18 Sep 2018
The first day of Primary One is an emotional day for both parent and child alike.
This is a very common question asked by many parents whose child will be attending Primary 1 next year.
There are many stages in a child’s education path where parents tend to be ‘kiasu’ and ‘kancheong’; from the first day in childcare and Primary One, to taking the PSLE, O-Level and even the start of University, parents tend to feel that their children are growing up too fast and are wondering what else they can do to support and guide them.
Among the various questions that parents have as they get their children ready for primary school, one key area that many parents are most concerned about is their child’s reading ability compared to the other children.
Is my child’s reading ability on par with the rest of his/her classmates and how can I as a parent help him/her before the term starts?”
Most schools would conduct a pre-reading activity during the P1 orientation or during the first few weeks of school when the term starts. This is to identify children who may need more exposure to reading, especially in recognising and pronuncing high frequency words.
Children who require such assistance may then be placed under a special reading programme. This may require them to either arrive in school earlier on alternate days in a week for a story reading session done by a teacher or to attend a separate class during English lessons on some days of the week where the teacher-student ratio is smaller to provide better guide for them.
Cultivate a good reading habit in your child from young
Children as young as 1 year old listen to everything you say and read to them. Being a parent, you are the role model whom your child looks up to. As such, you should cultivate a good reading habit early by reading to your child at least once a day. If your child is an independent reader, you could tweak this activity by getting him/her to read to you instead.
When reading out aloud, remember to move your fingers below the words, according to the word you read.
This helps to link the pronunciation to the sight of the words. Do not point at each word one by one and always ensure that you move your fingers from left to right in a smooth and consistent direction and manner to advocate fluency.
Words that frequently appear in sentences and stories are known as “high frequency words”. Examples of high frequency words are ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘a’, ‘to’, ‘said’, ‘in’ etc.
Many a times, parents will prepare word cards to help their child recognise and read these words. As much as this helps the child to relate the sound to the word itself, it gives no meaning to the word at all as the child would not know how to use this word in a sentence. Therefore, I would strongly recommend that new words are introduced in context by reading the words in a sentence.
Example: John is going to the garden. Mary wants to eat an apple.
This way, children will be able to learn how to use the words to form meaningful sentences.
In the ‘Preparing your child for Primary 1 (Parent Info Talk)’, I will be addressing the common questions asked by K2 parents, and also share with you on how, you, as a parent can assist to prepare your child emotionally, socially and academically for Primary 1.
Apart from reading, through this talk, you will also be able to understand more on how each subject is taught and assessed in school.
Get your child ready for Primary School and sign up now at:
About the author of this article:
Joanna Tan is an ex-MOE teacher with more than 10 years of teaching experience. She believes that students learn at different paces and styles but given good home and school support, each student has the potential to achieve beyond expectations from parents and teachers.