A friend of mine recently asked me whether I knew of any books that she could buy to teach her kids to read. I found an old phonetics book that I had used to teach my son and which I don’t think is any longer in print. She specifically wanted a book as opposed to cd, dvd or other technological means. She wanted her kids to learn to read from a book because she said she wanted them to learn to love books and she felt that she could and should supplement what the teacher was doing in class.
I have no problem with the new popular learn to read software and other products which are now in vogue but I do think that my friend has a point. Those of us who used the old fashioned phonetics books with their rat, cat and bat starter words really interacted with our kids as we helped them to identify and pronounce short I’s and long A’s. The fact of the matter is however that the world has gone tech and like it or not our kids will have to function in a technologically oriented world. This begs the question whether books will become obsolete. I personally don’t think so. There is something about reading a new hard cover book which is very comforting. Also sitting on the plane or train with a paperback makes the time fly and the journey seem shorter. And who doesn’t like to see a study or even a book shelf stacked with beautiful books?
Here are some methods which I used and which could assist your kids to enjoy reading:
- Read. Kids like to imitate their parents. If your kids see you reading regularly they will become curious and want to be able to read too.
- Acquire lots of books. You can join a book club so that you can purchase them cheaper or buy from the bargain section of the book store. Kids like variety especially when the books are a part of a series. Read the stories first because kids love stories they will enjoy. If the books are dull and boring the kids will resist.
- Join the library and take your child and sign him or her up too. He or she will enjoy returning the books and choosing new ones.
- For kids just learning to read, buy a pack of alphabet letters and designate a letter for each day then have them identify objects they see throughout the day starting with the specified letter. X days and Z days can be tricky but not impossible.
- Buy books that contain word puzzles such as find a word, unscramble the word or simple crosswords.
- Buy books that are packaged with cds. This allows those parents who have hang-ups about technology outpacing basic book reading, to merge the two. Also it helps kids a lot to recognize whole words by sight when the books are read out loud on the cd player while they are reading too. In addition it helps us to rest our voices and protect our throats. Sometimes reading aloud leads to hoarseness.
- Buy the dvd or take you kids to the movie about a book he has already read. Movies are not to be seen as an alternative to reading, rather they are to be treated as supplemental. The movie brings the book to life and often the kids will want to read the book over and over again.
We must get involved in our children's lives. Our main role ought to be that of an inspirer, guiding and motivating, not an enforcer, pressuring and compelling. This is consistent with my CEOmum premise.