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  • Develop Your Child's Vocabulary! Best Reading Materials For Kinder

    Children typically begin identifying symbols like numbers and alphabets at 4 years old.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
Develop Your Child's Vocabulary! Best Reading Materials For Kinder
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  • SmartParenting.com.ph always gets asked about reading materials for kinder students. But it must be stressed that learning how to read is unique for every child.

    Children typically begin identifying symbols like numbers and alphabets at 4, says Dr. Felicitas Pado, a reading expert, a faculty member of Miriam College, and a former professor on Teaching Beginning Reading at the UP College of Education.

    Dr. Pado is also a member of the Technical Panel on Teacher Education of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the chair of the Committee on Early Childhood Education. 

    “Some children may be ready before this age, and some are a bit late,” Dr. Pado says but points out that no child should be forced to read if she is not ready yet. “Otherwise, they might develop a negative attitude towards it.”

    How to develop your child’s vocabulary through reading

    What is essential is to whet the child’s appetite for reading by reading to her at an early age.

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    “Children love stories, and reading these storybooks would develop in them the motivation to learn to read. They think, “Sana nakakabasa na ako, para mabasa ko na yang magagandang kuwento,” says Dr. Pado.

    The school can teach them how to comprehend, develop critical thinking, use correct grammar, and recognize alphabets and words. But the home is where these skills can be strengthened further.

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    Asking questions after reading a story helps a lot, says Dr. Pado. “This will develop their oral and language vocabulary, listening comprehension, and book print orientation such as learning that one reads from left to right.”

    Activities after each storybook can involve writing and spelling games, dramatizing parts of the story, and drawing and writing words in phrases about the illustration.

    “Invented spelling is accepted. This refers to writing the words according to how the child hears the sound of the word,” says Dr. Pado.

    Apps vs. actual books for kindergarten

    Where to find reading materials has never been easier, yes, even during the pandemic. Some popular second-hand bookstores are now online and even offer children’s books in bulk with significant discounts.

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    While there are so many kinds of books out there that allow reading to be more tactile and entertaining, reading apps are just as interactive, giving parents more options and ways to practice reading with their child.

    Some apps offer thousands of stories to choose from, and these are accompanied by read-aloud, games, songs, and a variety of activities that help practice reading.

    Among the more popular practice reading apps is ABC Mouse, Epic!, FarFaria, and Starfall.

    Dr. Pado, however, points out the advantages of actual books for young readers. “They can flip the pages, look carefully at the prints, and go back to the pages that they like.”

    Best reading materials for kindergarten

    In looking for the best reading materials for children who are just starting to read, Dr. Pado recommends going reading materials that are:

    • Short enough to match the short attention span of kids
    • Use language that is easily understood
    • Convey a lesson
    • Apply a few lines per page
    • Use lines that are repetitive enough to encourage children to join in as they are being read to

    Many of these criteria apply to many local children’s books. Dr. Pado recommends these stories written by some of the most esteemed Filipino writers in the country and published by Adarna House:

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    • Ako si Kaliwa, Ako si Kanan by Russell Molina
    • Si Pilong Patago–tago by Kristine Canon
    • Ang Madyik Silya ni Titoy by Russell Molina
    • Ang Mahiyaing Manok by Rebecca Anonuevo
    • Bakit Matagal Ang Sundo Ko? by Kristine Canon
    • Si Emang Engkantada at Ang Tatlong Haragan by Rene Villanueva
    • Si Pagong at si Matsing by Virgilio Almario
    • Tiktaktok at Pikpakbum by Rene Villanueva

    Oral activities in kindergarten are crucial

    Reading materials for kinder, whether actual or online, are aplenty, and parents will never run out of choices. What matters more is sustaining a child’s interest in reading.

    Dr. Pado recommends that parents go slow at the start to test where the child is in terms of her interest and skills. “Don’t force it if she or he is not ready,” she warns.

    While workbooks make them more familiar with writing the alphabet and developing their fine motor skills, oral activities are more critical for kindergartners because it allows them to expand their vocabulary and develop phonological awareness.

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    “Introduce reading through oral activities, games, and contests,” to make them more interesting, says Dr. Pado.

    Finally, comparing a child’s reading abilities with another is a sure way to stop them from flipping to the next page. Remember, not all children learn at the same pace.

    “Be less critical of slow performance and more generous with praises for improved performance,” Dr. Pado concludes.

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