Literary appreciation can be both spoken and written. Basically, we have to first look at the 4 developmental stages of children and these are:
1) Sensory Stage (from birth to age 2)
At this stage, the children learn through the 5 senses, namely, touching, tasting, seeing, hearing and smelling. It is more of physical knowledge exploration.
While children at this stage cannot write, parents can actually read to them. The more stories they are exposed to, the more they will be enticed to read once they get the thrill of what is written inside the books.
2) Pre-operational Stage (from 2 – 7 years)
At this stage, the children are more in the ‘ME’ world. The focus is on themselves, gathering information and the environment around them. They prefer the use of symbols to represent objects. They learn from concrete evidence, i.e. the non-abstract aspect. They are also unaware of another person’s perspective.
While children at this stage may know more words, it is still too early to expect to be able to write well. It is still more of the spoken literacy that parents can inculcate. Continue to expose them to books and also let them know of the external environment affecting them.
3) Concrete Operational Stage (from 7 – 11 years)
At this stage, the children are able to think logically and there is increase awareness of external events. They are also in a better position to express literally in writing. Some may still not be comfortable with the abstract aspect though. Nonetheless, parents can still introduce abstract ideas to them and let them learn at their own pace.
For this age group, parents may want to arouse their interest in sharing their delights and woes of the day. It is a good way to interact.
4) Formal Operational Stage (from 11 and beyond)
At this stage, the children should be at secondary level. In terms of brain development, it is a ‘critical mass’ of experience to fully blossom before they grow into adults. They are inclined literally to more abstract associations. They are also able to plan and think ahead; reflect and evaluate; form and test hypotheses.
Until their frontal lobes of the brain are fully developed, teenagers tend to react and interpret the external stimuli with emotional and ‘gut feeling’ responses. Pressing them to focus on different aspects of a problem simultaneously can produce an internal tension. This can lead to frustration or anger reaction.To cultivate literacy appreciation for this age group, parents should feel free to discuss with them on any topic. Make it a routine or habit to set aside some time each day and talk on:
- Happenings in schools (from child)
- Happenings at work (from parents)
- Current affairs in Singapore
- Current affairs around the world
- Composition topics
- Projects that they may be involved in
Hope parents will find the above tips useful.