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Challenge: Finding Your Voice as a Parent

Hints on how to encourage children to read

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Hints from Ruowen Wang

Keep a small basket filled with joke books, magazines, short stories, books of questions and answers, and books like Ripley's Believe It or Not in each bathroom of your house.

Put a map of the solar system, a map of the world, or a map of your local community on the wall. Refer to them often whenever possible, and create map quizzes or games to play with your kids.

Take your children to the bookstores regularly. Make visiting bookstores your family recreation and eventually part of your "family culture". Get books on many subjects and make them accessible for your children at all times.

Secondhand bookstores, Salvation Army stores, Value Villages, yard sales and Book Events are the best places to fine inexpensive books.

When it comes to teaching some "boring stuff", like Math, Phonics and Grammar, a car is often the best place. Kids in car seats have nothing better to do than to pay attention and work out abstract lessons.

Play with words and letters to explore word formation in the English language. Ask children to identify compound words like "playground", "bathtub". Or add "dis-" before some words, and "-less" after others to show the function of prefixes and suffixes.

Always ask questions on a given subject to raise your child's interest or inspire their curiosity before teaching something new.

If your child declares that he or she does not want to learn, you can "play" instead. Incorporate your teaching into your play activities or game rules, and let your child win. This will increase their confidence.

Learning involves exploring and risk-taking; it is therefore exciting to a child if presented in the right way. With a good teacher, all children can learn to achieve.

Academic Achievers was founded by Ms. Ruowen Wang, a high school teacher and an English as a Second Language specialist. Ms. Wang taught for both Toronto Board of Education and North York Board of Education from 1988 to 1998, when she switched to a career into business administrations.

In 2001, Ms. Wang decided to become a full-time mother and started part-time home schooling her two young children, Kevin and Robin. Under Ms. Wang’s coaching Kevin’s book reports have earned him a great deal of respect from his English teacher. Robin started reading chapter books independently in Senior Kindergarten. (To read about Kevin and Robin’s academic achievements, please see Kid’s Press and Our Family Story on our web.)

Ms. Wang’s interest in home schooling fueled her plans to open a quality learning center for kids of all ages. Ms. Wang believes strongly in the concept of education as a lifetime investment. Early childhood education sets the stage for life.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all in teaching and learning, each child needs to be assessed as a unique individual. To discover, respect and follow a child’s own interest and learning style makes teaching and learning ten times more effective.


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