What matters more than what your child is reading is whether they are reading. Build motivation by getting them excited about the reading process.

  • FOLLOW THEIR INTERESTS: Help your child browse for books and let them discover their own reading interests. Look at picture books together to start building an appreciation and love for books.

  • EMPOWER CHILDREN TO DIRECT THEIR READING EXPERIENCE: Letting toddlers choose a book, turn the pages and point out what draws their attention makes for a wonderful learning opportunity. Let your baby turn the pages as you bring the pictures to life by reading the words.

  • GO BEYOND READING WORD BY WORD: Picture books that label and describe images build vocabulary development. Parents of toddlers can focus on developing pre-reading skills by playing word games, such as asking children to come up with words that rhyme with “car” or “ball”. Focus on fun activities that allow children to play with words and sounds.

Some children are not ready to read independently prior to age five or six. Putting undue pressure on them can backfire, leading to reading anxiety or avoidance. Remember that reading progress can be gradual and laborious for some children, but remaining patient and supportive and maintaining a positive reading environment will really help.

Dr Singh is also a member of the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Advisory Panel on Parenting (APOP). For more parenting resources on encouraging your child to read, visit https://familiesforlife.sg/pages/fflp

This article was first published on Beanstalk Magazine. Visit www.go.gov.sg/beanstalk-magazines for more early childhood resources