Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Reading and Phonics Workshop

I have good friends. Friends to hang out with, friends to chill with, and more importantly, friends who make me a better Mummy. My good friend Val sent me an email, asking me to attend a Reading and Phonics Workshop organized by Lorna Whiston. And so there we found ourselves, on a perfectly sunny Saturday afternoon, crouched up at the Raintree outlet of Lorna Whiston to hear from AnitaWilke (and plonking down good money to do so!)

My command of the English language is pretty much “intuitive”. I speak well, I read well, I write well… but it is intuitive in the sense I don’t have the factual knowledge of the language (like adverbs or verbs or nouns, past perfect tense or past tense… you get the idea!). I think the phrasing is correct based on how it “sounds” like to me. And most of the time, I do get it right. Haha… But it ain’t a fool-proof method for sure!

Anyhow, we made our way to the 2-hour workshop, and I must say both Val and I went away armed with more knowledge on how to inculcate in our kiddos a love for the written word as well!


Some gems I took away…

At Jay’s age, he should be able to recognize all the letters of the alphabet. Which I am pretty happy that he is able to recite the alphabet well, and can recognize most of the letters. A huge help in this area came courtesy of Youtube. He has adored the Animal ABC video so much, that he has watched it a gazillion times, and can even sing it.

I also learnt that I should buy “simpler” books for Jay. I should probably get a Borders card too, cos Jay adores the Borders at Parkway and we frequently walk away with books for him. However, we are guilty of trying to “screen” the kind of books he picks up… which 99% of the time ANIMAL books! But we tried to dissuade him from getting books which are too simple. Mistake this was, as I learnt from the workshop! We should be getting him books which have simple prose and repetitive languages and a simple yet engaging storyline! This way, just as he has memorised the Animal ABC song through frequent viewing, he can also get to learn how to read with these kinds of books. These would be perfect books for him to read to us (and not the other way around only).

(P.S. At this point, I can hear the voice of my sister nagging saying… BORROW books from the library! Well, we do. But Jay has the tendency to love certain books so much he wants to read them every single day. Borrowed books seldom get read as often as those we bought for him! Well, we can always save money elsewhere, I guess. Haha!)

Let Jay see Daddy & Mummy reading as well! Aah, this I am guilty of. I have not picked up a novel in ages. So I think to promote the sense of reading being for fun and pleasure, I should get me some books during our next library trip!

Another interesting tidbit I picked up is that we should try to get books that tell the stories in the PAST TENSE. Do you realise most books are in the present tense? While that is important, we should also expose kids to the SOUNDS of the past tense. I think this is something pretty lacking in children (and some adults I know) – that the past tense is unfamiliar and they spell and say sentences in the present tense when it really should be in the past tense. Like I said, I am an intuitive English speaker/writer, and I literally “hear” the past tense in my head, which helps me to spell and say those words accurately.

I also picked up some easily-replicable activities and fun games for Jay, to hone and develop pre-reading skills for him.

All in all, it was one pretty solid afternoon, and I learnt so much from this!

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