Nighttime reading rituals, bi-monthly trips to the library and more The Magic School Bus books (or whatever is the current flavour of the month) than you can count? If you’ve tried everything to get your child to love reading, rest assured you’re not alone. Parental involvement is key, but the approach taken at school is critical, too. We talked with Chatsworth International School about creative ideas schools can implement to get your littles to love reading.
#1 Book Tasting Bistro
Children may be notoriously picky eaters, but what kid doesn’t love Italian food? Amidst the ambience of a fine Italian restaurant, students clink glasses while “tasting” books ordered from Chatsworth’s Book Tasting Bistro. Once they order, the kids analyse the book cover, then have three minutes to read the “flavour” of the plot. Finally, the students present the book to their class, giving a quick synopsis of the storyline and explaining why they liked or disliked the book. Students who like their book can borrow it. Students who do not prefer the “taste” of their book must explain what kind of reader would like it and why. This teaches the students to think about other’s reading preferences, and hence their own.
#2 Read me a story, buddy
Whether it’s kindergarteners to preschoolers or high school students to primary students, little kids envy their bigger classmates. That’s why Chatsworth enlists secondary students to read to primary students through a fun buddy reading programme. The sessions inspire a love of reading by students for students. They also allow friendships and bonds to form among the school’s small, close-knit community.
#3 Humans on loan
The human library is a concept that began in Denmark in 2000. It’s now widely organised around the world. Here, real people are turned into “human books” who can be loaned to readers. During Chatsworth’s Book Week, each person has 20 minutes to tell their story followed by a short Q&A session. Some of the human books the school has “borrowed” for students include members of the Singapore Slingers basketball team, Facebook’s Regional Marketing Manager Alexander de Leon, and Georg Gandenberger from the banking corporate world.
#4 Gift-wrapped good reads
“Blind Date with a Book” is an anonymous exchange of pre-loved books amongst middle years students at Chatsworth. Each book is wrapped using eco-friendly materials like newspapers and recycled boxes. The donated books cover a huge range of topics, though they are always age-appropriate in content and reading level. Students review the books that they take home before they decide whether the book is a keeper or not.
#5 Book character parade
What better way to celebrate reading than to dress up as your favourite book character? To mark the end of Book Week, the Book Character Parade invites students and teachers to dress as their favourite book characters or authors. The entire campus comes alive with a congregation of characters from the literary world. It’s the one day of school where you’ll find the Cat in the Hat, Little Red Riding Hood, Fancy Nancy and Pinocchio roaming the halls.
These are but a few ideas. Chatsworth teaches children to love reading by hosting authors’ talks, mystery gift boxes, door decorating competitions, bookmark colouring sessions and other classroom activities. Primary students practice reading during daily Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) sessions, too.
Jackie Onassis said it best when she said, “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” After all, books can take you into outer space, deep inside the jungle and floating atop a polar glacier without ever leaving your bedroom. It’s up to parents and educators to work together to teach kids that.
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