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Reading news articles with your preschoolers

To help with the learning of language and literacy, it’s never too early to start reading to young children. When reading to infants, we could also choose to read news or magazine articles instead of reading off storybooks for children because at this stage, the content of the story is not the focus. Their focus is on following the tone of your voice and taking in the sound of the words as their eyes start to follow the words on the reading material.

However, as they reach the nursery to preschool age, keeping up with the local news is something that we can start to introduce to them, this time with more focus on the content. There may not be a newspaper magazine made solely for children (especially for children at preschool) therefore we may need to use articles directly from newspapers that are provided for adults. The words and phrasing used in such articles may not be easy for preschoolers to understand, therefore, it is good to find something that at least has an interesting content that would perk their interest.

This would make reading these articles more relevant to them and hence they would also like to learn more about it. While most preschoolers may not be able to read such articles on their own, even for those who can read some words on their own, an adult helping to interpret and explain the words where necessary would be required to assist them. At their young age, starting with just one article may be sufficient too.

The most direct benefit of reading news articles to preschoolers is the exposure of the multitude of words and the professional phrasing of the English language. In the context where parents talk to preschoolers at home or when adults are talking among friends, we tend to use a very casual and local form of the English language.

This colloquial form of speaking is how most toddlers and preschoolers pick up, as they are constantly exposed to it by the adults around them and it is different from how the English language is being used in a professional setting when we look at a newspaper article. In fictional story books, the tone and the setting of the stories may also alter the way the language is used and it will also be different from the way that newspaper articles are written.

Therefore, when reading newspaper articles, children are exposed to the language in its most professional and proper manner. The words that can be found in newspaper articles may also probably be different from those that they can find in their story books due to the difference in content as the content of what they read through newspaper articles are real life and happening in real-time.

That said, some story books for preschoolers can also reflect real life situations that are familiar to preschoolers as these stories are written so that preschoolers can find it relatable to their lives and they often carry an underlying message or moral of the story to be relayed to them. Discussing real life situations in real-time helps children understand more about the world beyond what they see and experience on a day to day basis and helps to broaden their mind in terms of perspectives too.

When the content of these articles is something that preschoolers find interesting or are built upon their existing interests, they will also want to find out more about it by searching and reading up other materials on it. Therefore, this will increase their interest in reading more and help to deepen their interest in a certain topic.

As mentioned previously, it is likely that preschoolers will not be able to read the articles on their own due to the words used. Therefore, reading newspaper articles may be more of a listening activity for children instead. Listening is one of the first of the four language and literary skills that toddlers and preschoolers pick up. Yet at the same time, it may be one of the least used skills as we grow older.

Therefore, reading news articles provide a different platform that allows adults to read to children, therefore letting preschoolers use more of their listening skills. The constant exposure to the sounds of words when adults read different types of words will help them to understand the phonetics of words better, making it easier to spell and make out words in future. As preschoolers start to learn how to read the words, you can let them take the initiative of trying to read parts of the articles or short captions and be the ones listening to them read the article instead.

Like story books, pictures are also attached with the news articles, so similar activities can take place, albeit with more real life pictures and stories. The pictures found with news articles are very much different from those that they would see in their story books and there may not be an obvious flow in the pictures. It is therefore a different sort of activity to do when we let the children guess what the article is about or let them tell you a story based on the attached picture before going into the actual content and reading the article to them.

After reading an article, you can ask them to share how they feel or what they think about the matter on hand. This helps them to form their own opinions on these current affairs.

Reading news articles with preschoolers is also a good way to help our children start the habit of reading the newspaper and keeping up with affairs that take place beyond their immediate situation and community. Starting this habit young will help children to get into the motion of reading them on their own in future.

It also helps them to understand how big the human community is and exposes them to current affairs and world issues that they may not know of because they are unable to see them within their current environment.

What matters most to parents? Our most-read articles:

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Genesis Childcare 1989 (Playgroup to Kindergarten 2)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 S(520433)

Nurture Infant House (2 to 18 months Infants)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 S(520433)

Opening hours: Monday to Friday (7am to 7pm) & Saturday (7am to 2pm)

Public Bus services: 8 / 21 / 28 / 29 / 293



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