Parents just have to get kids hooked on reading

Cultivating a reading habit and a strong foundation for language skills in the early years of a child's life is a process that requires parental involvement.
Cultivating a reading habit and a strong foundation for language skills in the early years of a child's life is a process that requires parental involvement. PHOTO: ST FILE

Leaving the teaching of reading solely to teachers is ill-advised - a teacher can do only so much during curriculum time and his attention is also divided among all the students in class.

I cannot help but agree with Ms Lenny Rahman, whose strongly worded Facebook post admonishes parents for not doing their part in educating their own children (Who should teach kids to read: Teachers or parents?; Jan 28).

Cultivating a reading habit and a strong foundation for language skills in the early years of a child's life is a process that requires parental involvement.

If parents genuinely have their children's best interests at heart, they will make a concerted effort to carve out time to spend with their child no matter how busy they are at work.

Reading with their child daily or even on a thrice-a-week basis is doable and can contribute to strengthening the bond between parents and children.

All it entails is some self-sacrifice and, perhaps, a bit of ingenuity on the parent's part.

For example, instead of being glued to their mobile phones or other tech gadgets, or using such devices to keep the child occupied at home or on public transport, parents can devote this time to reading with their child instead. They can even read e-books together.

Parents who do not have a good grasp of the language should not feel daunted as children's books tend to be simple enough to read.

In the beginning, all parents need to do is to get their child excited about reading. Once children are hooked, they can well read on their own.

This short-term investment in time and effort will pay off handsomely in the long run as the dividends to be reaped when children develop a love for reading are undeniably substantial.

Marietta Koh (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2019, with the headline 'Parents just have to get kids hooked on reading'. Print Edition | Subscribe