The development of a child’s reading stamina, just like a muscle, is a gradual process that requires a structured and thoughtful approach, which changes and evolves from Primary 1 to Primary 6. It’s about building a foundation of interest, nurturing an environment conducive to reading, and steadily increasing the complexity and diversity of the materials read over the years.
In Primary 1, the key focus should be on fostering a love of reading. Start with short, engaging books or stories that resonate with their interests. Ensure reading is presented as an enjoyable activity, not a chore. Reading aloud together, pointing out words, and discussing the stories can create a positive association with the process of reading.
Primary 2 involves the beginning of independent reading. Gradually increase the length and complexity of the texts while still keeping the materials relevant and enjoyable. Make sure the child has ample time for reading during the day. Starting a reading routine can be a great way to instill the habit and increase reading stamina.
By Primary 3, children should be reading a wider variety of texts, including non-fiction, which can help build stamina as it requires more concentration and engagement. It is also the stage to introduce the idea of ‘silent reading’ times, where the child reads on their own, silently, for an extended period.
Primary 4 demands a more structured approach to reading. Introduce reading goals such as finishing a chapter or a certain number of pages each day. Complement their school curriculum with relevant books that can enhance their understanding and retain their interest.
In Primary 5, as children start preparing for their PSLE, there will be a significant increase in the amount of reading required. It’s crucial to help them manage this increased workload and keep them motivated. Encourage them to take short breaks between reading to avoid burnout. Break the reading into smaller, manageable chunks to ensure the child does not feel overwhelmed.
By Primary 6, children should have built a good level of reading stamina. This is the year to consolidate their skills. Ensure they are reading a balanced mix of leisure and academic texts. Teach them strategies to maintain focus when reading longer or more complex texts.
Remember that building reading stamina is not a race but a journey. It’s important to continually reinforce the joy of reading, even as the child works to improve their stamina. Every child is different, so it’s essential to personalize this journey based on the individual child’s interests, pace, and capabilities. Through a balanced and consistent approach, it’s entirely possible to develop strong reading stamina that will serve them well beyond their primary school years.