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The Art Of Bouncing Back

Teaching a child to find strength to continue learning even though they may not feel motivated is teaching a child to be resilient. Digging deep and using that sense of resilience when the child has lost their momentum is teaching a child to bounce back and be better. A child with such a mindset is more likely to succeed than one who fails and gives up. In this post, I Can Read (ICR) would like to give you some insights on raising a resilient child.

“When it comes to building resilience, two very famous quotes come to mind – “Keep calm and carry on,” and “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” A positive approach ensures that any loss in confidence is turned around and we learn from our mistakes rather than dwell on them. After all, the point of education is not to purely highlight failure, but to take a lifelong path that leads to knowledge and success.”
- Samuel Bracking, Professional Development Executive

What is resilience and why can’t my child understand it?

Resilience is the ability to withstand difficulties and overcome it in spite of adversities. In experiencing setbacks, resilience is key to developing the necessary mental strength and willpower to get past obstacles.

For a child, this can be a very abstract concept to understand. Despite their young age, children face plenty of challenges in their everyday life, be it within or outside of the classroom. From academic setbacks and social expectations to bullies and peer pressure, each obstacle presents a possibility of failure and loss of self-esteem. 

In these circumstances, finding resilience will be crucial to help the child succeed in overcoming these challenges. Learning to use their inner tenacity and determination to overcome their personal challenges will be a hallmark of the resilience they cultivate.

How learning at I Can Read helps to cultivate resilience in your child

At ICR, we focus a lot on building up your child’s resilience. We take an active role in helping students overcome their weaknesses and insecurities by consistently acknowledging their efforts. 

Motivation and encouragement are our main methods of resilience building. Our systematic classroom approach allows students to practice and learn at their own pace, eventually gaining confidence in their own knowledge and experience.This helps them to work progressively towards attaining a higher standard of reading proficiency. 

When teaching our students in Pre-Reading Levels 1-3, we also gradually guide students to develop their skill sets individually to further improve their learning outcomes. By doing so, your child’s resilience can grow as they work to improve at every level to unlock their full potential. 

Encourage them to see mistakes as opportunities

At I Can Read, mistakes are never condemned but rather, seen as an opportunity to reflect and self-correct. By identifying past errors and applying the correct skills and techniques, students can gradually build up their confidence and unlock reading proficiency success. On top of helping your child to master reading skills, I Can Read classes also create a sense of independence within your child as they make weekly progress by learning from their past mistakes.

Appreciate their efforts regardless of the end result

Learning is a life-long process where mistakes are inevitable, and it’s important that students understand that rather than remaining fixated on the end results. As educators, we can guide them in overcoming challenges by sharing practical advice, tips and supporting them. This can be seen throughout our classes where our teachers make a mental note to praise students for their efforts and hard work to acknowledge the learning process and help them work towards their goals.

How you can help him/her develop resilience

One of the biggest challenges that your child may face in their early years is learning difficulties. However, you, as a parent, have the power to help them overcome it by being there for them when they need your support.

Starting from setting aside allocated time for their homework, a quick 30-minute practice and review everyday in itself can help to build resilience and discipline within your child. As with I Can Read’s teaching ethos, this period can be a time for your child to learn from past mistakes and correct it systematically. More importantly, it is crucial that you show appreciation for your child’s attempts at identifying errors and digesting new knowledge.

Simply by observing the patience and understanding that you possess through these accompanied homework exercises, your child can learn to understand and build resilience slowly.

That being said, inculcating resilience within your child is never easy, and can be overwhelming at times.


4 Books For Children Of All Ages That Are Perfect As Christmas Gifts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year once again! And there’s nothing children love more about this time of the year than getting their presents. 

And for many of our students who are bookworm converts, a good book might just be the ticket! 

The Team at I Can Read is often asked by parents which books are suitable for their children.
We have thought long and hard about this list, and our pics provide a sample of classic literature that our teachers highly appreciate and know your child will enjoy.

We've divided the books into age categories so you can be certain you are getting the most suitable book for your child. 

Remember: with the younger ones, reading should be a joint activity.
Engaging in the telling of the story with your child is a definite way for your child to enjoy the story and bond with you too. 

Don’t forget that discovering new ideas and discussing themes is sometimes just as important as the reading itself.
Making this a part of the reading routine with a child will better engage the child with the content of the story and deepen their joy of reading. 

So get started by checking out our list. Happy reading!

4-5 year olds 

In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

This book explores a range of emotions represented by different coloured hearts.

Through fun illustrations and its evocative text, the book helps young learners develop an understanding of how to describe the way they are feeling with more confidence and accuracy. Children are exposed to feelings such as happiness, sadness, bravery or anger in the book and learn to engage with such feelings and emotions. 

The use of similes and other literary writing techniques also gives this book a lyrical quality that will be a source of joy to read for you and your child.

6-7 year olds 

The Great Big Enormous Book of Tashi by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg
“Well, it was like this.” Every story of Tashi starts with this iconic line. Set in an imaginary world of Tashi, readers get to meet warlords, wicked barons, giants and other nasty beings. 

Addressing themes of courage, adventure and loyalty, Tashi always knows what to do and what to say. A calm character with a quick wit, Tashi is ready for action and moves fast. 

Have fun reading and embarking on the adventure in the world of Tashi in the series of books in one big volume!

8-9 year olds

Any book by Dick King - Smith

Introduce your child to the wonderful world of Dick King-Smith. A world of animals and their efforts to overcome their struggles by banding together and finding comfort in friendship and bonding. 

With over a hundred children’s books under his belt, Dick King-Smith has built a reputation for writing the most imaginative and enchanting books for kids. 

In fact, one of his greatest hits “The Sheep Pig” was adapted into the widely popular film Babe in 1995.

The movie became an instant hit worldwide because it was a heartwarming tale that resonated with not just the children, but all who watched the movie. Pick up a copy of the book for a great storytime session post-Christmas. 

10 – 11 year olds

Sherlock Sam by A.J. Low 

This detective series is set in our very own Singapore. Written by a husband and wife team, Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong won the International Schools Libraries Network’s Red Dot Award 2013-2014 in the Younger Readers’ Category. 

Reading these books provides a fun way to explore mysteries in your own backyard. The characters and settings are recognisable to children in Singapore and the adventures and cases are both riveting and exciting. The illustrations and stories will definitely intrigue and satisfy your child’s curiosity while engaging them for hours.


Back to School after the Holidays

The school break is over and it’s time to go back to school!

But, is your child ready for the term ahead?
After a long vacation, children can find it difficult to get back into the school routine.

Picking up on activities and routines such as waking up early, packing bags, preparing for classes and doing homework may cause unnecessary unhappiness.
Hence, it is crucial to get your child mentally and academically ready for the term ahead.  

Here are some tips from the I Can Read Team to help your child to ease into the transition back to the classroom and to help prepare them for the new school year. 

Approach it in the best way for your child

Although many parents make going back to school fun and relatable, some children still worry about the first day and the new term.
Not every child will relish the thought of going back to school. 

If this is the case, then keeping processes like counting down to the new school year, purchasing of books and even new sets of uniform can be done with less flair.  

Parents usually know their own child’s personality and will intrinsically understand whether speaking about returning to school is exciting for them or if it fills them with panic.
It’s better to get a sense of your child’s
mindset and hype them up for the new year positively in exciting ways to get them ready.

Keeping it positive and relatable should be the main approach in helping your child get back to school eagerly.

Get Organised

Before the school year starts, try to ensure you have everything your child will need for school.
School supplies, books, pencils and anything else that is required should be prepared in advance. 

This process should ideally be done with your child so as to prepare them for what is to come.
Allowing them to select some of the items for school like their stationery, their school bags and even their water bottles can also be a great way to bring them on board. 

Children usually love picking out new school supplies and it will help them get excited about going back to school and bringing things they chose for themselves. 

Talk About It

Starting in a new school, tuition centre or even moving up a class can be a big adjustment for your child.
Keep the lines of communication open and listening to your child will make life a lot easier for the both of you. 

Such conversations should be carried out to encourage your child to understand the changes the new year will bring to them, what they can expect and even what they will encounter in their new environment. 

Before classes start, talk to them and ask them how they are feeling.
Assuring them that the new year will be positive and enjoyable will help them to be more open to the experience. It will also allow them to discuss their uncertainties with you, which you can easily clarify and provide
assurance for. Remember: Communication is key.

Stay active

While school is naturally a more indoor and classroom centric environment, it is encouraged that parents attempt to balance your child’s school days with some form of physical activity.
Making exercise part of their daily schedule will help them release any pent-up emotions and thoughts they may have had for the day at school. 

Going to the park or riding a bike while getting the whole family involved are simple yet effective ways of helping your child feel more receptive and adapt better to the daily rigours of school. Staying active can help your child better focus better on homework and relieve any stresses they may have in a day.

Get Rest

Waking up early for school again can be difficult to adapt to, especially if they have enjoyed a long holiday of late movie nights and flexible sleeping hours over the holidays. 

Re-establishing a regular bedtime closer to the start of the school year can help your child realign themselves to the idea of returning to school while ensuring that they get sufficient rest to wake up refreshed in the morning. 

It’s widely encouraged that children get a minimum of 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep during the night to have them do better the next day. 

That’s all from us at I Can Read! We wish you and your child the best of luck and a hearty congratulations on starting another school year! 

If you are looking for a bit of a headstart in building a strong foundation in English, it’s never too early or late to start with us. Check out all our courses here, and we will see you next year!

4 Ways to Develop Positive Reinforcement at Home With Your Children

Positive Reinforcement at I Can Read 

As parents, we often hear about how sparing the rod may spoil the child, but in this day and age where corporal punishment is increasingly frowned upon, how should we teach our children to behave?

At I Can Read, we pride ourselves on encouraging our students to work hard and enjoy the benefits of their own hard work.

Our teachers use positive reinforcement with our students to reward them for working hard and trying their best. Essentially, this helps to motivate our little ones to strive for improvement.

In fact, we’re such proponents of this method that we’re going to share some tips on how you can replicate it at home.

1. Reward good behaviour

When we see our students performing positive behaviour, praise is immediately offered together with little rewards like stickers and chops.

This is typically followed by authentic and meaningful praise to tell them why they deserved it, and why such behaviour is expected and encouraged of our students.

Small words of encouragement and recognition help to reinforce these behaviours, which is why it’s important to reward the actions and behaviours you want to see more often.

2.Promoting good behaviour by becoming an example to follow

By praising actions like sitting well at the table, waiting for their turn attentively and participating proactively, a teacher helps students understand the classroom expectations so that they can adhere to them.

Such descriptive praise not only gives them affirmation, attention and confidence, but also raises awareness about behaviours that are socially well-received.

By seeing how other students are acknowledged for their good behaviour, other students will also model after them. Those who have consistently behaved well will also take pride in their actions and be motivated to continue leading by example.

3. Encourage students to help each other

When students make an effort to offer help to others, teachers also focus on such behaviour and offer praise to encourage such behaviour.

When students initially come into class feeling upset or have first day jitters,
we lead with positive acknowledgements of what is expected of them in class.

We praise them for simple actions like placing their bags in the right place, sitting in their seats nicely and participating during class activities.

We want them to feel connected to the classroom environment and giving them such positive acknowledgements will always make them feel a lot more at ease from the beginning.

Changes in behaviour can be encouraged by using praise and positive reinforcement techniques.

It's a way to get students to learn the rules and feel motivated in class.

4. Positive reinforcement in education

Positive reinforcement is also used to emphasise learning outcomes in our classes.

Starting from the Pre-Reading level, we provide students with the support and encouragement they need to build a strong foundation for their pronunciation and general skills.

Eliciting first, last and middle sounds, blending and segmenting skills and other general skills taught in class at the Pre-Reading levels is achieved when students understand what they are meant to do through prompt praise and encouragement.

When that has been established and the students have achieved the target skill, our heaps of praises can help them better to understand concepts and gain confidence achieve success at a better pace thereafter.

With a strong belief in how positive reinforcement is beneficial for our students, we use the same form of encouragement and motivation in our Reading classes and Primary classes as well.

How to use positive reinforcement

When and how positive reinforcement is used is very important when trying to emphasise desired behaviours.

Here are a few things to take note in its execution: The reinforcement must be age-appropriate

- Understandable by the student
- Genuine
- Done in response immediately after the child’s actions

Switching up your positive reinforcement methods is also very important.
It helps keep students motivated and engaged with what they need to achieve.

Here are some of the Positive Reinforcement methods used in our classes:

Social Positive Reinforcements like praise, smiles, compliments, nods and high fives

2. Activity-based Positive Reinforcements such as games with classmates or being a leader in an activity in the class can be very effective.
3. Tangible Positive Reinforcements like stickers, stamps and even small prizes or gifts. Tokens or points can also be used to motivate students to work towards a goal or prize.

Recognition and acknowledgement is a big part of positive reinforcement.
It makes the individual that receives the recognition happy and it encourages them to work harder for the benefit they may receive.

It ultimately shows appreciation for previous work and future achievements.

As parents, it might be useful to consider some of these methods used in class for your own interactions with your child.

Offer rewards.

Rewards work wonders!
When a child does something you really appreciate, show your appreciation with a reward.
Always keep in mind the kind of reward they would appreciate.

Your child might like a trip to the park or a new book. You know them best!

Praise profusely.

We are big fans of praise at I Can Read.

Praise the behaviours you want to see more of and your child will quickly learn what you would like.

When they do a task well, tell them what a great job they’ve done.

If they have made a mature decision, tell them how proud you are of them.

Praise, praise, praise! We are all about the praise!

Above all, be consistent in your communications with your child.

Children really benefit from one of the most important aspects of positive reinforcement: consistency.

The more consistent you are with reinforcing positive behaviour, the more likely you are to see that behaviour repeat itself.

Keep up the praise, the rewards, and the attention to positive actions and you're much more likely to see more and more positive results.

We hope that we have given you an idea of how important positivity is to children and how to use positive reinforcement to keep your child happy and motivated to learn.