Saturday, July 5, 2008

Little readers

During our parent teacher conference with Marcus' teachers 2 weeks ago, both the English and Chinese teachers told us how excellent Marcus' memory is for a child his age. For kids his age, they would usually be exposed to 3-letters word in school, before progressing to 4-letters and those with 2 syllabuses by age 4 to 5. But Marcus can already read very long words and even those up to 5 syllabuses. He tries to read new words with ease and confidence and if stumbled, he only needs assistance once or twice and can remember it easily. It can be a challenge to maintain his interest when they teach phonics and word blending, as he usually just read the word instead of trying phonetically. We were told that Marcus takes only a few minutes to read packs of 20 word cards when others may take up to 20 minutes. Now he is already picking up books in the library corner and reading the whole book himself. An activity which only the older 5-6 y.o. are doing. So of course we are very proud of the little boy's ability and confidence.

The Chinese teacher said similar stuff about the boy's memory and ability to interpret and understand her spoken Mandarin. He seems to understand a lot more than what he is willing to express in Mandarin and when shown Chinese word cards, he is able to match words to pictures with ease and point out the correct pictures if asked in Mandarin. Right now, he is working with teacher on lots of nouns and just strengthening his Chinese vocabulary. At home, I manage to sustain his interest with plenty of chinese story books and after just reading a few times to him, he is now able to read quite a few books on his own. I do wonder if he is looking at the hanyu pinyin, so I shall test him by writing the words out on paper to see if he can read them.

Just the other day, he read the word "Minneapolis" to E when they were reading a book together which resulted in E's exclaiming excitedly to me. The little boy had a proud smile on his face when I peeped in the room. And yesterday, he read some of the books he picked up from the library and without any guide, he read "extraordinary" to me. My jaw dropped and he laughed.

Even little Nicholas is now attempting to read a wide array of books. His current favourite is Little Cloud by Eric Carle, Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose by Julia Donaldson, The Duck Quacks, The Very Hungry Caterpillar also by EC, amongst a few others. He is already reading some of the words excitedly, so there is definitely some great potential in that little tot too.

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