Every child is different and so is every mother! Which is why we wanted to share with you the experience of two different mothers : Aakriti and Anushka, two girls with very unalike skill sets and mothers to kids with very different personality traits and genders. Yet, both with the same goal : How to turn them into fluent English speakers and avid book readers?
First, lets hear my story, Aakriti…
Reading story books has been a very important part of me and my daughters (almost 6 years) daily routine since she was 6 months. Maybe that is why she ended up writing her first book at the age of 5! And now too while we are quarantined, this is our favourite thing to do.
Today, I feel very confident to share some tried and tested tips with my fellow readers, especially mothers of toddlers, on how to use this precious time to develop good reading habits amongst kids. These will ultimately lead to not only a fluency in the language but also good writing, great vocabulary and a substantial ease in coping up with English based school assignments.
PLEASE NOTE: The earlier in the childhood the below tips are adopted, the better and quicker results you are bound to receive.
TIP #1 : YOUR PRESENCE IS VERY IMPORTANT
Kids will only read as much as you read to them. Read to them during their meals or read to them at bed time, but find a perfect time when you can do that at the same time everyday without fail. For Advika and me, it was all the three meals of the day. And now with my younger one, who too has fallen in love with books is at bed time and nap time.
TIP #2 LEARN TO TELL A STORY
Yes, you need to charge up your batteries and make some effort. Bring in some animation. Rather than going on an on with the story, ask them questions about what they see in the pictures, try to relate the story or characters to people or things they know about. Many times I would ask Advika to pretend to pick up things from the book and feed to the characters. The action always grabbed her attention.
TIP #3 CONVERSE IN ENGLISH WITH THE CHILD ALL THE TIME NO MATTER WHAT
This requires some family effort too. Like in the case of my daughter, me and her grandma swore to speak in English with her. Her dad and grand dad followed later too. But just you doing so can really make a difference too. You have to treat this habit like religion.
TIP #4 COOK UP STORIES FOR THEM
I am cooking up stories for them all the time about everything they eat or do. If they don’t like a vegetable, BAM, there’s a story about a girl who falls in love with that vegetable. If they are doing something wrong, like plucking flowers or littering the room, BAM, there is a story about a boy who learnt to be kind and cleaned his room. Stories teach them much more than just how to read.
TIP #5 BUILD UP A NICE LIBRARY
Make space or allot a cupboard of the room to stack up the books very neatly which gives the child a visual delight too to open it and pick out a book. Encourage them to choose their own book out of the library to read everyday. You can make a nice comfy reading corner too layered with pillows and soft toys.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- ITS NOT AN OVERNIGHT CHANGE. Consitency is the key. Consistency from your part.
- NEVER EVER BLAME THE CHILD. More effort is needed from your side.
- NEVER EVER FORCE THE RULES. In fact make pacts or award points, goodies and ample of encouragement for using new words or striking a conversation in English.
- LET IT BE A GRADUAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE.
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Stay safe, stay home and stay healthy!
DISCLAIMER : The above tips are valid for any language you would like to teach your children. And in no way does this post aims to undermine the beauty of any other language.