Today, what help can we offer our children with the rich resources of children’s literature in hand? How can we encourage children to read more instead of playing computer games all the time?
To arouse children’s interest in reading books, parents or teachers can try to choose books that are closely related to children’s daily life experiences. Once the children are connected to the book, they are more willing to read.
Then, parents may go on to choose a topic that they think it is worth discussing. For example, they can choose books about environmental protection, responsibilities, history or just to read a story for leisure. Also, attention must be paid to the language of the book lest the narrative is talking in a way that it is difficult for children to understand. The sentence structure should be simple. Repetition, allegories are rhetoric devices that help children understand easier.
What is more, it is suggested that parents can read the book aloud to children as young children are still developing their reading skills. Eventually, this will help children to develop their comprehension skills. Also, critical skills can also be enhanced through discussing with parents and asking questions. Even until teenage, reading aloud can still be a pleasant activity for the family and it bridges all the family members together.
However, how should we consolidate what children have learnt from a book?
Encouraging children to create a story about the particular topic which was discussed will be a good idea. Let children first dictate their stories because it will deter them to go on their story if they have to write. Later, we can type what we heard and re-read with the children to teach them about the sentence structures and grammar that suit their age. Also, when children are engaged in telling a story, their active vocabularies will increase as they have to use them to express themselves.
In addition to creating a story plot, children can also illustrate for their story. However, if the children like to draw more than making up a story, then let them draw and later encourage them to add some simple sentences to explain the pictures. Throughout the process, parents can observe what the children have learnt, their feelings, their characteristics and to relieve their talents.
Also, after overcoming various difficulties to read and create their own book, children may gain self-confidence and learn to think creatively to deal with dilemmas.
Instead of creating a story, parents can do some follow-up activities with their children. For example, if the story read is about kitchen and baking, parents may bake a cake with their children afterwards; if the book is about forgiving, parents may encourage their children to think of someone that they would like to apologize to and write a card or do some arts and crafts to say sorry together. C.S. Lewis once wrote that it is false to comment that fantasy coax children to escape from the reality because actually children can gain the courage to face the reality from it.
All in all, reading is always a good way to stimulate children’s mind and it is a window to knowledge instead of beautifully written works that are stored in the library.
There is a clip about how to create a book with children on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ku2IUzjc2Gs
von Vicky Chan