One of the greatest gifts parents can pass on to their children is a love for the written word. Encourage and teach your little learner to read by first reading to him. A good time to start is when your child is about three months old. At this age, he is able to follow moving objects with his eyes, an ability known as visual tracking. Start with simple picture books, say the words aloud and point to the words and accompanying pictures. Let baby see you turning the pages of the book.
It may be some time before your child can read simple words independently, but by exposing him to sounds, letters and words at this early stage, you inculcate in him the joys of reading and nurture a familiarity with the basics.
Reading is a vital skill that is required in many aspects of daily life. Whether you’re in school, at the workplace, travelling or navigating the omnipresent Internet, being able to read and process the information is something we all need to do. Picking up this essential skill from a young age is vastly beneficial.
Children who enjoy reading can broaden their knowledge by learning about a wealth of subject matters. Diving into the pages of a well-loved fairytale can also feed the imagination. The more books they read, the more little ones improve their linguistic skills, whether it’s grammar, spelling, phrasing or vocabulary. In modern times, electronic books (or eBooks) have gained popularity. Explore the series of eBooks suitable for pre-schoolers by the National Library Board!
Introducing TumbleBook Library
Want your child to enjoy books with a difference? NLB has a collection of eBooks suitable for preschoolers. Known as the TumbleBook Library, this user-friendly resource allows you to access children’s books for reading online. The best part about these eBooks is that they come with animation, sound, music and narration to make the magic of storytelling comes alive.
To access the TumbleBook Library, go to http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg and login using your NRIC number (or membership ID), name and date of birth. Once you have successfully logged in, select ‘eBooks’ on the left menu. Scroll down and click on ‘TumbleBook Library’ from the list shown on the webpage.
To select a picture book, click on ‘Index’ from the menu bar to view a list of titles and their respective authors. Click on a title that interests you and read the synopsis to your child. If he would like you to continue, click ‘Read Online’. Parents can also refer to the Reading Level indicated on this page to assess if the book is suitable for their child. However, do remember that reading levels are just a general guideline. Every child is unique and reading skills can develop differently among different children.
Parents can choose to let their child listen to an audio narration of the book or read aloud from the book. The illustrations shown on screen are the same as those featured in the physical copies of the books. In some cases, there may be added animation, such as a moving eyebrow or hand. As these books are meant for pre-schoolers, most are characterised by short sentences and simple vocabulary. Most of the time, the pictures and illustrations alone can present much of the story.
Do note that Adobe Flash plugin is needed for browsers to effectively display the eBooks. For many of the picture books, TumbleBook Library provides fun and absorbing related educational activities such as Word Search and Memory Game.
eBooks & Your Child
The following are some tips on making the eBook experience beneficial for parents and their emergent readers.
Read the eBook together with your child as you would any physical book. Make it a relaxed and fun session, a time of bonding for you and your young one.
Rely on the pictures. Very often, the illustrations and animations show details not described in the text. These provide opportunities for your child to spot interesting details. For instance, can he name the shape and colour of the spectacles worn by the main character? How many freckles are there on the character’s cheeks?
Ask questions to prompt your child to describe objects or people in the story or to explain what is happening. This can help children learn new words in context. It also teaches them how to describe a sequence of events. For instance, you could prompt with questions like, “What is the colour of the ball?” or “What do you think will happen next?"
Use the audio narration. Turn on the audio narration on repeat readings of the same book. Many of the narrations are done in an animated fashion that children will enjoy. However, you may wish to turn off the audio narration the first time you read the book with your child. This gives active minds the opportunity to imagine or explore the different ways a character could articulate a particular line.
Role play and have fun with storytelling. Get your child to pretend to be one character while you enact the part of another character. Or take turns telling (parts of) the story to each other.
Above all, have fun! Make reading an enjoyable time and remember to explore the many related educational activities that come with each eBook.