Please fill in the following and we will get back to you within 2 working days.

The Top 5 Grammar Mistakes English Learners Make

Mistakes are easy to make when you are starting to learn and speak any language.
Some mistakes can be funny, others become a habit that are difficult to fix.
All mistakes children make come from either directly translating and using sentence structures from their mother tongue or a language they are better versed in or simply from learning from a weak source. Naturally, problems can arise when a new language is learnt in such ways.

Most problems children have are to do with grammar.
Remembering that grammar is a set of established rules to guide us on the correct use of a language means improving our use of the language can be learned and improved upon fairly easily.
I Can Read would like to help you  help your children become great English speakers with gentle reminders and corrections. 

You will need to know what to look out for. So, here are the 5 most common grammar mistakes which kids tend to make when they're learning English. 

1. Problems with irregular verbs:
Irregular verbs are a common and difficult feature in English.
An irregular verb is one that does not form its simple past tense or its past participle by just adding "-ed" or "-d" to the 
base form.

Verbs like "have", "go" and "run" are often misused. Instead of changing them (to "had", "went" and "run"), lots of children treat them like normal, regular verbs by adding "ed" in the past tense. So, while saying "I studied." is fine, saying "I runned home" is not. 

This is a natural mistake to make: the child is simply following the seemingly simple logic of English grammar.
Eventually though, after consistency in learning and wider exposure to the language, your child will overcome these confusions and start using the verbs in their correct form.
Until then, going through lists of irregular verbs will be very useful to your child in familiarising themselves with the word variation form irregular words usually have. Mindfully correcting them when they speak to you.

2. The missing "s"
In English, we place the letter "s" at the end of a word in 2 situations:
- for a plural noun ("cars", "students", "books"), and
- for a third-person verb in the present simple tense ("I go - he goes", "You write - she writes", "I record - it records")
All English learners, young and old, seem to have a problem with this rule.
It is a simple but difficult rule. Yet it is an essential rule which any advanced or native English speaker understands.

Your child will make this mistake constantly when writing and especially when speaking.
When this happens, it's good to assure your child that you understand his or her English, but try to correct their mistake - as with the question structure.
In a gentle tone of voice, repeat what the child said or wrote, and emphasise the word they got wrong ("You like ice-cream but your friend
like chocolate?")

3. Modal verbs

In some ways modal verbs (like "can", "should" or "would") are easy.
When we use them with a verb in a sentence, we don't change the next verb.
The time or the person we're talking about doesn't matter. So, for example, "I can read", "You can read", "He/She can read", and so on. 
In other ways, the modal verbs are difficult. Each modal verb has more than one meaning, and English learners need to understand the different meanings. In a simple example, think of the difference between "I can play guitar" and "You can go watch TV after you finish your homework."
A more difficult example is "would", which has around 6 different meanings!
However, there is 1 simple mistake which you can help your child with.
Is he/she using a modal verb 
with a verb?
Many Asian students, especially in south-eastern countries like Singapore, don't do this.
They think that "Can" on its own is fine. However, it's not.
A full sentence is needed, and this includes the verb!
So, "I can read" is a simple, but correct use of this modal verb.

4. Sentence structure

This leads us to our next point: can your child build a full sentence?
This is another must for a fluent or advanced speaker. Every language has its own rules about making sentences, and English is no exception. 
In English, every sentence contains a subject (a person, people or a thing) and a verb.
For example, 
"He studies", 
"She is driving." or 
"can read."
Most sentences also contain an object:
"He studies economics", 
"She is driving home." or 
"can read Chinese."
It is possible to make an English sentence very long ("can read Chinese but lately I have taken up Russian, which is completely different."). No English speaker needs to do this.
However, every English speaker 
does need to use sentences which contain a subject, a verb and often an object. Are your child's sentences correct? 

5. Incorrect question structures: 
Making questions in English is difficult for all learners, but it's an essential skill to acquire.
For most English learners, it's much easier to say a sentence and make it sound like a question ("You go to work?").
This is fine for basic communication. But eventually every English student will find themselves in a professional or academic environment - or even a social situation with native-English speakers - where this is unacceptable.
When you hear your child ask you a question in this way, it's good to assure them that you understand them, but to ask them to try to repeat the question with the correct grammar.
So, with gentle corrections and assurances, you can help your child to overcome these common mistakes, and mould them into an advanced, effective English communicator! 


Confusing words in English

Oh English, why must you be so confusing? This is a question often asked of us at I Can Read by both parents and students. Whilst all languages have their quirks, there seems to be many more in English. We are confident that at I Can Read, we can set your child on the right path to English success. 

Read on for a list and explanation of some of the more confusing words in English. 

  1. Robbed / Stolen - Rob and steal both mean ‘take something from someone without permission, “Rob” focuses on the place or person from which the thing is taken e.g. - The thieves “robbed” three banks over a period of six months and Our local post office was “robbed” early on Tuesday morning, whereas “steal” means to take another person's property without permission and without intending to return it, e.g. "thieves stole my bicycle on Monday"

  2. Then /Than - Then is mainly an adverb, often used to place actions in time, e.g. you wake up in the morning and “then” you have breakfast, however than is a conjunction used mainly in making comparisons e.g. my bicycle is better “than” yours. As both the words look and sound so similar, they can be very confusing not only for learners of English but native speakers too. Try to remember; then refers to time while than refers to making a comparison; this will keep you on the right track.

  3. Lend / Borrow - The common verbs lend and borrow are confusing for many learners of English. One reason there is confusion is because lend and borrow have the same basic meaning, but are used for different transactionary purposes.  

    Lend is used only as a verb, it means to allow someone to use something temporarily, for example banks lend money, libraries lend books. Whereas borrow refers to the person the thing is being lent to. e.g. I “borrowed your pencil, I hope you don’t mind”, may I “borrow” $100 please?

    Leigh “lent” $10 to Claire, Claire borrowed $150 from Leigh, or Sarah often lends her car to Simon, Simon often borrows Sarah’s car. If you are still confused just remember, borrow means 'to take' while lend means 'to give'.

  4. Bring / Take - Whether you use “bring” or “take” generally depends on where you physically are regarding the action. The difference between the two words, which indeed is quite confusing, is that “bring” implies movement towards someone or something e.g. bring your sticker collection with you when you come over later and “take” means movement away from someone or something, “take your umbrella with you when you're going out, it is going to rain later”.

  5. Among / Between - These two words are fairly confusing in their use. They seem to mean the same thing but are actually very different. “Among” expresses a relationship of more than 2 or several items: Samuel found his keys among the many things in his bag. “Between” expresses the relationship of one thing to another thing or to many other things: Patricia stood between the two pillars to take a photo. The idea that between can be used only when talking about two things is a myth—it’s perfectly correct to use between if you are talking about a multiple range of things that have something in common: I have to make a choice between fries, a sundae or apple slices to complete my order for lunch.

  6. Further / Farther - These two are certainly easy to confuse. Although they are often used interchangeably, "further" and "farther" don't have exactly the same meaning. So, let’s get into the definitions. “Farther” refers to a greater physical distance or a distance that has been measured: Janet can run farther than Chad. “Further” refers to metaphorical distance: Janet is further away from finishing her project than Chad is. Basically, "farther" refers to actual distances between objects while further refers to the figurative distances or something that is additional or more and it is used when there is no knowledge of the actual physical or time difference. So, remember, you need to measure to use "farther," but you can use "further" in almost all other situations.
Share these with your child today to clear their doubts or to just let them learn something new. We hope this makes English just a little more accessible to your child and remember, English is a journey, not a destination and every little piece of reading, learning and understanding helps your child make progress. 


The importance of homework even at a young age and what you can do to help your child

Homework is a bit of a touchy subject for younger learners.
We often think about practices that are fun and enjoyable like singing songs, learning the alphabet and playtime before your ch
ild goes into primary school.
But, we want to share with you how your child can benefit from the structure of homework from a young age.
So, let’s look at the serious benefits of introducing the concept of homework early!

What is the purpose of homework at a young age?

It is somewhat questionable what benefits homework will have for young children as many assume it is unlikely to pay off in the greater learning of a young child.
However, many teachers vouch for homework in the early kindergarten years as a way of socialising kids into a school environment.
The crux of the idea is that the students should get used to homework since it will be a natural aspect of their learning at school.
Hence, starting them early will give them the idea of what can be expected once they reach the more formal level of schooling.
The learning value of this concept will acclimatise your child into what to expect as a student.
With the right introduction to the concept, young kids can come to actually enjoy homework.
Setting up a routine of doing their homework when they get home sets them up for the future.

How much homework is appropriate?

Some of the biggest arguments against homework at a young age tend to be linked to whether the amount of homework is the right amount or is appropriate.
It has been suggested that ten minutes of homework corresponding to the kindergarten level the child is in is ideal and is in good alignment with research.
That means in grade 1, kids would do 10 minutes of homework per night,
in second grade it would be 20, third grade 30 and so on. 


While not all parents and kids may be willing to commit to the practice, homework is beneficial to kids at some level.
There’s no point holding back something beneficial just because not everyone will or can take advantage of it! 

Parents can play a big role too

While we love to see kids participate in class and learn to enjoy the process of homework, this often requires parents to play an integral part of the process. 


We’ve already talked about homework as not just being a learning tool but a practice of responsibility.
In fact, at such a young age, focusing on your child’s behaviour and response to structure is definitely more important than the actual practice of doing homework content.
Things may not always go as planned when structured homework practice is out in place.
There may be instances where your child just cannot accomplish the work assigned due to lack of understanding or just a lack of motivation to do it.
In those cases, it is actually best to allow your child time away from having to do the homework.
This strategic break will allow your child to distract themselves positively from what they were uncertain of or unwilling to do at the initial stage.
Helping your child to reset their mind and give the homework a fresh effort is very important.
You may also need to help your child manage their uncertainties towards their homework and guide them to do it.
It can be managed with your help for the first few questions and then set the expectation of independent effort thereafter.
Sometimes children just need a physical presence of a parent to get them through the homework at hand and being the positive motivational figure for them will be crucial in setting up good habits towards homework in general.
It also helps a parent to track what subjects and areas of homework your child needs more support in.
By developing this proximity of trust and guidance, your child will be more willing to not only do their homework but to do it very well. 


When the homework does get too challenging and you notice your child struggling with the foundations of how to attempt the homework, it would be a good idea to engage the teacher in charge so they can guide your child in better methods or strategies for finishing their homework! From a purely academic perspective, the teacher will be able to manage and improve the knowledge of the child to do the homework. Working in partnership with the teacher will only bring out the best in your child!


Don’t do your kid’s homework!

While it may be tempting for you to just simply fill in the answer yourself to spare yourself the hassle of explaining the question or even of showing the method to doing it accurately, it does not set the right tone of expectation you should place on homework.
In order to save your child from any embarrassment when they are in class, continually struggling with the way a question should be answered or not being able to manage a topic or idea with accuracy,  it can be a lot more beneficial to engage your child in the process of what they need to with guidance, teaching and support.
If your child makes a mistake that they cannot overcome within the expectation of the homework, it is also fine for them to acknowledge they have made a mistake and so they will need to learn how to correct it at school.
This also provides teachers with a great opportunity to learn about your child’s areas of weaknesses or knowledge gaps that they can help to patch strategically. 
It is equally important for your child to be able to reach out to help but know that help does not mean no more effort is needed.
Working through the steps teaches your child the power of being able to ask for help, acknowledge when help is needed and the right strategies to overcome the area of help they had initially will be the best way forward!


What to do if you’re not great at English 

Any kind of involvement and support can make a difference in your child’s enthusiasm and effort towards homework.
It can be as simple as sitting by their side, looking through a dictionary with them and even keeping track of time for them. 


Working through specific homework with positive strategies is most important.
For instance, focusing on practicing sight vocabulary for about 10 minutes per night can have amazing results that speed up your child’s reading development.
Setting up a simple reward system to ensure they meet goals and targets set at home will be very useful. This will free-up the parents needs to be specifically involved in the knowledge content and delivery of it but re-emphasise the need for focus, discipline and effort. 
The standards set at home will develop room for success for the child in class.
The teacher will be able to focus on more complex aspects of reading or practices if the foundation skills are managed through homework practices effectively.
As children move up through the school years and levels, homework practice will get easier because children generally can read and write more independently and therefore achieve higher order skill in the classroom.
So, by simply increasing the amount of accountable reading students do for homework, eventually reading and answering questions, reading and preparing discussion notes, reading and writing will naturally develop and create more opportunities of learning for students.


It can help with reading in time

The effectiveness of homework in improving reading achievement depends a lot on age.
If the goal is better reading achievement, then a big emphasis on repetitive reading homework might not be such a great choice.
Engage your child in the process of reading before getting them to even want to read and practice the skill.
Sharing bed time stories, talking about a story before and after reading it, considering character development in the story and appreciating what it is opens up a child to wanting to practice their reading homework. 


In all, from the age of 3 and upwards, homework has a fairly consistent impact on achievement — and the payoff tends to increase as students advance through the years.
Remember, motivate, encourage and support your child and you will see them embrace the process of homework with great willingness.

How poetry helps improve your child’s English, and how to get them interested!

What Makes A Good Budding Poet

Children are readily and immediately engaged in the power of poetry and its amazing ability to inspire emotions and reaction. If you read a Dr. Suess poem to your young learner right now, you will see their eyes instantly light up with delight.

Such positive exposure to poems will ensure exposure to repetitive words and mirrored word sounds which lead to correct pronunciation. Children also learn new vocabulary from poems with greater ease hence developing their general language development through exposure to poetry while keeping them imaginatively engaged. Intonation and voice development is also possible with poetry reading and presentation as children will naturally follow rhythm and tone in a poem they hear. Whilst there’s no doubt they love reading, listening to poems and developing their language skills through poetry, it is highly likely that your child has yet to tap into their ability to write their very own poems. Trust us when we say all kids have the intrinsic potential to write wonderful, exciting, funny poetry. So let’s see how we can encourage that in your children. 

People often think the most difficult part of writing poetry is the rhyming scheme expected or even coming up with a clever and original idea. However, this is far from the reality. The hardest part of writing poetry is in the simple act of sitting down and starting to write. Oftentimes you will find that once you actually do sit down to write, it is not as hard as you might think it might be. Being encouraging will be essential in getting them to begin their own poetry writing process. Remember, it’s not a school assignment but an expression of joy through words. Make it an activity that you do together for fun and your child will instantly be more receptive. 


You can also inspire your budding poet by sharing with them that poems come in a wide variety. From haikus, to a firm favourite of young learners; acrostic poems. Best of all, having your child free style a verse of their own choice that rhymes or not is an amazing way to get them excited about the writing process! It doesn’t matter what they express, as long as they can do it creatively, artistically and willingly. This will show them that there is always a starting point as a writer and freedom of expression is integral to their continued interest in the process. 

Getting started is simple enough because all you really need is a pencil and a piece of paper. But, if your child starts getting serious about writing poetry, there are a couple more things you should have and do. Read on for our tips on writing a great poem.

Like most things, Practice is key. Each time your child attempts writing a poem, they will find out what their area or topics of interest are, the type of poetry style they like and how they feel as they write. This process will help them polish up their sense of expression and flair for the poetic writing process. Each poem they write will get a little better . Writing a new poem every day for a week, will bring out a better poet in your child. Commitment to the process of poetry writing practice will encourage them to keep trying and hone their skills. 

A Poetry Notebook
At ICR we always recommend a poetry notebook. Your child may have one for new vocabulary they encounter. So, why should poems be any different? If you can find a notebook that fits in their pocket, even better. Then your little poet can carry it with them everywhere they go, gathering ideas, rhyming words or even writing freely whenever they feel they feel they have an idea. After all, you never know when inspiration may strike. By carrying a notebook, they can write down ideas as they flow. 

Don’t worry about neatness, tell your child they can be as messy as they want for once! Assure them their poetry notebook is a free space to be silly or express themselves. The only thing that matters is that they capture ideas as they come. Write those thoughts and ideas down on paper once they come to them and you will see your child delving more eagerly into the process of writing poetry. 

Don’t sweat the spelling (for once)
Another thing not to worry too much about in the creative stages is spelling and punctuation. These are important, but only for the final product. Maybe as the parent you can offer to help them edit their writing when they are done. But, let them know the most important thing is to write freely and that there is a time for spell check and proofreading their creation. Ensure this is done after the poem is complete, otherwise they will get bogged down and frustrated about corrections and this may hinder the creative flow. Remember, interest in the process is very important so, keep it positive and encouraging always! 

Edit at the end
A very important job that all poets must learn is editing. After their creative bouts of writing, a poet must still acknowledge the rules of English and ensure accuracy in expression is achieved. Poems are almost never done in the first round of writing. Let your child know that it is alright to keep going back to the poem to continually refine it. Attempt to complete the poem though, before making specific grammar or language edits. If you constantly stop to make corrections as you write, it will be much harder to finish it. inspiration can come at any time and so completing accomplishing the idea of the poem is very important. When the artistic and expressive flair has been achieved, the poem will need to be assessed and edited for structural language and grammar errors that might be present. Going back to the poem with new eyes will allow your young poet to refine the poem even more. 

Invest in a rhyming dictionary
Once you notice your child really enjoying the  creative outlet of poetry writing, it would be very beneficial to get them a rhyming dictionary. These dictionaries have wonderful long lists of words that rhyme. This will greatly help to inspire your budding poet along the way. A quick glance and flip through it can even stir the creative juices in your child therefore inspiring them to begin writing a poem as well. 

Get a dictionary
Of course we can’t forget a regular dictionary and a thesaurus, both of which are highly recommended in addition to a rhyming dictionary. Going back to the basics of having a broad base of words and their accurate meanings will allow a good poet to stay relevant to the context of their poem. It will also be there to help when you can’t think of a word or need a quick inspiration. Keeping a reservoir of words to write a creative expression of ideas will be of great use to any child. 

And so with these tips, we hope your child can find inspiration and a poetic sense of expression within themselves. All the best and happy writing, we can’t wait to read all your wonderful poems kids! 


Creative Ways to Make Reading Fun

Creative Ways to Make Reading Fun

It is fair to say that with so much technology and online distractions it can be hard for children to find the time to read. This does not mean however, as parents you shouldn’t make reading with your child a priority.

Reading should not just be the preserve of the classroom or tuition sessions. Regular read-aloud or solo reading time is extremely important. If you think about it, the time you set aside for reading with your child may be the only time your child will read, or be exposed to reading, outside the classroom. 

Here are some fun suggestions to help make reading fun. Most of the activities are pretty simple. Some take just a few minutes; some could take a little longer. Some could involve another person and others could involve the entire family. By taking a playful, pressure-free approach, you'll soon ensure your child enjoys reading time. 

First Sound Game

Early readers are still coming to terms with the notion that letters are symbols that stand for sounds. To familiarize him with sounds, read poems, nursery rhymes, and rhyming books together A good way to reinforce the idea of sounds is to start with the most familiar word of all: your child's name and the first sound in their name. Ask them to find things around the house that start with the same first letter sound as their name. To incorporate into the story get them to do the same exercise with the main characters name. This is an activity we do in the I Can Read classroom and our students love it.

Pre-Game the Story

If your child doesn't comprehend what a story is about, they are likely to not be enthusiastic about reading time. Before starting the book ask your child to look at the pictures and ask questions to get them excited and interested about what's coming: "What do you think the story is going to be about?" "What do you think will happen?" Questions like these help them predict the story while the pictures offer them clues to what’s about to happen. 

Pick Out Words

Building a broad vocabulary is essential for reading comprehension. Stop occasionally if you come across a particularly difficult or unusual word, ask your child what they think it means, have fun with potential meanings but make sure by the end of the story they have a take-away of at least two or three new words. If this is done weekly just think how quickly your little learner will acquire new vocabulary. Keep a notebook with the words for yourself so you can incorporate the new vocab in your daily conversation from time to time. 

Happy Reading! 


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.