Learning to read the Quran is a tremendously important step in any Muslim child’s life, beginning their life relationship with Islam and the Book of Allah. Understandably, parents can feel anxious about how best to support their children through this experience. We asked over 1000 parents what they felt their main challenges were in terms of teaching their children how to read the Noble Quran. They responded with the following main concerns or ‘pain points’:
1. Slow Progress
2. Fear of Inaccurate pronunciation if they supported or taught their children at home
3. Lack of Fun in the learning process
4. Lack of understanding of what children are reciting
Of these four particular concerns, the first two points were most emphasised by the parents we spoke with. In this article, we present a few solutions to help you overcome these challenges. Each set of solutions corresponds to the three different stages in the process: before, during and after learning to recite the Quran.
Starting at the wrong age is perhaps the first mistake most parents make when teaching their child Quran. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the ideal starting age. Even siblings from the same family can vary greatly in the ages when they are ready. So how do you work out when the time is right?
A lot has to do with your own judgement and a little testing. Try sitting down with your child for 10 minutes a day and go through the alphabet. Are they able to concentrate? Do they seem engaged? Are they able to remember some of what you taught them the next day? If you're answering these questions in the affirmative, then it does indicate they are now suited to a madrasah environment. But once they are ready, how do you find a suitable Quran school for them?
A good Madrasah teacher makes all the difference to your child’s progress. Therefore, the first important step is to choose with care. Recommendations are great but don’t just rely on those; meet and speak with the potential teacher yourself. Here are five questions every parent should ask their child’s prospective Madrasah teacher before enrolling:
1. How long did your last five students who completed the Qaida take?
Every child is different, which is why it is best to ask for the results of a number of students and calculate the average. However, if the average time for this group comes out as over 12 months, you may want to see if other teachers in your area have achieved completions in a shorter time scale, as this is quite long.
2. Can I please see the Qaida you use?
Qaidas differ dramatically in style of teaching and instructions. Many are imported from abroad and have not been adapted or developed for the needs of the modern child. If the teacher’s preferred Qaida is longer than 50-60 pages, it’s likely to prolong the time your child takes to learn.
3. Can your best student please read out the Arabic alphabet to me?
If you notice any of the pronunciation mistakes we outline below, be concerned. These are the basics. If they are not being recited accurately by the best student in the class, your child could easily pick up similar errors at the crucial first stage.
4. Can your best student please read out a line from the Quran to me?
You have asked to hear from the teacher’s best student and, as such, you should realistically expect that they will read fluently and accurately. If you notice slow or inaccurate recitation, you may rightly have some reservations over the standard being set by this teacher.
5. Ask at least 5 children if they enjoy coming to this Madrasah
Children’s answers are usually an honest reflection on what it’s like to learn there. Notice whether they are speaking confidently and fluently as they answer you or if they are choosing their words and watching the teacher as they comment, or indeed, their parents if you are asking after class. This may indicate that they are telling you what they think the relevant authority figure wants them to say, rather than giving you their true opinion.
Now ask yourself: After what I’ve seen and heard, am I really happy sending my child to this Madrasah? If the answer is no, keep looking.
There are two main areas of recitation you need to be concerned with: accuracy and speed. Accuracy should always come first because there’s no point in reading words inaccurately, even if you are quick. In fact, developing a habit of ignoring errors for the sake of speed can make it harder to fix such inaccuracies later on.
How to improve accuracy
Accuracy begins with a good Madrasah teacher. At the first stage, always select a proficient teacher that pronounces well and gives helpful feedback. To best support your child around classes, take the time to check your own pronunciation as well as theirs.
Are you confident that you are reciting accurately yourself? Listen to proficient reciters of the Quran together. Watch out for common, basic errors and ensure they are corrected consistently.
Use our free resource: Discover our 7 common pronunciation mistakes every child should never make.
How to improve speed
Practice. Practice. Practice. Speed comes with regular practice so work with your child to recite regularly, even if you keep the sessions very short. Don’t try and do too much at once and focus instead on their mastering a line or word at a time.
You can make a game of it and time your child. That which is measured improves and helps the child see their progress for themselves. Do be careful, though, that by focusing on speed you do not allow errors to creep back into the recital.
You can find out when your child is likely to complete the Qaida or Quran by using our calculator by clicking here.
Overall, to improve both accuracy and speed you must allocate more quality time to study. Nothing great is achieved without great effort. The more time you can spend with your child to help them with their practice at home, and the more you can support and encourage them, the better their progress will be.
Even when study appears to be complete, speed and accuracy issues can arise when a child is reading the Quran. If this happens, they need to master the Qaida again.
Most children might be hesitant, but the Qaida is the foundation of reading the Quran and must be learned fully for lifelong proficiency in Quran recitation. Encourage your child not to see returning to the Qaida as a failure, rather, a way of perfecting their skill in such an important area. Give them the same support and time you have all along the journey and they will soon become more proficient and return to reading the Quran.
(This article was originally posted on our international site at www.LearningRoots.com)