Singapore's Leading Reading Programme (3 to 7 Years Old)
Learning to read and write are two essential skills in which we need to be proficient. Our entire education needs to show how we are skilled and confident readers and writers. Research shows that young children who attend enrichment experiences beyond regular school will advance beyond peers, staying ahead through school (Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff).
Once the foundation for reading is established, the ability to write well naturally follows. There are hundreds of reading and writing programmes in the market, but what sets MindChamps apart from the rest? In life, we say it is not what you know but who you know that gets you ahead. In education we say it is not what you do, but how you do it that makes all the difference. So essentially, ‘how’ do we do it?
1. Our experts
MindChamps Reading is the brainchild of the expert team led by Brian Caswell. Brian has 40 years of success in education and literacy, being a renowned authority in developing learning, literacy and creativity programmes globally.
A highly respected author, Brian has written over 300 books including The Art of Communicating with Your Child and The 3-Mind Revolution.
2. The essential components in making your child a confident reader
- Generating interest and desire to read
We get your child excited about reading by motivating them. Fluency is the key here, for the more you read, the better you become at it.
- Clear phonics instruction
We break language down into parts with our formulated Integrated Phonics approach.
In Phonics we teach word sounds, blending graphemes and phonemes within the body of text, because this has been proven to be the most effective way to master language.
For example, we put graphemes like f into fun, the ph in phantom, and the gh in laugh.
Be wary of any programme that teaches Phonics in isolation – they simply teach children to make sounds, but the children will have no idea what they are reading.
“Phonics is an important part of any balanced reading programme – but it is only one part. It is necessary, but not sufficient! Children need to be reading and writing, to be read to, and to be taught how to comprehend what they read. A balanced reading programme has some of all the necessary components that turn children into avid, thoughtful readers and writers.” Cunningham (2009)
- Listening and reading comprehension
Our students don’t just ‘bark at the text’ – they gain real meaning through written and oral comprehension techniques from what they read.
What is more, they can tell you about it.
“Meaning comes from children’s life experiences. Meaning is represented in their memories and in the language they use to talk about that meaning. This means that reading has to ‘make sense’. As Holdaway (1979) says, if children have heard stories read aloud, they have formed high expectations of written language. They expect it to make sense and they expect to be intrigued by the aspect of the text.” Fountas & Pinnell (1996)
- Balancing core skills and meaning making
We balance language-learning with the focus on the meaning of the text we read. Some programmes focus exclusively on phonics and produce students who can read words but don’t understand them. Other programmes focus too much on the information that they forget to teach the child basic skills.
“The opposite of learning within context is learning meaningless, disembodied facts. The motivation for this type of learning becomes pleasing for the parent or teacher. The children who have to memorise and perform are [learning for the sake of it], than actually loving to learn. Children want to please you. They will try to do as you ask. And they will try to act excited about an activity if you think it is important. But a deeper, more lasting education will ensue if they have a context in which to place the newly acquired information. Learning within context is real, authentic learning.” Hirsh-Pasek & Michnic Golinkoff (2003)
- Regular feedback
We have an intricate feedback system obtained through literacy assessments at the beginning and end of each programme, on a weekly basis. As a result, students and their parents know how well each student is progressing. This empowers our students, and motivates them to achieve more.
“Carefully recorded observations… of individual children… can lead us to modify our instruction to meet learning needs in the formative stages of learning.” Clay (2005)
- Linking classroom to home
We encourage our students to practise their skills at home, through our one-of-the-kind E-stories, an agile tool in advancing the child through literacy. To complete the programme, our parents attend a workshop to learn the best strategies to support their child’s reading at home.
“Home and family involvement enhances work in the classroom and helps children use their literacy learning in different contexts.” Fountas & Pinnell (1996)
“If every parent understood the huge educational benefits and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to their children, and if every parent – and every adult caring for a child – read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could possibly wipe out illiteracy within one generation.” (Fox 2001)
Developed after years of extensive research and development, MindChamps Reading & Writing establishes the love for reading and writing in the early years. It engages both your child’s emotions and intellect, providing your child with essential learning tools to develop their literacy skills for an edge in primary school and beyond in work and life.
Experts worldwide agree that reading is a process involving a number of key skills – with proficiency in phonics being just one. MindChamps Reading & Writing develops in your child the following eight essential skills:
- 1) Engagement
Actively engage your child to develop the love for reading and writing
If your child is actively engaged, he/she will enjoy the process of reading. This leads to the ability to read aloud with rich expression. If your child loves reading, he/she will, as a natural progression, love writing. Writing is more than just penmanship – it is about thinking, feeling and connection with the written world.
- 2) Active Understanding
Develop your child’s active understanding for effective learning
It is your child’s ability to actively understand and interact with words in all four areas of language: reading, writing, speaking and listening. This ability supports the development of his/her analytical and Higher Order Thinking Skills.
- 3) Narrative Intelligence & Higher Order Thinking Skills
Nurture your child’s logical thinking and intelligence
Narrative Intelligence is making sense logically through sequential understanding and unique ways to ask the right questions and generate innovative answers. MindChamps Reading & Writing builds your child’s Narrative Intelligence via Immersive Reading and Theatrical Strategies to develop Higher Order Thinking Skills. Theatrical strategies make words come alive and thus create ‘interaction’ with written content and knowledge.
- 4) Phonemic Awareness
Teach your child to hear sounds in context for future mastery of the language
Phonemic Awareness is the ability to ‘hear’ and manipulate the individual sounds of the language – your child needs to hear these sounds in meaningful contexts, otherwise mastery will be difficult. Through meaningful reading activities, your child will become aware of words as individual entities. Also, he/she will have a sense of sounds and words while writing.
- 5) Phonics
Help your child connect sounds to symbols with the unique MindChamps ‘Say & Sing Phonics’
Phonics, sounds or their transcription in written symbols, is important for a balanced reading programme but it is only one part. Here at MindChamps Reading & Writing, we have developed a hybrid approach to cater to different learning styles. Our unique ‘Say & Sing Phonics’ method helps your child connect between symbols and sounds (phonics) through meaningful experiences.
For example, the hybrid approach boasts visual E-books with enlarged print, while auditory learners listen to audio and songs played through our E-books.
Kinesthetic/Tactile students learn through physical sensation, through feeling and touching mystery bag objects pertaining to letter sounds, while digital, logical/analytical thinking methods use reason to provide answers.
- 6) Fluency
Familiarise your child with the natural flow of the language
Fluency is the ability to understand – and use – the natural flow and rhythm of the language. Children, especially those whose mother tongue is not English, need to hear and model good readers. Through engaging experiences, your child will be able to reach fluency and gain a steady momentum.
- 7) Vocabulary-building
Build your child’s vocabulary through MindChamps’ extensive reading library
Vocabulary and having a vast number of words at one’s disposal – are vital attributes of the life-long reader. With the books available in MindChamps’ extensive Read-along Library, your child will learn vocabulary through stories and rhymes, etc. making vocab easy and fun to master.
- 8) Structural Awareness
Cultivate your child’s understanding of how language is constructed
Structural Awareness is intuition in recognising how words in a sentence ‘fit together’. Through sharing conversations, stories, poems, songs and ideas verbally, your child will progressively assimilate how language is constructed, relating them to prior knowledge of what he/she has read.
Download the MindChamps Read-Along App
Develop your child’s reading skills and more with an exclusive collection of eLearning Books in this story time app. With this app, you can:
- Customise your child’s library of online books based on his/her literacy level
- Test your child’s level of comprehension after each story with simple guided questions
- Improve your child’s memory with simple memory games
- Entertain your child with the built-in colouring activities
- Choose to listen to the narrator or record your own narration so that your child can listen to it even when you are not around