Only 30 Minutes a Day to Raise a Genius

By Cherry Pua

If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is 5 years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of brain food!

Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week and the child's hungry mind loses 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and stories.

A kindergarten student who has not been read to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition.

No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment. If we want our children to learn to read, they must read. When your two-year-old child goes to her bookshelf and chooses her favorite book, she is already reading. She recognizes the cover of the book, which you may have read aloud a hundred times in the past.

She plops herself on the floor and opens the book and begins to mutter words which may or may not resemble the actual words. Even if she merely chimes in on familiar words while you read a book aloud, she is already reading. Why? Because she is discovering meaning in print.

So where do we begin? Cherry Pua Africa in the "Couch Potatoes to Book Potatoes Series" shares with us these special tips:

o If your child is still young, begin with nursery rhymes.

o Recite a nursery rhyme or two every day. There are television shows that are full of rhymes. This will familiarize the reading ears with the sound and rhythm of words at play.

o Listen to rap music to acclimatize the ears to an artistic way of dividing syllables and words. This will also give a sense of movement to words.

o As you read nonsense rhymes and invented words, make up sounds in your mouth. Play with words and watch how language can transform from words to images and emotions.

Cherry Pua-Africa is the author of stories such as The True Story of Humpty Dumpty that was recognized and awarded by Japan SV Association, The Culture Cat Series used by Cambridge Informatics throughout its franchise network and the Story Ring. She is also the producer of the educator's favorite storytelling CDs entitled The Story Ring and Never Ending Rhythm and Rhymes.

She is currently the Managing Director of Never Ending Story, a Singapore-based education consultancy firm providing training and coaching service to educators and school business managers and developing high impact school programmes. Cherry is also a director of ACT English in Thailand and has managed several kindergartens and speech and drama centres.

To date, Cherry's clients include Cambridge Child Development Centres (Informatics Singapore), ACTs of life Singapore, Singapore Repertory's Little Theatre Company, Singapore Asian Civilisations Museum, Total Child Centre Malaysia, Kinder Minds Philippines, etc. She has given high impact workshops at the National Storytelling Network in the USA, International Reading Association, Southeast Asian Education Ministers Organization, Chitrlada Royal School in Bangkok, SEGI College in Malaysia and so on.

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