Sharing the gift of reading


One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is to develop their love of reading. But how can you support your child to become a fluent and successful reader? Don’t just leave it to the professionals! Read on to discover the skills your child will need to develop and how you can create the right learning environment to inspire and fuel their imagination for life!

As an “emergent reader”, your child will learn to:

-       Appreciate rhyme and alliteration 

-       Identify some letters and corresponding sounds 

-       Listen carefully to stories and understand the text 

-       Make predictions from the book title and / or illustrations 

-       Recognize a few familiar (or high frequency) words 

-       Show an understanding of some concepts about print 

-       Show an interest in wanting to read

A proficient reading program incorporates the phonics (letter sounds), synthetic phonics (blending sounds), phonological awareness (structure and manipulation of sounds), vocabulary and comprehension.

To encourage your children to develop an interest in reading, here are some tips to share. 

1)   Creating an inviting / a “rich” environment

Children are naturally drawn to a beautiful environment and inviting displays that pique their interest and curiosity. If possible, allocate a small cosy corner at home and set it up as a reading nook. It need not be complex, just a comfortable rug, some cushions / beanbags and a basket of fun and colourful books. I know some parents who set up “reading tents”strung with fairy lights - which they purchase from IKEA!

2)   Reading time = bonding time! 

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” ~ Emilie Buchwald

From my experience as an educator, I have noticed that children who love books (and many end up being early readers) have parents who are actively involved in their reading journeys. These parents carve out a special time daily where they spend time reading with and reading to their children. 

The parents choose books which are bright and colourful and the stories, fun and relatable. Different genres (fairy tales, fictional and non-fictional, etc.) are also chosen for exposure to both vocabulary as well as to build general knowledge. This is what we do at MapleBear too, through a programme “DEAR time” which stands for Drop Everything and Read.

Importantly, these parents make reading fun – they act out the various characters, using rhyming words, vary their voice and tone; making the reading session and bonding session with their children too. 

3)   Having meaningful dialogues 

One of the most important aspect of supporting your child to be an effective reader is the interaction between the child and the parent. These could come in the form of conversations – sharing funny moments in the stories, singing out the rhyme in the car or even associating the moral of the stories in their everyday lives. You can also bring in the context of the stories during walks and linking it to e.g. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert or having meaningful conversations when visiting the zoo and linking it to stories by Bill Martin and Eric Carle such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear

cosy reading corner

cosy reading corner

Felt story characters

Felt story characters

Story time

Story time

Rupal Arora