Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Enjoy reading

I watched the movements of his eyeballs as he read a chapter book. I hounded him with queries like 'Are you reading? Word for word?'. I wanted him to read every word printed on the book and not skip or just browse through the pictures on the book. 

I came to this point because I realised every other book I gave him to read, he would complete it in a very short time. Once he finished reading a relatively thick book in 45 minutes. Although there were comic strips peppered across the book but there were also wordy chapters in that book. Still, to finish reading that book in 45 minutes to me, it's way too fast.

I get very suspicious whenever he tells me he has finished any book in such a short time. First thing that comes to my mind is that he didn't read but skip read or just browse through the limited animations. That's why I always question him, hound him like a criminal just to make sure he Really read the book. All of the time, he could very well summarize the book and tell me the ending. 

The next best thing I could do, I thought, was to watch his eyeballs as he read. If the eyeballs shift from side to side that means he is really reading. And at the same time, reminding him to read 'word for word!'. I think, but I can't quite confirm, he could be speed reading. 

But one day,  as I was about to hound  him again about reading word for word, I suddenly stopped myself. Something told me that the very essence of reading is to enjoy the book whether or not he skims through it or speed reads. What I was doing with the hounding and the eye hawking, I was in danger of killing his joy for reading. I told myself, so what if he speed reads? The boy is enjoying the book! Look at how he eagerly turns each page, the joyful expression on his face, chuckling to himself... he's clearly having loads of fun with the book! And I realised that's all that matters. Reading is all about enjoying the book. 

I think we have been told too many times by too many people about how we must make our children read to improve their English. We inadvertently become obsessed in forcing our kids to read and read and read all but for one purpose- to improve their vocabulary, grammar, comprehension and what nots which eventually improve their PSLE scores, we hope.  We have forgotten that reading is pleasurable, it's for leisure- anything more is added bonus. How short sighted we have become. 

Right now, I shall appreciate that Sonshine is enjoying reading. I LOVE to hear him chuckle and tickled to the bones when he reads a funny book. I LOVE how he shuts himself out from the outside world and dive deep into a book. I love to read purely for the enjoyment of it. I read not because I want to improve my English. Actually, I don't think reading help much in improving my English. I read but I don't concentrate much on the technicality of the language like grammar or vocabulary. I read to enjoy the plot. And I should let Sonshine do the same. Just read for leisure and pleasure.

I realise this should be the way for academic learning as well. The learning journey itself is actually very fun & interesting. But we become obsessed with the kids learning to get top PSLE scores that we rob them the joy of learning. Our ultimate goal shouldn't even be a degree certificate, it should be picking up skills & knowledge and enjoy doing what we do. We have limited life on this earth, why should we meaninglessly strive for paper and live miserably instead of living for enjoyment? 

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