Improving a child’s English reading proficiency is a multi-faceted endeavour that requires a coordinated approach between the home and school environment, with the child’s growth from Primary 1 to Primary 6 considered at every step.
At the beginning of their academic journey in Primary 1, children are typically beginning to transition from picture books to simple sentence books. It’s crucial to encourage their emerging reading skills by providing an abundance of age-appropriate reading materials that capture their interest. Incorporate reading time into their daily routines and read together frequently, which not only bolsters reading skills but also fosters a love for reading.
As the child transitions into Primary 2 and 3, the complexity of their reading materials should increase correspondingly. Use a mix of both fiction and non-fiction to help diversify their vocabulary and comprehension skills. They should be encouraged to read aloud, which can improve their reading fluency, pronunciation, and confidence. Make sure to discuss what they have read afterward to deepen their comprehension and interpretive abilities.
In Primary 4 and 5, it becomes crucial to help the child develop critical reading skills. Encourage them to question the text, identify the main ideas, and infer the author’s intentions. Use a variety of genres, such as fantasy, science fiction, biographies, and informational texts, to enhance their understanding and appreciation of different types of writing. Make sure to continue the habit of discussing their interpretations of the texts they read, to encourage critical thinking and deeper comprehension.
By Primary 6, children should ideally be reading independently and tackling more complex texts with minimal assistance. Keep fostering their love for reading by providing challenging and engaging books. Encourage them to try different genres and authors to further broaden their understanding and appreciation of literature. It’s also a good idea to expose them to practice comprehension exercises that are similar to what they would encounter in the PSLE, to further develop their comprehension skills and prepare them for the exam.
Throughout this journey, it’s important to consider the individual child’s pace of development, interests, and difficulties. It’s crucial to maintain a supportive and non-pressurising learning environment where children feel comfortable making mistakes and asking questions. Always remember that proficiency is not solely about the speed of reading or the complexity of the text but includes a deep understanding and enjoyment of the material. Reading proficiency is a journey that unfolds throughout a child’s primary school years, and with consistent practice and support, they will continue to improve their skills and develop a lifelong love for reading.