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Getting kids to read is easy: just bring a good book and add drama

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 August, 2018, 2:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 August, 2018, 10:33pm

I refer to “How to trick your kids into reading” (August 13), “when books must compete with increasingly captivating video games, spectacular superhero movies, and expertly marketed toy fads”. No tricks needed. The best way to get kids interested in reading is to find a good book and start young.

As a native-speaking English teacher in Hong Kong for over 12 years, I have been reading story books to young children (two to six years old) since day one. It’s easy to get young children interested in books. I have some tips I have learned over the years.

The first and most difficult part is finding an interesting book. Then, the pictures, easy stories and catchy endings do most of the work. Also, get animated. You need to change your voice, make animal noises, use your hands and make lots of facial expressions. This creates drama and emotion, bringing the stories to life. Remember those old Tom and Jerry cartoons? Now is your time to live them out.

Ask questions: what should they do next? How can they resolve the problem? What are they feeling? This is all part of getting a child into the story.

How Hong Kong students can be inspired to read more

For the younger children (under three years), reading the passages under the pictures is not needed. Follow the pictures and make up the details yourself, keep it fun and easy to understand. For older children, read some of the sentences but let the pictures and story do the work.

As children get older, read more parts of the passages below the pictures: many children are already very curious about those words. But remember to keep the story fun and easy to understand.

Don’t be surprised if a child asks you to read the same story again and again. They love experiencing the familiar. Knowing what is going to happen next and the catchy ending is always new and exciting to them.

Finally, have fun, you should enjoy reading these books too. The right attitude is the key to successful reading.

Gino Ivan Rubio, Fanling