It’s no secret that the ability to read and the love of reading are invaluable skills to pass on to our kids. But our kids these days are not reading as much as they should.
School work and extra-curricular activities monopolize a bulk of their time. Handheld gadgets, television and internet via for their precious little leisure hours. And for parents who are concerned about the rising myopia rate of Singapore kids, they chase them outdoors to get some greens and sun.
So, how do we get our kids to read more? And more importantly, how do we get them to LOVE reading?
In his opening speech at the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship 2012, Warren Fernandez, Editor of the Straits Times highlighted that the importance of reading.
“Reading opens your mind. It allows you to let your imagination wander far and wide, and develops your creativity. These are all increasingly valuable assets in today’s world, where getting good grades alone will no longer be enough.”
On a more practical note, Fernandez emphasized that “spelling and reading are critical skills, even in today’s fast moving world”, explaining that 85% of resumes or cover letter were thrown away if they had as little as one or two spelling errors. (read more here)
Okay, so we know reading is important for grades and work opportunities. But with the time constrain and multitude of distractions, how do we motivate our kids to read and cultivate a lifetime reading habit?
We turn to an expert whose love of books and reading are legendary - Oprah Winfrey who shares some useful tips on how to keep your kids reading.
- Make a field trip to the library. “Make a big deal about getting a library card!” Oprah says.
- Try to get children hooked on a favourite author or series. Oprah loved Lois Lenski while growing up. Try these authors as well - J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series), Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton and Lloyd Alexander.
- Make sure you have books available at home to read. Create a small library or a reading corner in your home.
- Have your child read aloud so you can gauge their progress. This is also good practice to help your child read aloud in class.
- Be a reader yourself. Set an example and role model reading. Children need to see you reading, too!
- Teach kids that reading is about pleasure. Don’t measure their progress by the number of books read, but the time spent reading.
- Help designate a special reading spot just for your child. Joke books, comics, newspapers, magazines and maps make good reading, too.
- Read the same book along with your child—let them recommend a book to you!