At The Reading Foundation, we believe in connecting with parents in the community to share their stories and advice about how to make reading and literacy part of your family’s routine. In this instalment of the blog, we’ll be featuring Monica Hui, who runs the DIY and lifestyle blog Wishahmon and is a mother to three-year-old Grace.
Monica Hui admits she wasn’t a reader as a child—she didn’t particularly enjoy it unless it was required at school, and her parents weren’t able to read well to her in English—but as she got older, she began to recognize the benefits of reading for enjoyment.
By the time her daughter, Grace, arrived three years ago, Monica was feeling the disadvantages that accompanied a disinterest in reading. She’d stocked up on children’s books like Curious George prior to Grace’s birth—books she hadn’t read as a child—and decided she would read to her daughter from the very beginning as well as develop a consistent reading routine with her. As Grace learned to talk, Monica encouraged her to remember words and tell the stories they read together on her own.
“I started off reading to her because I was bored, and afterwards I thought, ‘I’ll just start reading the same books to her and let her tell me the story,’” Monica explains. “And now, I read her The Kindest Giant in Town, and the last page has 20-some words and she’s able to—I’m going to say from memory—say that entire page. I don’t think she’s reading it, but she’s retaining something.”
Introducing reading to Grace from an early age means that she now takes the initiative to select books from her library—colour-coded by Monica to make it more appealing and easier to navigate—and recite the stories to herself.
“I think, right now, the greatest accomplishment is she is able to go into her library, sit down with a book and entertain herself—and enjoy it,” Monica says.
Grace’s library is located in Monica’s office, but she ensures there are books elsewhere in the house, whether it’s bedtime stories within reach in her bedroom or even in the bathroom for potty-training sessions. Grace’s love of books only continues to grow, and Monica notes that she often asks for a book as soon as she wakes up in the morning.
“Some of the books I read to her when she was six months, I’m starting to bring back into rotation,” says Monica, who currently has 20 to 30 books in rotation for Grace. “I’m like, well, I read these books to her on repeat quite a bit and I want to see if she’s able to read through them. Now I’m encouraging her to read, and I’m pointing out all the words.”
In addition to learning how to tell the story and recognize words, Monica prompts Grace to explain why certain situations are happening in the story to ensure she understands the logic behind what she’s taking in.
“I want to encourage parents to read—whatever you can, whenever you can,” Monica says. “Whenever we go to the doctor’s office, for example, I always have an iPad in my purse—just in case—but sometimes she goes, ‘I want to bring this book. And I go, OK, we’ll read a book there, out loud in front of everybody.’ I just really want parents to start reading with their kids. I know everybody’s busy, but it’s totally worth it.”
To learn more about how Monica made reading part of Grace’s routine, visit her blog.
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