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Monday, January 07, 2019

Fostering a Love of Reading

Post Credit: British Council Malaysia It offers English Language courses for kids and teens from ages 5 to 17.

Teaching your child to love reading

We all want our children to be successful readers. Parents play a key role in this; research shows parents have up to six times more impact on primary age children than teachers. So how do we teach our children to love reading?

The First Step - Read to them regularly and be a role model

The first step is to show your child that reading is a pleasure, not a chore. There are a number of ways to do this. Children whose parents read to them are much more likely to be enthusiastic readers in later life. Having a regular storytime creates positive associations with reading. Some parents prefer to read to their children at bedtime, but stories can be told at any time and it only takes a few minutes. You must also be a role model. Let your children see you reading and they will follow your lead. If you do not show your children that you enjoy reading yourself, it is not realistic to expect your children to love books. 

When to Start?

It is never too early to start reading with your child. Even before they are born babies can recognise the sound of their mother’s (and father’s) voice. No matter how young your child is, pick up a book or magazine and read to them. They may not understand what you are saying yet, but they are learning to recognise sounds and other features of language such as rhythm and intonation and they are learning to see that reading is an enjoyable activity.

Develop Your Storytelling Skills

Children live in a world of imagination and will quickly learn to love stories. Fairy tales and folk stories such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears are popular in all cultures. They can be told naturally, without books or other aids. Develop your skills as a storyteller. Alter your voice for different characters, use emotion for sad or scary parts of the story and add sound effects. You can also adapt the stories to your child’s liking by giving it a happy or sad ending or even make up your own stories with your child as hero! They will have their favourite stories and ask to hear them again and again. Eventually they will be able to tell you the story. 

Choose Books Suitable for Your Child's Level

Introducing your child to picture books from an early age is important. The bright colours and illustrations show your child that books are fun and help them to understand the story even before they can read the words. As your children grow, exposing them to a variety of books is key. They may prefer fiction, non-fiction, comics or magazines. We should give them freedom of choice, while ensuring the book is a suitable level for them. 

Students are Introduced to the Magic of Reading at the British Council

At the British Council we believe reading plays a key part in children’s development and can have a big impact on their future. We do everything we can to ensure our students share our love of books. We encourage children to borrow books every week from our extensive children’s library, teach the younger students to read in our Phonics classes and support older children as they start to enjoy more complex and mature topics. Every year we participate in a global reading competition where students from every continent attempt to read 10 books in 12 weeks. Reading is fun, and we all have our part to play in nurturing the reading habit.

For some children their first real exposure to books will be schoolbooks. They will come to associate books only with study and conclude “books are boring and reading is not fun.” However children who have been introduced to the magic of reading see reading as a pleasure, rather than a chore.

To learn more about the British Council’s young learner courses, visit ww.britishcouncil.my/children.

The next term will start on 23 and 24 March 2019. Placement tests can be booked online via www.britishcouncil.my/children.

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