5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in PSLE English

psle english mistakes

When it comes to English, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and its correct usage is essential for your child to do well in the subject. However, despite many years of learning the language and going through numerous practice assessments, some students may still find themselves making errors that could have been avoided and thus saving them a few extra points.

Ms Suritha Shah, a PSLE English Trainer at MindChamps, highlights some of the mistakes that students commonly make in the PSLE English paper and shares the correct usage for each.

1. Everyday vs Every Day

‘Everyday’ is an adjective. When used as an adverbial phrase of time, it should be written as ‘every day’.

Incorrect: She jogs in the park everyday.

Correct: She jogs in the park every day.

Here’s how to use ‘everyday’ correctly:

Jogging in the park is her everyday activity.

2. Issues with Apostrophes

When used to depict possession

Apostrophes are commonly used to reflect possession, such as:

Jack’s house

Today’s agenda

However, do take note of the correct placement of apostrophes in the following instances:

* If two people possess the same item, put the apostrophe + s after the second name.

Jack and Helen’s house is magnificent.

* If there is no joint possession and each person owns a separate item, add apostrophe + s to both names.

Jack’s and Helen’s houses are both magnificent.

When it comes to personal pronouns

When using personal pronouns, do not add apostrophe + s.

For example:

Incorrect: It’s leg is injured.

Correct: Its leg is injured.

Incorrect: She turned to face Helen, who’s face was pale.

Correct: She turned to face Helen, whose face was pale.

Omission of apostrophes in contractions

Apostrophes can be used to show an omission of letters, and is commonly used as part of a contraction.

For example:

it is = it’s

does not = doesn’t

has not = hasn’t

Changing a regular noun to the plural form

Do remember not to use apostrophe + s to change a regular noun into plural.

For example:

Holiday should be changed to holidays and not holiday’s

Apostrophe should be changed to apostrophes and not apostrophe’s

3. Were vs Where vs We’re

Here’s what you need to know when using these three words to construct sentences:

‘Were’ is the past tense of the verb ‘to be’.

Examples:

If I were a king, I would live in a grand palace.

They were in school today.

 

‘Where’ is an adverb to indicate ‘in’ or ‘at what place’.

Examples:

Where is the train station?

Where are we going tomorrow?

 

‘We’re’ is the contraction of ‘we are’.

Examples:

We’re going to Sentosa tomorrow.

We’re having a discussion.

4. Lie vs Lay

First of all, do familiarise yourself with the definition of these two words:

Lie – recline or assume a resting position

Lay – to put or place something in a horizontal position

Take into consideration how the past and past participle tenses would differ, when both lie and lay are taken as present tense.

Present Tense: Lie

Past Tense: Lay

Past Participle Tense: Lain

Present Tense: Lay

Past Tense: Laid

Past Participle Tense: Laid

5. Then vs Than

‘Then’ is most commonly used as an adverb. It is used in relation to time and the order in which events occur.

For example:

He ended the call, then packed his bags.

Walk straight, then turn right when you see the huge painting.

 

On the other hand, ‘Than’ is used to express a comparison between two or more items.

For example:

Tom is stronger than Aaron.

 

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

Want to know how to help your child do well in PSLE English? Find out more about our PSLE Success programme now and book a one-on-one PSLE Learning Strength Evaluation for your child.

 

5 Effective Ways to Clear Your Mind – According to Neuroscience

ways to clear your mind

We all want to achieve great things and rise to the challenges that come our way with the mindset of a Champion. However, at times, the only thing standing in your way of doing your best is a troubled mind.

Here, we present you five simple tips that can help you clear your mind and stay calm, as researched by neuroscientists and shared on Psychology Today. Through these tips, you will be on your way to getting ahead in life as you set out to achieve your goals and make a difference through the things that you do.

1. Mindfulness

A study conducted by researchers at Brown University in the United States has found that people can learn how to manipulate their alpha rhythms in the somatosensory cortex (the area of the brain that receives sensory input from the body) as they shift their attention through mindfulness training. Thus, to put it simply, mindfulness involves consciously thinking about the thoughts that go through your mind and accepting them without getting carried away. This form of “active thinking” helps you free your mind of negative and depressive thoughts and push forward to achieve your goals with renewed confidence.

2. Distraction

Our minds work by thinking of one thing at a time. Thus, when you shift your attention on one thing, you are purposefully ignoring other thought processes that might be going on at the same time.

This act of ignoring involves finding a “distraction”, whereby we forget about the unpleasant thoughts that go through our minds and rely on external sources to draw our attention away from them. Some examples of these external sources include talking to a friend who reminds you that everything will turn out well in the end, or to volunteer your time and energy towards a worthy cause, putting all selfish thoughts aside.

3. Suppression

When your mind gets overwhelmed with various things to think about, bad feelings and negative thoughts are bound to crop up amid it all. In your bid to avoid that unpleasant feeling, you do what it takes to ignore and put these thoughts at the back of your head. This thought process is called suppression, which involves us consciously ignoring something to avoid further complications.

Although this method may temporarily work to block out distractions, do note that suppression requires a lot of willpower for it to work, as we need to keep our emotions in control. At the end of the day, there is only so much that we can contain until these bottled-up feelings bring out the worst in us (i.e think of a can of carbonated drink bursting open). Before you get to the point of breaking down, another block-out method which you can consider is substitution – which will be discussed in more detail below.

4. Substitution

Do not lose hope just yet if suppression does not help to clear your mind when you really need it to – there may be hope in substitution. Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that memory substitution is supported by caudal prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain which determines one’s personality) and mid-ventrolateral prefrontal cortex which controls one’s memories. Together, these two regions work together to bring specific memories to light amidst distracting memories.

Substitution involves using your imagination to replace unpleasant thoughts with more positive ones. It allows you to create new memories by pretending you are in a different place or experiencing something new, although this may be short-lived. However, do use this method with caution, as it can cause some people to live their lives based on what they imagine that they stray so far away from reality.

5. Meditation

Lastly, meditation is another popular method used to calm a troubled mind. While there are several ways to meditate, they all share a common purpose: to observe your thoughts consciously and watch them drift by. There is no specific sitting posture required in order to meditate – all you need to do is to assume a comfortable position, sit still and focus on the rhythm of your breathing.

 

Read also: 8 Things Parents Do to Raise Successful Children, According to Research

Find out how you can bring out the best in your child through effective learning techniques and thinking skills with MindChamps’ Thinking Cap programme. Click here to book a complimentary personal coaching session for your child now! 

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog

 

Manuka Honey: Amazing Uses and Benefits You Need to Know

manuka honey

Produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush, Manuka honey is highly regarded as the “miracle honey” that comes with a host of health benefits.

While honey has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, what differentiates Manuka honey from regular raw honey lies within its rich nutritional profile. Researchers at New Zealand’s University of Waikato discovered that Manuka honey contains a considerably higher level of enzymes compared to regular honey. The combination of all these enzymes create a natural hydrogen peroxide which comes with antibacterial properties.

The Unique Manuka Factor (UMF)

It is also found that some strains of New Zealand honey are rich in three key components – hydrogen peroxide, methylglyoxal and dihydroxyacetone. This medicinal trilogy makes up the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF), a global standard used to identify and measure the antibacterial strength of the Manuka honey. Stable and not easily destroyed by heat, light and enzymes in the body, the UMF of Manuka honey acts as a guarantee that the honey is of medicinal quality.

When it comes to the UMF rating, there are some standard guidelines that you should know when it comes to its usage and benefits for health:

0 to 4: Non-therapeutic

4 to 9: For general maintenance of good health

10 to 14: Supports natural healing and good bacterial balance

15+: Contains superior levels of phenols that are highly therapeutic – do not take more than 1 tablespoon at a time

The minimum UMF rating recognised is UMF 5, but it is not considered to be beneficial for health unless it carries a UMF 10+ level. Ratings that fall within UMF 10 to UMF 15 is great for health, while honey with UMF 16 and above is considered to be of superior quality.

The Amazing Uses and Health Benefits

Manuka honey is highly raved for its many uses and benefits for health and life, which includes soothing a sore throat and using it as a natural facial mask. Here are some top uses to take note of:

1. Sore throat and inflammation

Research conducted in 2011 revealed that Manuka honey plays a role in halting the growth of the Strep bacteria that causes sore throat. In recent years, it has also been approved by the National Cancer Institute to heal inflammation in the throat from chemotherapy.

To get the most of the Manuka honey benefits, all you need to do is to take one to two tablespoons a day. You can choose to take it neat, or add it to your cup of tea or warm water. Alternatively, you can also add one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your cup of Manuka honey – research has shown that the combined antimicrobial properties of these two ingredients are so powerful that it helps to speed up the recovery process.

2. Oral health issues

Studies conducted by New Zealand’s University of Otago have shown that the superior anti-microbial properties of Manuka honey help to cure oral health problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. The results revealed that chewing or sucking on a Manuka honey product – be it in its original form, mixed in food and beverage or candy form – can lead to a 35% reduction in plaque and bleeding gums for people afflicted with gingivitis. What’s more, nutrients in Manuka honey such as calcium, zinc and phosphorus are beneficial in the healing process.

3. Eczema and hives

Problematic skin conditions such as eczema and hives are a result of allergies and autoimmune issues. With symptoms such as skin dryness and scaling, eczema can be aggravated by scratching, which causes the skin to peel and bleed.

Manuka honey is one of the key natural ingredients that can be used to manage eczema and prevent further complications. When mixed with Manuka oil and beeswax, this mixture acts as a moisturising shield on damaged skin and helps to repair and keep the layers intact. It also helps to hydrate skin, protecting it against infections.

4. Dandruff and scalp problems

Apart from benefiting your health internally, the healing properties of Manuka honey can help to improve your scalp health and manage hair issues such as dandruff. A result of scalp dryness and shedding of dead skin, dandruff could lead to other issues such as scalp acne.

Manuka honey, when applied to the scalp, helps to expel the dirt and grime from the pores of your skin and keeps your skin hydrated by drawing in water from your environment. The anti-microbial properties work against various bacteria and fungi that causes dandruff.

5. Better sleep

Just went through a long, eventful day? Manuka honey can help you enjoy a deep, restful sleep at night. This is achieved by slowly releasing the glycogen (a type of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage) needed for essential bodily functions. Having a manuka honey drink at bedtime helps your body release melatonin into the brain, which is essential for a good night’s sleep. With better sleep quality achieved, your risk of health problems associated with poor sleep such as heart disease and diabetes is also reduced.

 

Take charge of your health with tips and resources validated by research and medical professionals. Visit the MindChamps Medical website or book an appointment at our clinics now.  

This article was first published on the MindChamps blog.

March School Holiday 2017 – 12 Amazing Activities for Children

The March School Holiday is upon us, and both parents and their children are all set to enjoy this short break from the usual school routines and homework marathons. To help you make the most of this week-long break, we have put together a list of activities that are happening during the holiday week – ranging from enriching school holiday programmes to must-not-miss theatre shows and exhibitions.

Check them out now:

Stage and Theatre Productions

1. A Peter Rabbit Tale

March school holiday 2017
(Image: SISTIC)

Based on the much-loved Beatrix Potter children’s classic, A Peter Rabbit Tale follows the musical adventure of Peter as he discovers the importance of family and the value of being true to yourself by exploring new places and the people he meets along the way. In true Peter Rabbit style, he gets up to all sorts of mischief and lands himself in a web of troubles – the last straw came when he breaks the rules and steals from Mr. McGregor’s garden. Worried about what his beloved mum might say, he decides to leave his comfy rabbit hole and run away into the “big world”.

This show is recommended for children aged 4 to 8.

Date: 24 February to 14 April 2017

Time: Weekdays 10am, Weekends and Public Holidays 11am & 2pm

Venue: KC Arts Centre – Home of SRT

Ticket Prices: Starts from $25

Book now!

2. The Ant & The Grasshopper

March school holiday 2017
(Image: SISTIC)

In the original fable by Aesop, the ants were a hardworking bunch who worked all day while the grasshopper did not understand why one should work hard. With unexpected twists and turns to the tale, there are many lessons we can learn from this interactive musical which revolves around friendship, rewards for hard work, generosity and judging others.

This show is a must-watch for the whole family!

Date: 18 February to 19 March 2017

Time: Various timings available

Venue: SOTA Drama Theatre

Ticket prices: $32 (For both adults and children)

Book now!

3. The Wonderful World of Disney on Ice

March school holiday 2017
(Image: Singapore Sports Hub)

Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy as they take you on a walk down memory lane to relive the wonderful Disney moments through your favourite films. From diving into the East Australian Current with Dory, Nemo and Marlin to discover the true meaning of family to prowling the Pride Lands of Africa with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa, there’s something magical for everyone in the family to enjoy during the school holiday.

Date: 15 to 19 March 2017

Time: Various timings available

Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium

Ticket prices: $25 to $120

Book now!

 

Check out the holiday programmes that are on-going during the break, and enrol your children now – before seats run out! More on the next page…

5 Ways to Help Your P3 Child to Love Science

primary 3 science

Here in Singapore, students embark on the learning journey to discover the wonders of science in primary 3. While most students start off the journey filled with high hopes and excitement (after all, science truly is a fascinating subject filled with amazing discoveries), they may soon lose interest in the subject upon learning that their love and interest may not be enough to help them score well in the science exams.

So, what can you do to help your children retain their passion in the subject and motivate them not to give up hope? Charmaine Choo, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Training at MindChamps shares the following tips to help parents instill a love in science in their children from the start:

1. Make learning fun

The rule of thumb to spur your child’s interest in Science is to make it comprehensible, engaging and fun.

You can achieve this by conducting simple Science experiments with your child such as making slime with cornflour, creating static electricity or making ice lollies. On a good day, you can also “wander and wonder” together. This could involve a trip to a nearby park, the Botanic Gardens or the Science Centre. Alternatively, you can also introduce your child to Science games and/or simulations online.

See also: How to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read

2. Make science relevant

When children see how the knowledge learnt in school is applicable to their lives, they will naturally become curious and interested to learn more.

Watch Science documentaries on channels such as Discovery Channel Animal Planet and National Geographic with your child and ask him/her questions such as:

Q: Why is it common practice to spread and hang towels after using them?

A: This increases their exposed surface area, thereby increasing the rate of evaporation of water.

Q: Why is it necessary to brush your teeth before going to bed?

A: Some bacteria in your mouth respire anaerobically and produce lactic acid that causes tooth decay.

Q: Why is it important to exercise regularly?

A: Aerobic exercise makes the heart stronger.

Q: Why is it important to put fresh milk in the fridge?

A: Low temperature slows the growth of bacteria.

When you relate the things that are taught in school to what your child already knows, this helps to increase his/her retention of the new information.

3. Be supportive of your child’s efforts to learn

Form a learning partnership with your child where partners are equal rather than adopting an instructor/student (master/slave) model. Ask your child what he/she is learning in school and encourage him/her to “fill the gaps” by seeking clarification. Empower your child to understand that learning is a process, and that failure is an important part of that process. Also, focus on your child’s strengths and recognise and celebrate your child’s achievements (no matter how small) as these forms of positive reinforcement will keep your child motivated to learn.

See also: Top Ways to Encourage Your Child to Learn Chinese

4. Inculcate healthy study habits

This includes being ready for class, paying attention during class and revising the material that was covered in class as soon as possible. It is also important to help your child stay organised and in control of his/her work. You can help your child by setting up a system when filing his/her school papers and assignments, and drawing up a simple and realistic timetable to follow every day. With everything in place, your child will be able to take charge of the learning schedule without feeling overwhelmed, and in turn, he/she will be more motivated to learn.

5. Communicate

Encourage your child to express his/her opinion, talk about his/her feelings, and make choices together. Good learners have the confidence to be heard without the fear of being judged, put down, discouraged or ignored.

On the other hand, it is also beneficial to catch up with your child’s teachers every now and then. This will give you a better understanding of the school curriculum and activities and help you support your child better. A positive parent-teacher relationship also demonstrates to your child that he/she can trust his/her teacher.

 

Does your P6 child need help in PSLE Science? Find out more about our PSLE Success™ programme now and book a one-on-one PSLE Learning Strength Evaluation for your child. 

What Champion Teachers at MindChamps PreSchool Are Made Of

As a parent, nothing makes you happier than to see the wide smiles and cheery laughs from your children upon picking them up from preschool. On top of that, the daily conversations that you have with them about their day at school make the highlight of your day – the stories of their friends and teachers never fail to amaze you!

What makes a champion teacher at MindChamps PreSchool

Apart from their passion in a career as a preschool teacher and love of nurturing young minds during the early years, the talents of our MindChamps PreSchool teachers go beyond that. Upon going through rounds of application to select the best preschool teachers, MindChamps teachers would need to undergo up to 200 hours of compulsory training and accreditation throughout the course of their appointment. This is to ensure that they are equipped with the latest skills, techniques and methodologies to deliver the cutting-edge MindChamps PreSchool curriculum to our champs.

Want to find out what a typical day at MindChamps PreSchool is like? Book a visit to a MindChamps PreSchool centre nearest to you now!

“It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher, but it takes an extraordinary person to become an amazing trainer, for training – in the MindChamps sense – is far more than imparting knowledge. It is about how we communicate – how we get others to ‘own the knowledge’ and make it a part of them. It is about becoming a role-model for a successful life.”

Mr David Chiem (Founder , Chairman and Group CEO, MindChamps)

 

Check out this video to get a glimpse of MindChamps’ training for preschool teachers held recently, and find out what the parents of our champs have to say about our cutting-edge curriculum as well as their review of the MindChamps PreSchool teachers training in preparing our teachers to carry out their important role in the learning process:

Note: Feel free to share this video with someone you know who is considering a career as a preschool teacher.

 

Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Early Childhood Educator?

Here at MindChamps, much of the learning and thinking processes that our champs go through daily is attributed to the passion and dedication of our team of Champion Teachers. Beyond their love of inspiring and nurturing young minds, our preschool teachers also undergo up to 200 hours of training and accreditation to ensure that they are equipped with the latest skills, techniques and methodologies to deliver the cutting-edge curriculum to our champs.

“It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher, but it takes an extraordinary person to become an amazing trainer, for training – in the MindChamps sense – is far more than imparting knowledge. It is about how we communicate – how we get others to ‘own the knowledge’ and make it a part of them. It is about becoming a role-model for a successful life.”

Mr David Chiem (Founder , Chairman and Group CEO, MindChamps)

 

The following video shows a sneak preview of what goes on during MindChamps’ training for preschool teachers. Find out what our MindChamps teachers have to say about the training and how this has helped them take their preschool teacher career to greater heights.

If you know someone who is considering a career in early childhood education, do feel free to share this video with them:

To be a part of the MindChamps family as a preschool teacher, kindly send in your application to hr@mindchamps.org. Only shortlisted applicants will be notified. 

 

5 Things You Can Do to Help Your P5 Child Prepare for PSLE

psle preparation in p5

We all want our children to do well in their studies and exams, especially the all-important PSLE in Primary 6. While current P6 students are feeling the stress and are frantically doing what they can to prepare for PSLE which is just months away, this does not make things any easier for your child in Primary 5 who will be in the exact situation next year.

Education experts often recommend early preparation as the secret to PSLE success. But what can you and your child do to kick start the PSLE preparations now without letting stress get to the both of you?

Here are some areas to focus on to help you and your child stay ahead of the PSLE preparations in P5:

1. Start a study timetable and set realistic targets

Start preparing for the big exam early by drawing up a practical and realistic study timetable to help your child get the most out of the time he/she has available. From the timetable, both of you can zoom in further to establish realistic and measurable goals which he/she is confident about achieving.

If your child is not one who has been scoring straight A’s throughout his/her primary school life, it may not be realistic to expect him/her to work towards that for PSLE. Instead, since your child has the advantage of time on his/her side, you could encourage him/her to focus on perfecting one module at a time before moving on to the next. By conquering the task in bite-sized pieces, your child’s confidence level will increase and his/her performance might just surpass both your expectations.

2. Reinforce the relevance of studying

Discuss with your child on his/her aspirations in terms of the secondary school, junior college or university that he/she hopes to attend. However, be mindful and nurturing about the way you approach the subject and do refrain from making judgemental remarks which may make your child feel discouraged. This discussion will help to reinforce the reasons why he/she should put in the effort to study hard and get good results for PSLE, because at the end of the day all these will help him/her reach his/her goals.

3. Explore proven study methods and exam strategies

Instead of letting your child get caught up in a marathon of assessment books and past exam papers, take some time to look up on study methods that can help him/her prepare for the exams better. Try them out and see if they are suitable for your child and make necessary tweaks according to your child’s strengths. Talking to his/her teachers and other parents whose children have gone through PSLE on strategies for tackling exam questions helps to make the study preparation more effective.

4. Instil a positive mindset towards learning

Oftentimes, the one thing that is holding back your child in reaching his/her fullest potential lies in his/her lack of interest in learning. You can help to turn this around by zooming in on what is expected of your child for each subject to ease his/her confusion and frustrations towards the study preparation.  With the right mindset and learning strategies in place, your child will be able to handle the PSLE preparations with confidence and ease.

5. Practice balance and don’t leave fun out of the picture

Although you are helping your child stay on track of his/her PSLE preparations, it is equally important to create a balance in his/her life. Make sure your child gets enough rest and has enough time to destress by doing other things that interest him/her such as watching TV, spending time with friends or playing his/her favourite sports. This teaches your child about goal-setting and achievement while taking care of his/her emotional and physical growth and well-being to avoid getting a burnout.

 

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Kick Start Your Child’s PSLE Preparation with MindChamps Enrichment Programmes

Apart from helping your child start his/her study plans for PSLE early with the suggested actions discussed above, you can take this a step further by enrolling him/her for the following MindChamps Enrichment programmes:

Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System (For P1 & P2)

psle preparation in p5

Let your child benefit from MindChamps’ proprietary Professor Snyder’s Thinking Cap Learning System that meets and goes beyond the latest requirements in the MOE curriculum. This programme empowers your children with effective learning and thinking skills to help them excel in school, and fosters emotional resilience and effective communication skills in them. The combination of all these skills will greatly benefit him/her during the learning journey in primary and secondary school, as well as upon moving on to tertiary studies and beyond.

Primary 5 Success™/PSLE Success™

psle preparation in p5

MindChamps’ Primary 5 Success™ and PSLE Success™ programme is developed with the specific purpose of equipping your child with proven strategies to excel in his/her PSLE English, Maths, Science and Chinese exams with confidence. In line with MOE’s syllabus, the programme features the proprietary OPTIMAL FLOW METHOD™, a special ‘brain-friendly’ approach to learning the curriculum where students learn to actively understand and recall concepts effectively. This method has been found to be more effective compared to when subjects are taught separately and students struggle with joining the pieces into a coherent whole.

Ask us about our “100% Money Back Guarantee” terms when you enrol your child in the Primary 5 Success/PSLE Success by August 2016!

 

Find out more about the programmes and enjoy great savings when you enrol your child by 30 June 2016!

(Be sure to indicate “MC BLOG” under Other Sources upon filling out your details)

8 Benefits of Teaching Your Child to Read and Write Early

teach your child to read and write early

Children start learning about language from the moment they are born. As they grow up, their speech and language skills become more complex as they learn to understand and use language to bring across their ideas, thoughts, and feelings, as well as to communicate their needs to others.

During this stage of early speech and language development, children pick up skills that set the stage for literacy development. Giving your child an early head start in reading and writing comes with a host of benefits, and studies have found that working on one area (reading) leads the development of the other (writing).

Here are 8 ways your child will benefit from learning to read and write during the early years:

1. Reading helps your child’s brain to keep growing

During the first six years, the speed of your child’s learning development is at its fastest compared to at any other time in their lives. Vital connections in the brain are formed very early in life and a healthy baby is born with approximately 200 billion active brain cells (also known as neurons). With the right kind of stimulation, each of these brain cells is capable of developing up to 20,000 connections – a direct result of stimulation your child receives through early experiences. All these connections eventually form the basis of all future learning.

As you read to your child, existing links among brain cells are strengthened and new links are formed. When your child learns to read independently, the process of learning is greatly influenced by the functioning and development of the brain as a whole. You can help him/her along in this journey by encouraging the efforts put in and instilling a lifelong love of learning and reading.

2. Early reading leads the way to academic success

Reading has the power to inspire a love of learning in your child which will eventually lead him/her towards early academic success.

Studies have shown that strong oral language skills form a strong foundation for literacy development. When children learn to read at a young age, they have greater knowledge of things around them and their vocabulary keeps growing which helps them to become more fluent readers.

Early readers have the ability to recognise a larger collection of words by sight, and this enables them to learn more from and about their environment. As they grow up, early readers also become competent researchers who are able to study effectively and extract relevant information from various sources of information such as books and websites. Longitudinal studies have shown that early readers continue to get better results than their peers in school, which leads to a love for learning within them, for life.

3. Early reading sparks your child’s curiosity and imagination

When your child reads from a young age, it ignites his/her curiosity and imagination. You can use interesting illustrations and word patterns to get your child talking about what he/she is seeing and thinking, and help him/her understand the patterns of language. Reading also sparks your children’s curiosity about people, places and things around them, and gives them the answers through explanations of how things work.

Reading promotes maturity and higher order thinking skills in your child. When you explore stories together with your child, he/she learns the difference between what’s “real” and “make-believe”. Over time, this will help him/her develop his/her own ideas which inspire creativity – a tool which could come in handy in the future for problem-solving.

4. Early reading boosts your child’s confidence

When your child starts reading as a baby or toddler, he/she is unlikely to succumb to peer and psychological pressures than if he/she were to pick up this skill later on.

As your child has yet to start school, you will have the flexibility to teach him/her to read a few pages each day in a relaxed mode. Because there is no rush, you can stop before he/she gets tired. Through this, you are building the love of reading in your child from the start, and the both of you can treat reading time as an exciting adventure, rather than a drilling process. Over time, your child will gain confidence in reading, especially when he/she is able to catch up and participate in reading activities in school.

 

How does your child’s early reading efforts pave the way towards writing success? Find out more on the next page.

6 Effective Ways to Compliment and Motivate Your Child

how to compliment and motivate your child

What parent doesn’t love to praise his or her children? When a child does something praise-worthy, from accomplishing a difficult math problem to creating a piece of art, a proud parent can’t help but be enthusiastic.

Yet, parents should be wary of over-the-top, glowing praise that focuses on stroking a child’s ego. Over time, hollow phrases like “Good job” become white noise, either not heard or ignored by your child.

how to compliment and motivate your child

Here are 6 specific ways to constructively compliment children:

1. Encourage

Encouragement is effective because it:

a) Allows you to select a characteristic or behaviour you want to develop or foster in a positive and constructive way

b) Lets you call attention to their process

You support the process and help build your child’s confidence. When she comes home with a poor grade on a test, you might say: “I like the effort you put into studying. Maybe a bit more next time, you think?”

You are complimenting the process, not the outcome. You are making her responsible.

2. Mirror

If you are consistently responsive, your child is more likely to be confident. It can be a trick on a skateboard, a gymnastic feat, a piano piece mastered or almost mastered, a tennis match won or almost won. Let her know that you see her and recognize her accomplishments, large and small.

Ask to see her collection of dolls, or rocks, or something similar. Observe and talk about how orderly it is, how well she’s protecting it. Or ask, “Where did you find all these things?”

Your undivided attention is worth more than platitudes shouted from another room. Showing an interest in what’s he’s interested packs more of a punch than simply saying, “What a fabulous collection.” It positions your child as an expert — what a confidence boost!

3. Listen

Most of us are overscheduled and distracted, often too distracted to give children what they need. Acknowledge them and give them an honest assessment of what they’re doing. Take time to listen and make sure your children know you’re listening. Listen to complaints and be empathetic. Don’t immediately take your child’s or the teacher’s side, for instance. Hear his point of view.

Allowing your child to explain tells him you value his point of view and observations. Being heard is a powerful motivator.

4. Reward

Focus on the direction your child is moving in. You might say: “You improved so much since your last report card. Aren’t you proud of yourself? You should be.” When your child is memorizing a poem or words for a spelling test, you might say: “You almost had it. You’ll get it.”

And when your child succeeds (a grade improvement or a sports milestone, for example), you might say: “You got an A! You just proved to yourself that you should never give up.”

You are teaching your child to internalize her abilities and to eventually be able to evaluate herself accurately.

5. Reinforce

You might say: “I like the song you sang for grandma and grandpa. Would you sing it for me now?” Or, you might ask your child to retell a joke or ask for instruction: “The dog seems to respond so well to your training. Show me how you get him to do that, please.”

Reliving bright moments reminds children of their “strong suits”. You are telling your child she has something worthwhile to offer and share with you. Showing a genuine interest allows a child to relive accomplishments, and this kind of response can cultivate diligence and determination.

6. Question

You might say: “How did you choose the colours for that picture? What did you use to make those lines? It’s so unusual, interesting, real, pretty, cheerful…”

You’re asking about the process, making your child think about how he created his work or tackled a project and what he might do next time.

When you combine these techniques and use them regularly, you put your child on a direct, merited path toward self-confidence. Isn’t that what compliments are for in the first place?

 

Suggested Reading: 5 Lessons Kids Can Learn from Losing

 

Republished with permission from Dr Susan Newman, social psychologist, parenting expert and best-selling author.