Reading with your child

By Drum Digital
22 January 2014

With the national literacy rate at an alarming low level, it is clear that helping our children to read is a very important task that cannot be neglected.

Your child is back at school, and his or her teacher encourages them to read a book every day. As much as you’d like to do it, you sadly don’t have much time once you get home from work. Or worse, your child is not interested in reading and would rather spend time on electronic gadgets – whether that is a phone or a game.

We asked author Elizabeth Wasserman - whose novels are being used in schools - for tips on how to tackle this problem. Her latest novel in the Dogtective series, William and the Pirates is on sale now. Her stories are inspired by her own dog. She has the next book in the series, William and the Poachers out in February.

“A mastery of reading is the most important intellectual skill, and if you can get this right for your child, the sky will be the limit,’ she says.

“I know how difficult it is to introduce your child to the delight of reading. It’s most important to instantly draw them into a story and keep them reading,” she adds.

Elizabeth offers the following tips:

Set the example. “If parents (and teachers) haven’t mastered the art of unlocking the worlds contained in books, they’ll have difficulty convincing their children that this world exists,” Elizabeth says.

Tip: Read often.

 Find appropriate books. Target topics and ideas that will tickle your child’s fancy.

“It’s different for each child, but stories with action and things that will interest them or takes them to places they’ve never been generally works. Make it a fun activity,” she offers.

Tip: Use your library for books or start a book club and exchange books with family and friends. You can also look through newspapers and magazines for reading sections for children. Or use whatever you have available – have them read cereal boxes, or signs as you drive around.

Read with your child. Start from an early age. A bedtime story of 5-10 minutes is a good place to start for smaller children and something they can look forward to. If you can’t do it, get a family member or older sibling to read with your child.

Tip: Talk about the story title, look at the pictures. Depending on their level of reading, you can read a few lines, paragraph or page and get them to read the next one. Ask them what they think will happen next. Rediscover the joy of using your imagination.

“That doesn’t mean no TV or video, simply try to get a healthy mix going,” Elizabeth advises.

Dogtective

William and the Pirates

By Elizabeth Wasserman

Tafelberg, R115

- Vida Li Sik

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