Learning to read isn’t easy! Lets take a minute to step into the shoes of a beginning reader.
This is how this page would look to a young student who is just learning to read. The student can see groups of black squiggles, known as letters arranged in a linear fashion, across the page. There are spaces in between the groups of the letters. Some groups have many letters; other groups have just a few. The letters are different sizes.
Some children might recognise some letters, perhaps any letters that are in their name but a few letters may still be unfamiliar. Have you worked out the code I used to give you an idea of how a young student would see this page?
Reading is the result of a complicated process that involves decoding abstract symbols into sounds, then into words that generate meaning. Have you ever wondered what is happening inside your child’s brain as they read?
- Firstly your child’s needs to know where to start reading from on the page, they need to know which way to read, and what to do when they reach the end of a line of text.
- Your child’s eyes need to scan those squiggly lines known as letters, and recognise the groupings of letters as words.
- Then, areas of your child’s brain work to associate the written symbols with the sounds of language that are already known.
- As this association occurs, other parts of your child’s brain decode the writing into a mental message that your child can understand. It is incredible to think that your child will read and comprehend a sentence in in just a few seconds.
Beginning readers are continually taking risks when they attempt to read texts that are unfamiliar to them. Both parents and teachers need to make sure students who are just beginning to read are supported appropriately and provided with many opportunities to feel successful. It is so important to recognise and celebrate their efforts, because most children will find reading ‘tricky’ at first, and reminding them of how well they are doing will help them to develop their self confidence, and a positive attitude towards this vitally important skill.
If you would like to participate in one of our parent webinars to learn more about how to support your child as they learn to read, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Co Founding Director