Warren Fernandez, Editor of The Straits Times, has to read many essays as well letters from people who write in to the newspaper to offer ideas, or look for a job. He says that the ones who stand out, are those who get the basics right – they pick the right words, they use them in the right context, and they spell them correctly.

“Spelling and reading are critical skills, even in today’s fast moving world.  Some might say that you don’t need to know how to spell. After all, there are spell checkers, and short forms of words that everyone uses when sending text messages these days,” says Fenandez.

A study of Fortune 500 human resource employees showed that 85% of resumes or cover letter were thrown away if they had as little as one or two spelling errors. The logic was simple: if you didn’t care enough about your application to make sure everything was spelled correctly, then you couldn’t be trusted to care enough about your job – where a tiny spelling error might undo an important business deal or cost the company money. So clearly, if you are able to get it right in your grammar and spelling, you will have an enormous advantage in communicating your ideas when you want to do so.

Warren Fernandez

To be good at spelling, you have to read.  Spelling is not just about memorizing words. It is about knowing how to pronounce the words and understanding phonics. You can’t be a good speller without being a regular reader. Reading is a great way of ensuring that you are exposed to correct spelling and grammar.

You need to read a lot and read widely. If you can make reading a habit, or better yet, if you grow to love and enjoy reading, you will have a big head start in life.

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.

How can you help your child acquire a good reading habit?

Here are some three simple ways to encourage a love for reading in your child.

1. Start A Reading Habit

Reading is a habit that is worth cultivating. To that end, here are some suggestions that you can try with your kids.

  • Begin a reading time with your child, either in the afternoon or before bedtime.
  • Build a reading library appropriate to your child’s age and update the library periodically as your child ages
  • Be expressive when you read aloud to your child to incite curiosity and animation in the stories you are reading.
  • Let him / her have a go at reading once your child begins reading.
  • Encourage him/her to have favorite books or stories to read. I know its repetitious, but it helps with the association of reading to pleasure.
  •  Visit the library often
  • Read books that feature the kids’ favorite characters in movies or animation shows.
  • Allow reading on different platforms —TV, iPad, audio-books, newspapers, magazines, comics, advertisements, banners, signage

Word of caution: Ensure the environmental conditions and lightning are good for reading to protect the eyes of your young readers.

2. Read The Newspaper

The national papers are particularly helpful to students that will aid in their English assignments. Those in primary school can subscribe to The Little Red Dot, a weekly publication produced by The Straits Times Schools team for primary school pupils.

Those in secondary school can subscribe to the Straits Times which offers all the latest news and views on developments that matter to them around the world and helping their readers make sense of the fast changing world around them.

Reading newspapers improves your knowledge of current affairs. Newspapers keep you informed and updated on events and developments taking place around us. Whether it is a strong earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, a breakdown in the MRT, or the results of the big soccer game this weekend, newspapers provide us up-to-date information on a broad range of topics.

When you go to secondary schools later, you will be required to carry out projects or prepare special essays or reports, which will need you to provide examples to support your arguments and viewpoint. Reading the news can provide a lot of such examples. Picking up examples that are fresh in the public mind can add great impact to essays and presentations. And using the current news events as examples will ensure that they will resonate with your audience.

3. Read For Fun

Reading will help you encounter characters you might not otherwise meet, it will take you places you might never have been to, and it will show you a side of yourself that you might otherwise not know.  Reading will help you discover the world, and also yourself. And reading might just help make you a champion speller too.

Carry a book or magazine wherever you go.

Tell us why you love to read. Connect with Us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or share your thoughts/experiences in the comments below. We will love to hear from you.

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