Monday, June 27, 2011

RAISING A READER

"Read! Read! Read!" Dr. Seuss, the author of numerous children's books, gave this simple advice to the children of Troy, Michigan way back in 1971. 

I've always been an avid (and indiscriminate) reader. One of my earliest and fondest childhood memories is waiting for my Nanay to arrive home from the market knowing that she bought Pilipino Funny Komiks for me. 

When I was about 8, I remember spending my summer vacation in my aunt's house here in Manila. And what a wonderful vacation it was! I had all the time in the world to read some of the finest children's literary classics like Heidi, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Black Beauty, Robinson Crusoe and a lot, lot more.

It's no wonder that I ended up taking law, a course that requires a lot of reading. Of course, law books are a lot thicker (and less interesting!) than my usual fare of Funny Komiks.

I spent good times reading Funny Komiks!

As parents, my husband and I are doing our best to instill in our children the love for reading. Here are some of the things that we've been doing to encourage our children to read.

1. We read, read, read where the children can see us. Remember what the child experts are saying? Children will follow what you, the parent, do and not what you say. We try to set aside some time doing nothing but read. There were times when my 6-year old daughter would come inside our room while I was nursing my baby saying that she would just do some silent reading.  

2. We make the technology work for us. One of my high school friends laments that children nowadays seldom read. With all the high-tech gadgets vying for the children's attention, reading books is not on the top of their to do list. But we made the technology work FOR us. I've discovered that there are a number of free applications that can be downloaded on the iPhone/iPad that make reading interesting and fun. One of them is Story Time, a free application that contains several children's fairy tales that are beautifully illustrated. And it even has "Read it Myself" or "Read to Me" options. 

I also noticed that some textbooks have an accompanying CD. My 8-year old daughter's textbook in Sibika has a CD. It contains some videos that emphasize certain topics discussed in the book.

And I remember reading these wonderful books providing knowledge on 4 key areas--life, nature, science and our world--when I was 8.

Picture taken from the internet site
I compared the old set which came out in the early 80's with the new set that my husband bought last year. While there was no noticeable difference on the given information, the new set took advantage of technology and made reading fun and interactive. I cannot describe it in words but here's a video of how "Walter" works.


video

Oh, and this is Walter.


3.  When in the mall, go to the bookstore. Ok, I guess my kids don't have much choice because their mom will definitely go to the bookstore. Going to the bookstore has become a "tradition" on our part. I let them choose the books that they want, within a reasonable budget, of course. I believe that one can never have enough books. And I'm happy to say that their excitement in going to the bookstore is as much as if we are going to the toy store.

It's good that some major bookstores now have reading areas. Oh, how I miss the Books for Less in Mindanao Avenue, which had reading areas for old and young alike. 

4.  We encourage them to borrow books from the school library. This does not only foster reading. Borrowing books from the library is a good way for the children to learn the concept of responsibility. They learn that they have to take good care of the books and that they have to return them on a specific date. Or else, as my daughter puts, "I'll be fined!"

5.  We ask our daughters to read to their baby brother. The girls get to read, the baby enjoys being read to, and it is a great opportunity to strengthen love among the siblings.

Happy reading!

(Looks like we have another reader in the family.
B at 11 months.)


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