So You Want to Teach Your Child to Read…
Don’t! 4 simple things you can do instead.
So, you want to teach your child to read.
You want to give him/her a head start.
All your friends’ and neighbors’ kids are already reading and you feel guilty for not buckling down with the ABC flashcards.
You’ve heard that preschool teachers expect the kids to be reading as soon as they walk through the threshold, and you don’t want to let her down, now do you? That could be bad for your little one …
And besides, you believe s/he is ready, because s/he can already recognize the letters of the alphabet.
So, why not?
The short answer is, for the same reasons we don’t push kids to walk before their legs are strong enough to hold them.
Instead of pushing your child prematurely, there are a number of things you can do instead in order to create a solid foundation for reading. As a result, when the time is right, learning to read will come as easily for your little one as sliding down a water slide and with the same amount of laughter too!
Reading is made up of two basic components: the mechanics of reading, aka decoding and comprehension — understanding the meaning of a text.
In order to do both, a reader first of all needs LANGUAGE: vocabulary (words and their sounds and meanings), sentence structure — how words come together, and nuances — meanings that emerge from in between the lines.
Here are some ways YOU, as part of your daily routine, can lay the bricks of literacy for your children.
- Talk with them, not just to them. Talk about many different topics so as to increase their vocabulary and general knowledge. Encourage them to use new words, even if they mispronounce them or misuse them in ways that make you chuckle. Encourage them to ask questions, particularly challenging ones you DON’T have an answer to! Then, together look for the answers :)
- Sing with them. There are so many different song apps out there, it’s a crime not to sing with your kids. I don’t mean plonking your little one in front of the screen and going about your chores. I mean singing together, explaining words as you sing along. Do the motions. Make the sounds. You don’t have to make a special time for this. You can sing in the car; you can sing as you walk to school. You can sing while taking a bath or while on the potty.
- Create literacy awareness. Literacy in its most authentic form is all around us — even in a digital world, where books and magazines exist on tablets and smartphones. At the breakfast table examine cereal boxes and what’s written on the jar of peanut butter or honey. As you walk down the street, read the street signs and look for hidden messages in the adverts at the bus stop. Shopping can be a tedious task, especially with little ones. Asking them to read the labels, will not only keep them busy, but increase their awareness of language, nutrition and consumerism!
- Read aloud. Reading storybooks to children is considered by literacy researchers and practitioners alike as the single most important factor in raising a reader.
Reading together is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child. And, best of all, it lasts a lifetime.
It’s time to take control of our lives.
It’s Time 2 Lead.
It’s time to THRIVE.