Reading is a lifelong skill and it is a habit that should be nurtured and cultivated from a young age. Some children are book lovers and consume all books they come across while others are reluctant to read until they find something which captures their interest and captivates them. Once a child is engrossed in a book then a positive educational spark can be lit!
A teacher or parent can help guide a child in their reading journey and this often starts by reading to them out aloud as toddlers. Reading to toddlers at least once a day or more at regular times such as just before bedtime will help young children help build reading as a habit into their routine. If you are a new parent or have young children under your care, the toddler might ask for the same book over and over again!
It is imperative that the adult read at a slow pace so the toddler can understand the story and also formulate some questions inspired by the text and visual pictures. Children love variety so adult readers should change their tone appropriately and read expressively. For example, use different voices for different characters or allow the child to join in if they can!
Aside from entertainment, there are many benefits to reading such as enhanced development of communication and speech skills, greater cultural awareness (especially after reading about different cultures and countries) as well as greater responsibility and ownership of learning.
Reading as a Habit from A Young Age
Reading is vital for the social and interpersonal development of a child. Research has shown that time spent reading by students with an average daily reading time of half an hour per day is projected to encounter up to 13.7 million words.
Meanwhile, students who averaged less than 15 minutes of reading per day are likely to be exposed to only 1.5 million words which means exposure to 70 % fewer words.
Finding the correct book or story to capture the imagination of a child could set them on a lifelong reading journey where they can explore new worlds, delve into the past or blast into the future!
As an adult, the simple task of reading has many benefits which stretch beyond just intellectual pursuits. Reading has been shown to reduce stress and improve levels of concentration and for those who are learning new languages, reading will help expand and refine any new vocabulary which they have learnt.
Raring to Read Online Courses
ESF Language & Learning have run their popular “Raring to Read” online courses for over two years now.
The course brings stories alive in the comfort and safety of your home. The lessons are delivered by qualified teachers through Zoom. This online Programme features interactive activities and read-aloud to explore a range of texts in depth.
Each Programme has been written by our senior education team, ensuring that age and level-appropriate language objectives and literary targets are addressed in every lesson.
Ivy Wong, Senior Teacher at ESF Language & Learning, kindly took the time to answer some questions about the “Raring to Read” online course and what the benefits of joining the course are.
What is 'Raring to Read' and what is the format of these lessons?
“Raring to Read is an online reading programme that is taught across four levels - Kindergarten (3-5 years), Lower Primary (6-8 years), Upper Primary (9-11 years) and Beginner Spanish (6-11 years). The main aims of this programme are to get students reading for enjoyment and boost reading comprehension skills.
Each lesson is 1-1.5 hours in length, depending on the level. Students experience both teacher read-aloud and independent reading, learning vocabulary in context. There is a reading comprehension section to promote active listening skills. Grammar and language features are also taught within the context of the books read to help make learning more meaningful and memorable. To ensure that students are fully engaged, contextualized riddles and puzzles are included in the brain breaks to encourage creativity and critical thinking in every lesson.”
Why is it important for students to both listen to and read books?
“We use a variety of both fiction and non-fiction texts in our lessons to cater for the various interests of our students. We encourage conversations and discussions about what we have read to enhance comprehension and critical thinking skills. Within the grammar and language learning section of each lesson, students are encouraged to apply their learning in creative ways.
For example, in our lesson about aliens, students are taught the use of imperative verbs and then asked to apply their learning to create a safety poster about alien sightings
How are the books in the Raring to Read classes selected?
“All our books are carefully selected by our group of teachers to ensure that they are age and level-appropriate and engaging for our students. We try to provide a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts to capture our students' interests in each lesson, with lots of visuals to keep students engaged and to aid learning.”