Tuesday 21 March 2023 \


Give the gift of literacy

Reading is fundamental to any child’s success in life.

Source : Molouk Y. Ba-Isa / 3 Aug 2013

Reading is fundamental to any child’s success in life. Many studies have shown that the single best way to help children learn to read is to read aloud to them. Regularly reading out loud to children will help them understand vocabulary, word formation and sentence structure.

Information from Reading is Fundamental (rif.org) noted that:

Twenty-six percent of young children who were read to three or four times in the last week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet.

Fourth graders who reported having 25 books or more at home had higher scores on reading tests than children who reported they didn’t have that many books.

Parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do. Reading is certainly a productive activity.

It’s essential to remember that literacy is learned. When an adult reads a book out loud, children should be shown more than the pictures. Words in the text need to be pointed out and discussed. Children must be taught the mechanics of reading and writing. How does a letter appear? How does it sound? Are words written left to right or right to left?

Technology offers so many options to help kids learn to read using tools that they will find exciting and engaging. VTech, a pioneer in children’s learning tablets, has just announced the very affordable InnoTab 3S for children ages three to nine years old. It will retail for just $100.

This Wi-Fi tablet features VTech Kid Connect – an exclusive communication app that allows kids to be connected with their parents and friends through both tablet-to-mobile and tablet-to-tablet communication. The InnoTab 3S comes with 20 free apps and provides access to The Learning Lodge app store. By the end of the year, the Learning Lodge will expand from its current library of 350 titles to over 600 titles that teach reading, math, social studies, handwriting, science, problem solving, geography and more.

Another new product that promises to reignite both children’s and their loved ones’ interest in reading is the Sparkup Magical Book Reader. This innovative device merges the non-digital world of printed books with the benefits of today’s technology. Sparkup attaches to any picture book on a child’s bookshelf, allowing kids of all ages to read along with the personalized, pre-recorded voice of any family member. The device can store audio for up to 50 books.

The “magic” of the device is that it automatically recognizes the selected book and can follow along as quickly as the pages are turned – even if they are turned out of order. With its proprietary technology, Sparkup even knows when a child has skipped pages and will automatically begin reading from the new page. It becomes available September 1 for $50 from www.sparkupreader.com.

Apps are amazing resources to help children learn to read. Speakaboos is a storybook subscription service that has been running through www.speakaboos.com. Everyone can try it and get ten free storybooks to keep. They’ve just launched an iPad app which comes with three free stories. The Speakaboos app introduces children ages two to six to a library of more than 150 storybooks with rich interactive features.

Families can subscribe for $5 per month or annually for $40 - for a limited time. Android and iPhone applications will be released in coming months. Discovering another language at a young age is a great way to grow reading skills. “Louie, teach me another language!” is the latest Millimages educational app for kids ages two to six. Louie charms and entertains young children on television, and now they can have lots more fun learning French, Spanish and English.

This new app lets children tune into the sound of a new language as they view any of the 39 episodes, with or without subtitles, or play one of the educational mini-games linked to the episodes. There is a multilingual illustrated dictionary so children, whenever they wish, can access and listen to the words they have learnt. The app is free and currently available on iPad with versions for iPhone and Android coming soon.

The last reading resource to mention today is free and available to anyone with an Internet connection. The International Children’s Digital Library (childrenslibrary.org) includes 4642 books in 61 languages. Books may be found through the search feature by language, age of reader, length of book and many other parameters. Anyone can read at ICDL without registration but if an account is created, then it’s possible to set up a digital bookshelf to keep favorite books easily available.

The first word revealed of the Holy Quran is Iqra’ - read. This Ramadan help your children follow this excellent call for knowledge.


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