10 ways to help your kid get more out of reading

February 22, 2016
  • 1. What if...?
    1 / 10 1. What if...?

    Kylie Bell, director of research and program development at Mindchamps, says to ask your child specific questions.

    “Engage them in the reading process to stimulate [their] creative, active thinking; and to expand [their] vocabulary,”

    For instance, before reading, you can ask “What does the front cover picture tell us?”, she suggests.

    As your child gets into the story, you could raise more questions such as “What do you think might happen next?” or “I wonder why…?”

    After your kid has finished the book, discuss it with her by posing various scenarios:

    What could have happened if…?

    What else does this story make you think about…?

    Imagine if you could make a new ending to the story, what would it be?

    Do you have a favourite part?

    Discussing topics in the book also reinforces your child’s understanding of what she’s reading.

    Don’t make her feel like she’s being interrogated, adds Kylie.

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  • 2. The rule of three
    2 / 10 2. The rule of three

    Ask your kid questions during your book discussions.

    But resist the temptation to jump in with your own opinions before your kid can even respond.

    “Wait three seconds to give your child time to think of a response,” says Kylie.

    Also, remember that there’s no right or wrong with these questions.

    The thinking process is the most important.

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  • 3. Picture this
    3 / 10 3. Picture this

    Inspire your child to create pictures in her mind in response to what she reads.

    Spur her imagination by asking what kind of images popped up in her head as she read that sentence, for instance.

    Or you could even extend reading into a drawing and arts and crafts activity.

    Let your child doodle or create little models of what she imagines the scenes to be.

    Related: Why reading is more important than tuition classes

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  • 4. Bring it to life
    4 / 10 4. Bring it to life

    Stories can evoke emotions.

    Draw out your child’s response to the story by getting her to read it out loud.

    Doing so helps her identify even more with the characters and make reading an interactive experience.

    Even better, act it out.

    Throw in facial expressions, gestures, hand movements and action.

    “Encourage your children to retell stories by using props,” suggests Raneetha Rajaratnam, assistant director, National Library Board.

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  • 5. Spin Tales
    5 / 10 5. Spin Tales

    Or recreate a new adventure altogether by getting your kids to rewrite or retell their version of the story.

    For example, get her to conjure up a short story about her own sorcerers if she’s reading a book on wizards.

    Related: 6 Ways to Implement a “Digital Detox” and Encourage Reading

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  • 6. Read across genres
    6 / 10 6. Read across genres

    “Introduce books of various themes and genres to your children,” says Raneetha.

    Reading a wide variety broadens their horizons, and opens them up to different words and pictures.

    Your boy goes for action books or stories on dinosaurs, while your girl reads about princesses?

    Get them to swop books.


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  • 7. Movie magic
    7 / 10 7. Movie magic

    Read the book, then watch the movie version, or vice versa.

    Seeing text come to live on the big screen is also a great motivator in getting your child excited about a book.

    Discuss which is better (the story book or the movie) or how they’re different.

    Related: Toddler doesn’t like reading? Here’s what you should do

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  • 8. Make reading a game
    8 / 10 8. Make reading a game

    Devise your own language game with words from a book.

    Perhaps you can ask your child to pick up sets of rhyming words, then create a poem, limerick or verse with them.

    Raneetha offers another game: “Play charades with your children based on their favourite characters or phrases from storybooks.”


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  • 9. Join a book club
    9 / 10 9. Join a book club

    In such a club, your child gets to meet other readers, share opinions and ideas, and learn about new books, authors and genres.

    Being able to discuss stories in a like-minded group also helps foster her self-confidence and communication skills.

    Public libraries run Junior Reading Clubs or you can start your own book club with your child’s classmates or neighbours.

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  • 10. Record new words
    10 / 10 10. Record new words

    Read, then write.

    When your child does that, it helps reinforce what she has read.

    Help her write new or unfamiliar words into an exercise book kept for this purpose.

    Look them up together in a dictionary, then ask her to write the meanings and definitions.

    Try asking her to make her own sentences using those words.

    Reading becomes even more enriching as her vocabulary increases.

    (Photos: 123RF.com) 

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