is easier for them to turn over hard board pages then thin paper pages. If that book has something to touch, feel or play with, it’s even better
- When you are reading to them, vary your tone. Even you, as adults, would get bored and be disinterested if somebody read to you in a monotone.
- Keep the reading short to keep them interested. If there is a ‘what happens next’ then they will want to read it tomorrow to find out what happens next.
- ABC Reading Eggs has a free trial. Give it a go. The children can play with an avatar. They will need golden eggs for that and the only way to earn golden eggs is to do the activities.
- Look for Apps as well. ABC Reading Eggs has some free Apps and there are some free read-to-me books too.
- Make use of your local libraries. We are fortunate that our council has a very good children’s section in the library with play areas to entertain them and a relaxed environment to read to them or for children to sit and read themselves. Libraries also have children and babies reading sessions. Check with your local library for times.