Make Learning Phonics And Reading Interesting

In my blog, I wrote that phonics and reading are equally important. Once the child understands the basics of phonics, we should start to teach them to read a good systematic graded reader like the Ladybird key word reading scheme, or other good readers. As the child reads, we should encourage them to ask questions, and try to answer their questions as much as possible.

When I teach phonics, I always explain the meaning of the words to the child. Either by using real objects, or demonstrating the real actions. For example, when I taught the word "dip", I let my boy dip a real chocolate stick into milk. When I taught the word "smash", I let my boy smash a real biscuit. He liked that activities very much, and after that he always remember the meaning of the words.

My girl, who is one year older than my boy, attended Montessori phonics class. All they did in class were worksheets. The teacher did not make much of an effort to explain the meaning of the words. Nothing as fun as what we did at home.

After that I let my girl read the Ladybird key word series (Peter and Jane). She started from book 8 and read until book 12 before the age of 5. After that she read these books :

She can read very fluently, and her level of understanding is excellent.

My advise is to setup a routine, let your child read at least a few pages a day. The best is to read one of the wonderful children’s classics. But great books are usually boring, if the child rejects the book, try more "fun" books like the Rainbow Fairy series Wink

For me, I don’t really care whether the child finds a book boring. If I think the book is good, I will make my girl read it. The fact is that when she enters primary/secondary school, there will be a lot more "boring" textbooks which she needs to study. She will have to study that no matter how boring it is. The period around 5 and 6 years old is a good time to develop the discipline to learn something "serious and boring", about 15 minutes a day will do no harm. Fortunately, my girl loves the books she has read.

The key to writing well, is to read widely. My girl started to write in sentences at 5 years old, and she has been writing cute little stories on her own initiative, without being taught at all.

Some suggestions to all parents about how to make reading books more interesting.

When I make my girl read children’s classics, I try my best to make it more interesting for her, by including special activities.

For example, when reading the Little House on the Prairie, we actually made a real log house together ! Quite similar to the one built by the father in the book.

The picture shows the little log house we made together.

Most of the time I took the easy way, which is showing the movie based on the book. I let my girl watch the Charlie and the Chocolate movie which she likes very much. Then as she read the book, she could relate to the scenes in the movie.

When she was reading the Wizard of Oz, I also tried show her the old movie starring Judy Garland. When I was playing the DVD on the TV, I called her to watch. She actually refused to watch the movie(which is very good with lovely song and dance sequences), because she was so engrossed in the book ! She said that the book is much more interesting than the movie, which is very true. At that moment I was pleasantly surprised, that a book can actually triumph over a movie Very Happy .

Tamarind's blog in teaching phonics

Hi Tamarind,

i m too keen to learn yr techniques in teaching phonics for my daughter, would like to know how to access yr helpful info in that matter ? Many thanks!

tamarind village blog

Hi Tamarind,

has your blog been removed? i remb seeing it about 2-3wks ago. when i try to click in today, it seems being removed. any other ways to access your helpful blog?

thanks 🙂

Thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing the tips. I will give it a try as my boy is really impatient when comes to sitting down n read a book for 15 mins.

Action activities!

Hi Tamarind,

I like your suggestion to make learning fun ie. for word smash to smash a cookie etc. Great Idea! Will store up this bit of information to try with my boy when the time comes!



A picture tells a thousand words

My exact sentiments… imagination is the wildest thing you want to get.

Sometimes when a book is read before you catch the movie, it could actually dampen the imagination and expectation one already conjure upon the completion of the book.

Me for example. I love to read too especially thriller books. Remember the popular book called "The Da Vinci Code". It was so popular that books just flew off the shelves. However when the movie premiered, it was such a disappointment. Probably the excitment of flipping the pages of exciting events makes it so hard to put a book down. And of course the imagination that cames with it.

Three cheers to reading for a wide knowledge.

storybook gives more room for imagination

I don’t read much since I left school. But I will agree with your girl that books are more interesting than movie.

One thing I love to watch is chinese ghost movies.  In the past, we only have ghost movies mainly from hong kong.  More recent years, we have ghost movies from japan and korea.  Remember ‘the ring’?  That one really freak me out.  I like the japan and korean versions better, because usually you don’t get to see the ‘ghost’.  It is up to your own imagation and thats more exciting.  Singapore ghost movie, the ghost looks boring, although at first instance it might be scary. So books are better, in my opinon, although I don’t read wide enough, it gives more lots of room for imagination. 

While writing this, if anyone is looking for good books to read, I have a recommendation.  A friend’s wife, banker turned artist and writer, is writing children books. This is Singapore stories by local Singaporean.  Her first series is Squeaky suitable for age 8-12. Her new series is for early readers, age 7 and below.  Launching at borders on 14 June.  If you are free, bring your children go take a look between 2 to 4pm.  There will be some fun activities, including storytelling.

My Son’s URL:

Thank you for sharing ur

Thank you for sharing ur tips n materials in yr blog!!

Thanks for sharing it here.

Thanks for sharing it here. we communicate via other forum before.
I like the passion of you teaching your child phonics.

Thank you for sharing this

Thank you for sharing this on yr blog. I tried it last night and it was effective! My boy enjoyed it…

I had that old movie,

I had that old movie, Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland too. Got my children to watch it. Initially , I thought it might be too slow-moving for them but they enjoyed it thoroughly especially the songs. Guess, having read the book beforehand , helps..

A book is more interesting than a movie? Definitely true for me, too.

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