Reading is the most efficient and economical way to help anyone to acquire information, knowledge, skills and improve on one self. And it is most wonderful to help your child to be a great reader as young as possible.
The best way to help a child or any one to learn a skill and be good at it is to create a Supportive and Conducive Environment to make it easy for her to learn. Here are some suggestions that you may find helpful:
1. Have lots of good books in the home at all times. You can either buy them or borrow them from the library. The National Library has tons of excellent books suitable for children of all ages - story books and information books (you can find books on all kinds of topic, e.g. books on animals, seasons, famous artists and people, human body, interesting places, occupations). For our family, we make it a routine to visit the library every week if not every fortnight. It is a great family outing for all of us.
2. At your home, have the reading materials and books easily accessible to your child so that she can get hold of them at her convenience. The best way is to have an open book shelf that is of the right height for your child. Providing her a proper place to keep her books and stuffs is also a good way to teach your child about responsibility - teach her to care for her things by getting her to put them back in the right place after use.
3. Adults at home (especially parents) must set good examples by reading books regularly. Children learn by observing what their parents do. Be a good reader yourself. I'd recommend non-fiction books - e.g. books on parenting, self-enrichment and improvement etc. (By the way, newspapers are not considered because there is simply too much negative news and sensational but non-useful information in each publication - they are not good to our brain and personal growth.)
4. Read to your child daily. Make it a routine, like before bed time. The best persons to read to the child is her parents and that is you. Reading together with your child is also one of the best ways for bonding with your child.
5. Carry books with you when you bring your child out so that you can read to her when an opportunity arises, e.g. while waiting for someone, at the petrol station, on the MRT/ subway.
6. Give lots of encouragement and praise when the child make the effort to read by herself. Encouragement helps to boost your child's self-esteem and help her want to do even better.
7. Make learning fun and enjoyable. Discuss with your child about the things she has read and has fun with her by acting out some of the scenes in the books. This will help to fill your home with lots of laughter and love.
Article by Alvin Poh, founder of The Parenting Network For The Achievement of Human Potential. To learn how you help your children to develop and excel in their natural potential, go to: http://www.alvinkh.per.sg/parentingnetwork