November 11, 2009

Guest author: Fiona Ingram, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

Today we welcome Fiona Ingram, author of the fascinating children's book, THE SECRET OF THE SACRED SCARAB. See her tips below for turning kids into successful readers.

In THE SECRET OF THE SACRED SCARAB, a 5,000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab do the boys realize they are in terrible danger.

Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime as they search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them.

Surviving various dangers in a hostile environment, the boys must translate the scarab's hieroglyphic clues plus rescue a missing archaeologist and their friend before time runs out.

Turning Children into Successful Readers
By Fiona Ingram

Any parent who is an avid reader will have already thanked their parents for getting them started on the road to reading.

Through the magical world of storytelling, children learn, experience emotions, and begin to understand the world within as well as the world around them. But, in an age dominated by digital entertainment, how does the somewhat "old-fashioned" habit of reading for enjoyment develop in a child?

It’s all up to you, the parent, to ignite that spark within your child and it’s a lot easier than you think.

* Capture and keep your child’s attention by projecting reading as the most interesting thing anyone can ever do. Make the reading process a fun, desirable activity by using creative ways to incorporate books into your child’s daily life.

* Get enthusiastic about books for starters. At meal times, chat to everyone about what you’re reading and how much you’re enjoying it. Children love to share things with their parents and even if the idea of books isn’t exactly what they had in mind, they’ll go along with you … and that’s all you need.

* Go shopping for things to do with books: words, games and puzzles. Most book shops are laid out in an interesting way with loads of gloriously exciting book covers, posters, display tables, etc. Browse with your child and then make him or her part of the experience by asking, “What do you think of this?” or “What would you like to buy?” Often shops give away postcards or bookmarks related to a particular book they’re promoting. On your book expeditions make sure to purchase, not just browse.

* If your child is not quite ready to dive into something bulky, start small with a board game involving words. Scrabble is an old favorite, for excellent reasons. Set up a family challenge night with team Mom and one child versus team Dad and someone else. Make popcorn, keep proper scores, and offer a prize for the winner—a book gift voucher, of course.

* Once your child starts seeing books in a positive light, empower him or her by suggesting they spend that voucher. You can recommend titles but ultimately praise your child’s choice.

* Go one step further by making special space in your child’s room for their own bookshelf with encouragement about filling it in no time at all.

* Ask family members and friend to give books, book vouchers or appropriate age magazine subscriptions as birthday or other gifts.

* Movies are a fabulous tool for getting a child interested in a book. One splendid book-turned-movie is Road to Terebithia—a moving and creative look at the power of children’s imagination. The Spiderwick Chronicles is another excellent choice. Of course you’ll have to purchase and read the book together because (as everyone knows) they can’t put everything in the film. The initial visual stimulus will certainly be enough to get your child wanting to read up on the characters and action.

* Read together as a family. The experience brings everyone together in a wonderful spirit of sharing. Put on funny voices, get your child to read particular passages, and look up difficult words together with a dictionary (kept handy for the occasion).

The joy of reading is infectious and if parents are exuberant in their attitude towards books, the child will soon follow.

About the Author:

South African author Fiona Ingram developed a passion for Egypt at age eight after her mother gave her the Time Life book, Ancient Egypt. That passion led to a trip to Egypt with her two nephews, a short story about her Egyptian adventures, and ultimately her first book for children, The Secret of the Sacred Scarab--the first in the "Chronicles of the Stone" series.

* Finalist, children's fiction, 2009 USA Next Generation Indie Book Awards and 2009 USA National Best Books Awards.


Jodi Webb said...

I think parents often overlook board games because they think their kids are too young. When my son was born his sisters were 8 and 12. He's been playing Scrabble with them since you he was 4(of course with a LOT of help). He makes words on his level: dad, cat, on, off. But I think it really helps since it's "fun" not schoolwork.

Fiona Ingram said...

Hi Jodi,
Scrabble is a super game for all ages and can really bring a family together. Words can be such fun if incorporated into a game. Kids will be learning and adding to their vocabulary without feeling any 'pressure' to learn something new.