Assisting your child to learn to read could be regarded as providing your child with the keys to life! Reading is a fundamental skill that children need to master, to participate in daily life confidently and successfully.
Research indicates that the number of words a child knows and uses by the age of 3, is a reliable predictor of early reading development. It is interesting to note that speaking is considered to be a normal innate activity for the brain, whereas reading is not. Unlike spoken language, the brain has no areas specialised for reading.
Learning to read starts with the awareness that speech is composed of individual sounds (phonemes) and the recognition that written symbols (letters) represent those sounds. This is known as the alphabetic principle. The alphabetic principle and associated skills needed to connect the sounds that letters usually make to the names of the letters of the alphabet, need to be learned through explicit instruction.
Beginning readers need to learn the alphabetic principle and recognise that words are composed of individual phonemes. Eventually the brain needs to connect the 26 letters of the alphabet with the 44 plus sounds (phonemes) of spoken English. There are more than 1,100 ways to represent the sounds of the 44 phonemes in English. This is referred to as ‘deep orthography’, and is one reason why English is considered a difficult language to learn.
Parents are their child’s first teachers. The physical and emotional environment parents and caregiver’s provide at home for children is vitally important and contributes not only to a child’s sense of well-being, but also to their ability to focus and achieve to their potential at school.
As parents we understand that children learn at different rates, and have individual learning styles, however there are many routines parents can develop at home, to support their child as they learn to read.
Routines parents can develop at home to support their child’s reading development include:
- Provide a range of books for your child to read with you at home. Joining a local library is a great way to ensure your child has ongoing access to a wide range of books. Taking your child regularly to the local library and assisting them to select books to borrow will help them to develop a positive attitude towards libraries, and the variety of books that libraries have on offer.
- Schedule a regular reading time with your child. Make sure that reading time is an enjoyable experience for you and your child. Finding a comfortable space to sit, avoiding interruptions, using your voice to make the story sound exciting or interesting and being ‘present’ will help your child to develop their understandings of how the English language works and enjoyment of reading.
- Involve your child in the story while you are reading to them. Before reading, show your child the front cover of the book and ask them what they think the story might be about. Asking your child what they think will happen next is another way for your child to feel involved in the story, and will assist them to develop their skills of prediction and comprehension.
- Rereading known books to or with your child is a great way to develop their reading confidence, phrasing and fluency.
- Pointing out and discussing street signs or traffic signs with your child while you are out, can encourage them to notice and become interested in environmental print.
- Writing a shopping list with drawings of the items beside the words and asking your child to read it to you while you shop is another great way to develop your child’s interest in print. Asking your child to ‘read’ the list to you will help your child to view themselves as a reader, which is important for their reading confidence.
**Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free copy of our Pre-reading Resource ebook, valued at $11.99. Our Pre-reading Resource ebook is full of activities that your pre schooler can do at home, to get them ready for learning to read at school
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