What kind of books is your child reading?

Posted on January 06, 2013 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

Recently, we have seen a significant rise in the popularity of character books for children. Books from the Disney Princesses, Thomas The Train, Dora The Explorer, Barbie...You name a well-known children's TV show/movie or toy series and you're likely to find its equivalent in a book format. Whether it's activity books, sticker books, story books or even music/sound books. 


At My Imagination Kingdom, we're huge fans of Walt Disney. He has, after all built a legacy by creating well-loved stories that draw on people's imagination. But yet, we wonder what he might say if he realises that the home libraries of children today are filled with "book adaptations" (from Disney no less) like the examples we have listed above. 


"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates' loot on Treasure Island. And best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life." - Walt Disney


Walt Disney said this, at a time when "book adaptations" were not even invented. As a book lover, he believed that the knowledge and inspiration that books can bring, far exceeds the tangible monetary rewards you could ever receive from other sources. But to fully extricate this value from books, we need to remind ourselves that not all books can serve the same purpose.


Character books, while they're easy to consume for children who have already been exposed to them on TV, are unlikely to do much in helping to widen children's horizons. They merely leverage on the content that has already been written for TV or the big screen. From these content providers' point-of-view, the "book adaptations" are to extend the shelf life of the characters that they have developed in order to ensure that they can continue to reap profits from the original format (e.g. the TV series or toy merchandise). They were not written with the foremost objective of helping children gain literacy, stretch their imagination or be inspired to read more. 


So while it's great to stimulate children who may be uninterested in books or reading with these character books at the beginning, it's important that we slowly wean children off these "book adaptations" as time passes. If not, children may never learn to appreciate books in their simplest and purest form. Books that were not based on anything else except the author's passion to tell a story. 

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How does bedtime reading make a difference to your child?

Posted on August 28, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

A little something different today. Instead of a blog entry, we thought we'd post a video. In the video, Dorothy Thomas, the editor of Bounty.com, a parenting website in the UK shares some of the research they did about bedtime reading and the importance of it. 


"Reading to little ones actually helps them to learn to concentrate and listen. Those two skills are some of the most valuable ones that they can take to the classroom with them. A child that hasn't been read to when they're tiny, finds it much more difficult to concentrate when they get into reception class, and they start losing out."

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Why should I read to my child?

Posted on August 22, 2012 by My Imagination Kingdom | 0 comments

In a classic study, William Condon and Louis Sander (1974) filmed newborn infants listening to various sounds. A frame-by-frame analysis of the films showed something astonishing: infants move their arms and legs to the rhythms of human speech. Random noise, rhythmic tapping, or disconnected vowel sounds will not produce a "language dance". Only natural speech has this effect...an infant's "language dance" reflects a readiness to interact socially with parents, not innate language recognition.

- Credit: Introduction to Psychology, Dennis Coon & John O. Mitterer

From birth, children are built to yearn interactions with their parents. And these interactions are meant to set the stage for language-learning. The more children interact with parents, the faster they learn to talk and the faster they learn thinking abilities (Hart & Risley, 1999). 

It is no wonder then that reading to children from a young age contributes positively to the early learning stages of a child. And research has shown that this has long-term benefits for the child. A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) found that children whose parents frequently read with them in their first year of school were six months ahead in reading levels at the age of 15. The report says that parents did not have to be particularly well-educated themselves for this impact to be achieved.What was important was that parents read books regularly with their children - such as several times a week - and that they talked about what they were reading together.

So, the more often you read to your child, the more likely it will help them pick up speaking earlier. And with the benefits lasting all the way till their teenage years, there's no reason not to make reading to your child a family habit! Start today, even if it's for 5 minutes before bed!

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