During the recent Home Practice Intensive Workshops*, I showed a video of Vee reciting flash memory and the parents were interested to learn more on how to achieve that.
Young children learn easily through reciting or singing. These activities help to boost their memory power for efficient learning as they grow.
Here are some tips…
1. Careful selection
Our favourites are classical music, nursery rhymes, educational songs and audiobooks.
During my first pregnancy, I bought several CDs of classical music and nursery rhymes to listen to every day. After Vee was born, I continued playing CDs to him every day. Perhaps that’s why he’s so into music?
2. Mind the pitch
Some CDs include children vocalists who sing out of tune or pitch. Try to avoid these and select the ones with better singing.
3. Keep the volume down
I keep the volume down so that it’s comfortable to the child’s ears, and helps maintain the peace at home. Low volume in the background also aids subconscious right brain learning.
4. Moderate period of time
While playing music may help the child learn, I keep it moderate by allowing lots of time with no music in the background. This allows the child to sing and recite whatever he wishes to, so called producing his learning “output”.
I also use this time to observe what are the audio files that he likes and has benefitted from.
5. Use various languages
I play songs and audio books in English, Chinese and Bahasa Melayu to expose the children to multiple languages. You may play songs in foreign languages too.
6. Get your hands and body moving
For babies, I show them baby hand signs when singing some songs. For toddlers, I incorporate hand and body movements.
Here’s more on our experience with baby hand signs.
7. Use flash cards
Some songs can be sung while flashing cards. For instance, the ABC Song is popular with toddlers, and that’s how Vee and Jae learnt the alphabet sequence.
Chinese classics, Linking Memory (with funny stories) and Flash Memory (without funny stories) also go well with flash cards.
8. It’s ok to repeat and repeat
When flashing cards, we generally don’t repeat often. However for favourite songs and books, it’s fine to repeat because many children simply love listening to them over and over again!
As an extreme case, Vee requested to listen to “Ten Little Indian Boys” on loop at home and in the car for ONE WHOLE YEAR. Of course, I found excuses to expose him to other songs (and give my poor ears a break), yet he kept requesting the same song.
After that, he went through phases of different favourite songs.
Here’s a screenshot of my iTunes most-frequently-played songs:
We’ve 2 versons of “Ten Little Indian Boys”, listened to 1,041 times on my laptop, excluding the thousands of times on my speakers. Through this song, Vee mastered singing from 1 to 10, from 10 to 1, and changing the lyrics to fit in names of people he likes. And I believe his love for this song started him off on a musical journey.
For speed-reading sessions, he also enjoys the same book read repeatedly to him over days or weeks. After that, he could recite it easily. Same goes for Jae.
9. Show how to pronounce the words
When preparing a young child to recite or sing, I’d show him clearly how to pronounce the words. This means an occasional session of facing him and demonstrating lip movements.
10. Practice makes perfect
It’s exciting when the toddler does his first recitation. Let her practise as often as she’d like to and make it a fun activity. I bought a 1-minute sandtimer and Vee loves reciting the flash memory set faster than it.
Alright, here’s a video of Vee reciting a Chinese story book at 2 years 9 months:
Jae is also beginning to sing entire songs and recite stories at 2 years 7 months. He barely spoke until 2 years old, yet shortly after he spoke, he was able to use long sentences. He started singing only recently and went straight to singing the entire ABC Song clearly. So apparently, he has been absorbing input from our conversations and home practice all along!
Here are the latest resources for your home practice:
- Flashcards – Alphabet (109kb) – Small and capital letters A to Z, to sing with the ABC Song
- Flashcards – Multiple births (718kb) – From twins to nonuplets, using duplicates of our baby’s photo. Direct printing style.
- National Library Board eResources: If you’re from Singapore, MUST check this out! My favourite is borrowing children’s ebooks and audiobooks from Overdrive, under eBooks. Super-convenient to read and listen from the iPad. Simply download the Overdrive app.
Have fun with reciting and singing!
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