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Monday, January 21, 2008

Let Us Read

There is a popular theory of language acquisition called "schema" theory. The word schema comes from the Greek word which means shape or more generally plan. The Greek plural is skhēmata. In English, both schemas and schemata are used as plural form.

As children develop separate schemata for experiences they acquire, and apply these experiences in their growing years and in their adulthood. Literacy in language helped to express these experiences in a form of both verbal and written communications. Books are good source of vocabularies and general knowledge. Non readers do not develop their reasoning skills and are simply dependent on intuitions. Their levels of communications are more on vernacular levels.

As schema change, comprehension may change. Readers who had wide array of vocabularies can easily adapt to any form of communications. Studies state that children who are wide readers become more literate and well rounded. Children who are good readers develop more self confidence because they know they could express themselves well.

I am reminded of my bookworm niece in her grade school. She could compete in their essay writing contest in school and much to my surprise as a young girl she had wide array of English vocabularies already. I am amazed by her good comprehension as well. My sister would tell me that my niece could even decipher the exact dialogs of characters in English movies, that she said when she was her daughter’s age, she could not.

Parents who value literacy should encourage their children to read. Here are some helpful tips.

Model reading - Children, who see their parents reading, often become readers and come to accept reading as part of family activities. Display good books somewhere in your home. Your children will become curious why dad and mom are always reading and the curiosity might lead them to read the books themselves.

Have a regular visit to library or bookstores – I myself had a habit of going to bookstores. There are bookstores here in Manila where readers could sit and pick a book to read. They also have a small café inside the book store to relax, after one gets tired of reading. I’m so glad to see mothers and children browsing or reading a book. Young children may be fascinated with the pictures they see in books they got interested in. That is a good sign that may lead to the habit of reading.

Hobbies and interest – Find out your children’s hobbies and interest. You could buy them the book pertaining to their hobbies or interest. Or subscription to magazines in reference to their hobbies will arouse the curiosity of your children that may lead to their interest in reading. My sister has a regular subscription of a magazine that my reader niece loved to read in addition to her growing collections of pocket books.

Ownership – When buying books, let your children choose the books they want. Display the books in their room or have a place in your house to display the books. In this manner they would know the importance of their books.

Internet reading- Look for Websites that fit your children’s interest. With proper supervision you could surf the net for you children. Look for games with instructions on how to play them to encourage your children to read.

Listen to what your children say – Always have time for your children, when they discussed with you the books they read. Children would like to be appreciated no matter how little the effort they invest on things they do. Should you need to correct some of their ideas, do it in positive and constructive ways to encourage them to continue reading the book they preferred. Sooner than you think, your children would become adept readers, making reading as part of their daily activities.
Happy reading!

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