Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My teeny weeny effort to get my kids to read

There a lots of pics of my kids with books but I only found this one. An old pic of Bea2 when she was about 2 years old. She insisted to read while having breakfast.

Kids associate snuggling in parents arms, with a book with fun or maybe attention. I used to have my girls lining up in a queu, with a book in each hand the moment I lay the praying mat to pray. Think to them, it is nothing like being wrapped in the telekung on mama's lap and embarking in yet another adventure/laughter or whatever the books bring. I just love that.

Anyway, for this entry, just for the sake of recording and sharing (especially with moms with younger kids), I decided to blog about how I teach Bea1 to read. Nothing special about it, anyway.

Firstly, Bea1 always loves books since she was a baby. Being the first one, I had more time reading to her. Later with the other kids, I found it harder to have one-to-one session but I always try to read with them but not every night like most good parents do;).

Her kindy uses Peter and Jane to start off with serious lessons, so I just followed that at home. They only start using those books for 5-year-olds and only used the first two series and continue with other books. Yes, very late some of you may think. Not to get Bea1 to be bored at school, I also waited for the kindy to start with it. Ok, think I was also lazy;).

I'm not really proud of the way I did in the very beginning. I remember I was confined in a hotel room in Kota Kinabalu with 3 young bored kids. We followed hubby to his outstation trip. It was just a wrong timing but I decided to start off.

I ended up yelling at her (think it was more from the stress of being confined). I thought, how come she had just easily forgotten words that I just taught her seconds ago. I didn't think about the right approach, never made even a little research on how to teach 5-year-old etc.

And I scared my little girl that day. I still remember the expression on her face vividly now. And frankly I feel so bad about that.

Community message from mama23beas: Never engage in a serious teaching when you are under stress;).

I then took some time off. Even though she was taught in kindy, due to our hectic schedule we were late almost everyday and she missed her reading lesson and only attended other activities later.

So that made me think that I must do more at home. Then, trying to be relax, we resumed our reading session and I tried to take things easy.

Bit by bit, she finished series 1,2 and 3 before she turned 6. At series 4, she told me that the wordings were too small and she didn't like it. Nothing was wrong with her eyes, she just thought it took her longer to finish and small letters were too overwhelming.

Being a lot calmer, told her it was ok, we just continue with other books. We didn't touch P&J for half a year. And she made the first move to get back to them.

Now halfway through Primary 1, my girl is almost done with series 7. Yes, I know some kids finish all the 12 series at much younger age but seriously I don't have specific goal/aim. I just encourage her to read and it's up to her how fast she wants to do it.

She displayed some symptons for dyslexia when she was younger and I was always on the lookout if she would have a problem reading.

I noticed then, especially when she read fast, she would pronounce 'of' as 'for' or vice versa. And 'no' as 'on', and when I asked her to slow down and look again at the words, she got them right. She also wrote mirror images of some letters and numbers.

Called up a so-called expert and she advised me to get her to be evaluated. I was surprised when she said at that stage Bea1 should be able to read and understand instruction in Primary 1 books while a lot of people told me that in the first few months schools normally do some repetition of what is taught in kindy. After talking to another expert, friends and her teachers, I decided to wait. I was lazy also to spend some time for the test, but she has improved and looking at her progress in school now, think she is ok.

That's for English. For BM, the kindy starts even later (compared to others), halfway through kindy 2. In other words the kids have about 6 months to prepare for Primary 1. I was not too concerned about BM, thinking that it is easier BUT later found out that Bea1 needed my intervention hehe:).

In Nov last year, she still can't get all the two-letter 'sukukata' right. We did a little 'latih tubi' for about 1/2 hour a day during the school holiday in Dec. I bought a book that emphasizes on phonic and was meant for dyslexic kids (according to the author). One book that she really likes is a Malay-English-Mandarin picture dictionary.
I was surprised on how fast she caught up. To me it's all about constant effort. Frankly, this made me all 'kembang' as that's my effort too;).

Those of you who are familiar with P&J must know that the system emphasizes on memorization first, in the first few series. Later only, phonics come in.

I remember one day, she saw the word 'soon' the first time and took some time to read it. I asked her what she was thinking, she said she was trying to make the sound and had 'moon' on her mind. That was before I taught her phonics, and I was just glad that she was getting used to read new words on her own.

And before Atef was born, she must have all 3 books from a series of P&J and the dictionary just besides her pillow and read one page of all books before going to sleep. That's only for bedtime, she also reads other books at other time. She made her own schedule. Those 4 books on weekday nights, other books and computer games during the weekend;).

Now, our routine lari a bit lah with the new baby but I'm sure we will get back to it soon;).

Now with Bea2 think it's much easier. Normally younger kids will follow whatever the bigger one does. She was not much into books when she was younger, more into pretend-play but now she just follows kakak. She is now reading series 2, and when she got excited with new words that she could read she can finish a book in one go.

The thing is, it's the mother who can't tahan doing the "This is Peter, this is Jane.." over and over. Tried to create a buddy-system, asked (and bribed;)) Bea1 to teach Bea2 but they ended up fighting!

Anyway, Bea2 and Bea3 reach kindy on time now for the lessons. That makes my work easier lah but Bea3 has not started proper lessons yet!

One more thing I can't tahan is whenever a kid comes to me with a book, the other kids would also jump to me each with a book. Then they got into a fight for a place besides mama. Sounds familiar? A lot of times, I just gave up. That's why I'm happy with about two hours that I have with Bea1 during normal school day. At home, a lot of times when one or two kids nap, I would ask the other to get a book and read peacefully together.

Besides what I do, I also let the kids learn from some websites on the net.

Sometimes I wish I have geniuses. I watched this on Discovery or Nat Geo channel, a two year old girl asked her mom to read to her the same book for two weeks everynight and viola...she just broke the 'code for reading' and was able to read right away. Anyway that's some silly thought, there must be reasons why my life is not that easy;). Besides, of course moms to geniuses also have their own challenges.

For those of you that may wonder why I choose a kindy which is late in everything;). Well, that kindy is the first in Malaysia, been around for almost 40 years, the first one to use Montessori, has the most toys compared to the others that I've seen around here. It's very old obviously and run with heavy subsidy from the U but kids are fine with it and I'm fine with it too! And it's cheap;)

This post is like never ending...haha. Before I stop, some updates on the wee one.

It was only two years ago I held a 3 kg baby in my arms. With Atef, I had kind of forgotten how a 3 kg baby should look. I thought Atef was just too small and fragile. Now, after more than two weeks, I can see he's growing fast. Wrinkled skin all smoothen, chubbier cheeks and heavier! A pic of him with some milk drool, lovely!


Anonymous mrs b said...

yes, he does look nicely filled up now; better get to you fast before he outgrows the shirts i bought for him but have not passed to you yet :p

1:39 PM  
Blogger kakchik said...

ouchhh...lenanya tidur..bila nak g cubit atef ni...


8:31 AM  
Blogger Ms. W said...

guilty as charged! i'm also a lazy mum when it comes to teaching my kids to read. my first child will be 3 next week and she's ok with alphabets. thinking of buying her books. is P&J books suitable for 3 year old? i think i used to read them when i was a kid...

4:32 PM  
Blogger zan said...

i agree with you on the most tak tahan moments :) congrats on the new born! smooches for little Atef :)

1:58 PM  
Blogger mama23beas said...

mrs b...you do hv somethin for atef, how sweet!

K e...the day will come, k e the day will come:)

Ms W..being a kampung kid, I got to know about P&J when i got kids already. 3 yr old can already, kids learn fast but lazy me rather wait lah.

zan...tak tahan but we must tahan juga being a mom right?

5:48 PM  
Blogger ReensPorchSale said...

hi there,i stumbled on your blog from blog hopping..ur baby is too cute.
Come view my blog for secondhand stuffs..:)

9:21 AM  
Blogger KittyCat said...

Hey, Bea2 likes "Jay Jay the Aeroplane"? My Boy has just started reading one of the books too only because there's a fire engine in it!

Btw, I'm selling secondhand children's books (imported from the US). Come check out my collection ok?

2:04 AM  

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