Make reading fun for your children!

Assalamualaikum dear parents,

What are the most common problems we face with our children when it comes to reading? You might hear them saying…
“Ummi, I don’t know how to sound out these words.” OR
“I know my letters and sounds, but I just can’t read words on a page, ayah.”
You may also notice that his reading is very slow because he spends so much time figuring out words or that she is unable to understand much about what she is reading because she is focused on trying to sound out the words.
Well, this is where phonics comes in.

Phonics helps our children learn the letter-sound relationships. Meaning, when they look at a certain word, they are able to associate each letter of that word to its sound, hence, a sound comes our from their mouth, and wallah! Your child is now pronouncing the word.

Phonics also helps them to correctly pronounce written words. There are many ways one can intemperate how a word sounds but with phonics, those words are easily recognised and pronounced accurately.
From my experience, this will easily help a child win a spelling bee competition!
With that, we can definitely say that phonics gives children the ability to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven’t seen before. And that makes your child a reader!
  1. Don’t study grammar too much

This rule might sound strange to many English as a Second Language (ESL) students, but it is one of the most important rules. If you want to pass examinations, then study grammar. However, if you want to become fluent in English, then you should try to learn English without studying the grammar.

Studying grammar will only slow you down and confuse you.
I often ask my native English friends some grammar questions, and only a few of them know the correct answer. However, they are fluent in English and can read, speak, listen, and communicate effectively.

  1. Learn and study phrases

Many students learn vocabulary and try to put many words together to create a proper sentence but unable to create a proper sentence. The reason is because they didn’t study phrases. When children learn a language, they learn both words and phrases together. Likewise, you need to study and learn phrases.

If you know 1000 words, you might not be able to say one correct sentence. But if you know 1 phrase, you can make hundreds of correct sentences. If you know 100 phrases, you will be surprised at how many correct sentences you will be able to say. Finally, when you know only a 1000 phrases, you will be almost a fluent English speaker. .

Don’t translate 

When you want to create an English sentence, do not translate the words from your Mother tongue. The order of words is probably completely different and you will be both slow and incorrect by doing this. Instead, learn phrases and sentences so you don’t have to think about the words you are saying. It should be automatic.

Another problem with translating is that you will be trying to incorporate grammar rules that you have learned. Translating and thinking about the grammar to create English sentences is incorrect and should be avoided.

  1. Reading and Listening is NOT enough. Practice Speaking what you hear!

Reading, listening, and speaking are the most important aspects of any language. The same is true for English. However, speaking is the only requirement to be fluent. It is normal for babies and children to learn speaking first, become fluent, then start reading, then writing. So the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing.

First Problem
Isn’t it strange that schools across the world teach reading first, then writing, then listening, and finally speaking learn it. So even though the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing, the order for ESL students is reading, listening, speaking, then writing.

Second Problem
The reason many people can read and listen is because that’s all they practice. But in order to speak English fluently, you need to practice speaking. Don’t stop at the listening portion, and when you study, don’t just listen. Speak out loud the material you are listening to and practice what you hear. Practice speaking out loud until your mouth and brain can do it without any effort. By doing so, you will be able to speak English fluently.

  1. Submerge yourself


Being able to speak a language is not related to how smart you are. Anyone can learn how to speak any language. This is a proven fact by everyone in the world. Everyone can speak at least one language. Whether you are intelligent, or lacking some brain power, you are able to speak one language.

This was achieved by being around that language at all times. In your country, you hear and speak your language constantly. You will notice that many people who are good English speakers are the ones who studied in an English speaking school. They can speak English not because they went to an English speaking school, but because they had an environment where they can be around English speaking people constantly.

There are also some people who study abroad and learn very little. That is because they went to an English speaking school, but found friends from their own country and didn’t practice English.

You don’t have to go anywhere to become a fluent English speaker. You only need to surround yourself with English. You can do this by making rules with your existing friends that you will only speak English. Submerge yourself in English and you will learn several times faster. Insyallah!

May Allah swt accept all of of our efforts.

Sometimes we think we know enough, we know it all. Sometimes we may think there is nothing left to learn. But with our increasing age, do we truly know the simple fundamentals of Islam? Watch this video below and image if the malaikah came down in front of you and asked these simple questions… will you have the answers? If your child had asked you these questions, could you answer him or her? If your life depended upon you answering these questions correctly, will you survive?

Truly, this video sends out a powerful message to us all. If this didn’t move your hearts or bring tears to your eyes… I’m not sure what will.

Let’s reflect back on what we can do better, what we can improve for tomorrow… all for the sake of our children.

The future of Islam begins with the Youth. A child who is brought up with strong knowledge of what makes him a Muslim, what pillars is he holding strong onto as his guide and who his true role model is will insyallah, be a good Muslim throughout his life and continue a legacy of Muslims we can all be proud of.

In this day and age, the knowledge of Islam is literally at your fingertips.

What are you doing about it?

I often hear people asking, why is reading important? Well, it is important for far too many reasons. But here's a few i would like to highlight for the benefit of our children.

Firstly, reading is important because it develops the mind. The mind is a muscle and like every other muscle in the body, it needs exercise. Understanding the written word is one way the mind grows in its ability. Teaching young children to read helps them develop their language skills. It also helps them learn to listen.
Secondly, reading is also one of the ways we discover new things. The tools are endless in this day and age as we have not only books, but magazines, newspaper, billboards and even the Internet to explore with. A child who knows how to read can easily be educated in any area of life interests.

Thirdly, reading develops the imagination which is essential for growing children. TV and computer games have their place, but they are more like amusement. Amusement is non-thinking activities. With reading, a person can go anywhere in the world...or even out of it! They can be an adventurer, or even a dinosaur. The possibilities are endless. Non-readers never experience these joys to the same extent.

I could go on and on but let me just end here for today with the old saying, "The pen is mightier than the sword". Not only has it helped us spread Islam better over the century, it has also helped us develop nations and a better living. Insyallah, in my next post perhaps i will share an Islamic though about reading.

Here's a peek at what went on in Kelantan over the weekend 🙂

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