Yesterday, one of my students had reading activity. She was reading Gaspard and Lisa’s Rainy Day. The story was really suited to the weather lately. It’s been raining constantly here and in your neighbourhood, too, right? Enjoy the rainy season.
Alright. As I once stated here previously, most of my students at the moment are zero-based in English. They used to communicate by using local language and Bahasa Indonesia. Therefore, learning how to pronounce the English words correctly is my main concern for them.
One of effective activities to help my students saying the words correctly is reading, of course. To me, reading activity is always personal. I always go through checking their reading one by one. They must get rid of mispronunciation. That’s the most important thing first before they learn what the story is about.
Some students who started learning with me at the age of 7 and above normally had had exposed mispronunciation. Sometimes, they tend to read the words just simply based on the letters formed, exactly like what they do in reading Indonesian words. So, it really takes their self-motivation to correct their mispronunciation. And a teacher must be there as the biggest supporter and motivator to help them.
On the contrary, it will be so much different if the students come and learn with me at their early age. By having constant practice, they can read wonderfully and fluently without any trivial mispronunciation.
Very well, then. Let’s start reading!
The following is the things you should prepare and do in your reading class with your students/kids at home: (Note: I will use the words “students, kids/children” frequently here but those words merely refer to the same meaning: young learners)
- Choose a book with a lot of pictures. Beginners are always visual. Interesting pictures may raise their curiosity to explore what the story is about. When they are curious, at least half of your job is accomplished. Just go on the next step.
- Choose a book with a simple story and fewer words to read. You should sense the struggle they experience merely for reading every single word in a sentence. Too many words will make them feel exhausted in reading. This may cause their reading motivation decreased.
- If you plan to have the same book read by your students/kids, start with picture telling about the book first. Open the page one by one and show the pictures to them. You may start having Q/A about the pictures to check how their vocabulary is. If they don’t know it or show clueless faces, of course it’s time to come to the rescue to tell them what the picture is about. Make sure they all pay attention to you and really have fun learning reading with you.
Teacher : What is this picture? (point the tree)
Student A : Tree.
Teacher : Excellent. And what is this picture? (point the bush)
Student A : (show clueless face)
Student B : I don’t know.
Teacher : Alright. (point the bush) This is the … B-OO-SH … BUSH!
And so on. And go on.
The way I explain: This is the … B-OO-SH … BUSH! is using phonics system. What is phonics? Well, perhaps some of you are already familiar with this method/system. However, I’d like to explain about it on the next blogpost. Ok?
- Have a student start reading the book. How about the others? Alright. Always keep the other students occupied. This is what to do:
- Prepare a writing exercise. Let the students (who are still waiting for reading turn) do and work it out together with their friends. Tell them to do it quietly since you’ll listen to the one who starts reading with you.
- Give them other books to read in their mind or just to see the pictures on them.
- Ask them to make a list of the pictures they see on the book. This activity is useful for their vocabulary building.
Reading a simple book with short story will take around ten minutes for each student to finish and for me to give correcction. Those three activities above (for the students who wait for their reading turns) also take ten minutes. So, it won’t take longer time for waiting. Children can be unpredictable when they feel bored waiting, right? That’s why we really need to anticipate it carefully.
This can work well if you only have two children in reading class. How about if there are more than two children? Well, if you have five children in the classroom, then each student will bear 40 minutes waiting for his/her turn or waiting for his/her other friends finish reading. And that 40 minute is too long to wait unless you have an aide teacher to assist you.
So, how do you solve this problem if you are having one-man-show class everyday?
No need to worry. You can have maximum three children for reading each day. The rest of the children will do it on the next day. So, you can save your class from boredom of waiting. You can go on your lesson plan, too. Win-win solution!
- Now, get focused on your child who’s reading now. Let him/her read a sentence first. After full stop, you give correction on the pronunciation. The sooner you give correction, the better it is. This will help your child to memorize the words faster, especially when you keep repeating them. However, if your child can read fluently enough, just give correction after he/she finishes reading for a page. Be totally quiet during his/reading and jot down the words that you’d like to highlight for correct pronunciation.
- After reading, check your child whether he/she understands the story or not. If he/she doesn’t get it, just retell the story in brief based on the pictures. Again, images always help the children to grasp better comprehension. When the whole class has done reading the same book, then you may share with them the moral values of the story.
- Mission’s accomplished.
So, what do you think about the reading steps above? I believe you can apply them with your children in the classroom or at home. Good luck!
I’ll see you in my class soon.
Lots of Love,