HOW TO GIVE YOUR CHILD THE BEST HEAD-START IN LIFE?
Give the child a book! but...they will.....eat it! Your child needs you to read to them!
When I became a parent 4 years ago, I made it my personal mission to devote time and energy to reading to them. I've also become an annoying advocate of reading to children to all my friends and family. You will be surprised that people can be quite resistant to reading to their children!
Some common excuses...
1. My child is so young, would he/she understand anything I'm saying?
2. "Pai seh lah" (Colloquial Singaporean lingo for "I'm shy")
3. I am unsure of my standard of English
4. Books are so expensive
5. I have no time
I believe this has contributed to the culture of sending children to tuition and enrichment to build or fix their literacy abilities. I can say from my experience as an English and Literature school teacher, it hasn't worked! Many children still struggle immensely!
WHAT DOES RESEARCH SAY?
Countless research has shown that reading to your child has great impact on their literacy and cognitive development. I cite one done by the State Government of Victoria (Australia) Department of Education and Early Childhood Development:
"The frequency of reading to children at a young age has a direct causal effect on their schooling outcomes regardless of their family background and home environment"
"Reading to children at age 4-5 every day has a significant positive effect on their reading skills and cognitive skills (i.e language and literacy, numeracy and cognition) later in life."
The research shows that if you:
Read 3-5 times a week to a 4-5 year old, their reading skills is 6 months ahead of those who don't get read to.
Read 6-7 times a week to a 4-5 year old, their reading skills is 12 months ahead of those who don't get read to.
YOU DON'T NEED ALOT OF MONEY OR TIME TO HELP YOUR CHILDREN GET A HEAD-START!
Forget about paying HUGE amounts to English reading programmes and enrichment centres that claim to have a miracle system to get your child to read! Just go to the library and pick out books! If you need help with finding age appropriate books, the librarians are happy to help! Plus, libraries are FREE OF CHARGE!
I am privileged as stay home dad to be able to read to my children as much as possible. Matthias is 3 years old and we go to the library every two weeks to get a huge haul of books with our Ikea bag. I realised that it really doesn't take much time and in fact it is really convenient to use the National Libraries in Singapore! We live in the North East and the libraries all happen to be in large shopping malls!
Cheng San Public Library (Hougang Mall)
Sengkang Public Library (Compass One)
Serangoon Public Library (NEX)
Tampines Regional Library (Our Tampines Hub)
Simply drop by during your weekly grocery run with your kids!
Books can be borrowed using an app too! (and returned at ANY library in Singapore)
EVERYONE CAN READ TO THEIR CHILDREN!
If you actually read through this blog post to this point and understood what I've said, you can read to your child! It doesn't take more than 10 minutes to read a simple story to your child. Make it a bedtime routine so that reading becomes part of their lives! You will be surprised at how much they can learn implicitly even without teaching them with grammar or vocabulary worksheets etc. It an amazing time of parent-child bonding and being away from the screen.
Start reading to your little ones today! Help them get a head-start in life today!
Read the entire "The Odd Life" Series HERE!
Find out how much screen time is too much HERE!
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.