The Fundamentals of Language: Parental Pedagogy

Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children get the best education possible. Fundamental amongst the preliminaries of education is language.  Language is the basis of all communication and doing it correctly requires training. Therefore, talking to the child in proper meaningful sentences is the first step. Similarly, reading books out loud to your child helps building language skills, even before the child can speak. When you go about you daily chores, explain what your doing to him/her e.g. ‘I’m now chopping the onions’, ‘I’m going to the cereals aisle to buy some Corn Flakes’. Encourage the child to speak by asking questions ‘What am I doing now?‘, ‘What do I need to bake a cake?’ etc.

This builds a verbal foundation in the child’s mind, which, in later life will help him/her to think, to plan, to explain and articulate their ideas. It helps the child understand that language is organized in words, phrases, clauses and sentences.   You must read and re-read over and over again to the child because repetition builds literacy. These early years are crucial in making or breaking the habit of reading. Therefore it is important that this early reading experience is enjoyable, it should be full of excitement and curiosity.

What follows is a suggested reading list for children ages 5-9. In the early stages the books should be read to the child and then discussed informally. When the child can read by him/herself the informal discussion should continue regardless.

Verna Aardena, Who’s In Rabbit’s House?

Joy Adamson, Born Free

Aesop, Aesop’s Fables

Joan Aiken, The Kingdom Under the Sea and Other Stories

Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three

Tony Allan, The Time Traveller Book of Pharaoh’s and Pyramids

Hans Christian Andersen, Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Stanley and Janice Berenstain, The Big Honey Hunt

Heywood Broun, The Fifty-First Dragon

Marcia Brown, Stone Soup

Anne Civardi, The Time Traveller Book of Viking Raiders

Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinochio

Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; James and the Giant Peach; The Enormous Crocodile; The Magic Finger

Walter De La Mare, Tales Told Again

Charlotte Dixon, ‘Ali Baba and the Fourty Thieves’ in Tales from the Arabian Nights

Louise Fatio, The Happy Lion

Rumer Godden, The Mousewife

Syd Hoff, Danny and the Dinosaur

Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories

Andrew Lang, The Blue Fairy Book

Edward Lear, The Complete Nonsense Book

Hugh Lofting, The Story of Doctor Doolittle

A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Philippa Pearce, Tom’s Midnight Garden

Charles Perrault, Puss in Boots; Cinderella

Beatrix Potter, The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit

Felix Salten, Bambi

Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses

Frank R. Stockton, The Best Short Stories of Frank Stockton

Adrien Stoutenburg, American Tall Tales

Leo Tolstoy, Fables and Fairy Tales

Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook

Yoshika Uchida, Magic Listening Cap; More Folk Tales from Japan

Clyde Watson, Father Fox’s Pennyrhymes

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit


Shazad Khan



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  2. Assalamu alaykum Mawlana,

    I pray you and family are well, ameen. Jazakallahu khayran for this. These are some of the things we need a lot of guidance on from our Ulama. I pray we will see some of your insight and research on homeschooling on this blog, and in particular am STRONGLY feeling a need for something on the effects of television on intellectual/social capacities of children.


  3. As-salamu alaykum,

    Although I have not read many of the books on the list, of the one’s that I had encountered as a child, I can imagine that they’d be most conducive to the development of the minds of children.

    Mushfiq, I believe Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has written or at least spoken about the subject.

    P.S. I am sorry for dragging on our brief correspondence, but I do not wish to impose myself upon you, and so was wondering whether you might find yourself less busy sometime so that I might visit at the As-Suffa Institute.

    JazakAllah khayr,



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