The Love of Reading
Reading in the early years is so important. It goes without saying that developing a love of reading in children from an early age will prove so useful in their later life. In fact, enjoying books and reading stories from a very early age are crucial in the development of a child. Not only does reading help with their ability to understand words, but it encourages them to develop their imagination skills – to see things and imagine things all by themselves – and to develop their speech. Reading also improves concentration and introduces children to new concepts and the world around them.
The Early Years
From the first few months of a child's life, language takes hold through experimentation. Facial expressions are read, and children begin to associate the sound with the frequently used words. Visual cues, pictures and their association with sounds start to develop. It may not be letters on a page at this stage, but it is the first signs of reading.
Kindergarten and Beyond
As they progress to phonics, children start to process letters, converting them into sounds and then finally turning them into meaning. Play-based learning further hones their skills in both informal and formal ways. A core goal in language acquisition and development is exposure to concepts through pictures and text.
Reading out loud to children through stories, rhymes and songs, has a significant impact on learning and is one of the best ways to build understanding and the skills needed for reading. Having access to a progressive reading programme is paramount in developing and evaluating language over time.
The Nest uses Core Books that are linked to the themes the children learn about through the year. These books support the learning for the children, and they become very familiar with them. Embedding a rich language is essential for Tianjin bilingual nursery and we use high-quality texts in English and Mandarin to provide this rich language.
The Oxford Reading Tree is one of the reading schemes used by the College, both in the Nest and Junior school. The books include characters such as Biff, Chip and Kipper and progresses from pictures to higher-level reading in the later books. The younger children also access other books that support their early phonics. Children learn to read, so they can read to learn as they get older. This is a lifelong skill, crucial to developing the best study skills.
For our younger children in the Tianjin bilingual nursery, we also use traditional stories, not only through pictures and text but through puppetry. Bringing stories to life through storytelling and a multisensory approach help to embed story language. When you can talk a story, you can write a story!
Through books, children are encouraged to explore subjects they are interested in. By attending library programmes regularly, children can develop the skills of listening, asking questions, taking turns, following instructions, and other very important social skills. We do everything we can to support and develop a child's love of reading.
As a part of the Wellington College Bilingual Nursery curriculum, all our Nest children are encouraged to borrow books each week from the Nest library. The Tianjin bilingual nursery library is the home of reading for pleasure and study as well as the centre of quality information. The librarian works collaboratively with the teachers to support the curriculum with both fiction and non-fiction titles and to develop reading skills and information literacy skills across the Nest.