If, at any point, you thought that teaching your child to read would be a straight-forward process, you were most likely wrong. However, don’t think we are trying to discourage you.
“Reading readiness variess from child to child.”
Every child can be taught to read. However, not every child follows the same steps on their learning path. However, you as a parent can jump in and make things easier.
The process of learning starts earlier than you might expect
The child starts preparing the brain for the actual act of reading as early as at the age of several months. The way it does it is by subconsciously forming its own phonological system that will later be useful for recognising phonological patterns.
Of course, you can have great impact on your child in that period. The way to do that is by reading to your child. Regular reading, from the earliest days on, can be useful in different ways.
First of all, it helps create a reading habit. Secondly, it helps evoke positive feelings in your child, relating reading to pleasant, bonding times. Apart from that, reading to your child can affect child’s cognitive functions. If, while reading, you position the book in a way that a child can see the illustrations, the child will be able to relate images to the actual story. In that way, a toddler will also be able to practice short term memory.
With two-year-olds and older you can also put extra effort and trace the words with your finger while reading, which could help a child absorb the words subconsciously.
Rhyming and comprehension, and why it all matters
With most languages, English alike, words that rhyme have lots to do with teaching your child to read. Ever wondered why most nursery rhymes are precisely that: rhymes? Short poems that don’t often have to make sense, but they certainly do form rhythmic patterns a child can easily memorize.
Making them perfect for teaching your child to notice patterns more easily when reading.
Letters are all around us
When you stop and think about it, the letters really are all around, it’s just that we don’t notice them anymore. Advertisements, promotional billboards, calendars, magazines, gadgets, cereal boxes, they all have some kind of writing on them.
Point them out to your child while you’re at the subway, waiting for your dental appointment, or having breakfast in order to promote a reading habit and also to help them get the grip of the most commonly used words. Thy will also pick up a habit of noticing letters and words in their ‘natural’ habitat.
About the most commonly used words…
You can create flashcards containing functional words of English like:
The, a, were, is, am, are, does, would, will, was
and other words you notice your kid is struggling with. Use them to help your child master them faster. This can also be a wonderful chance for the two of you to spend some quality time together if you turn this into an interesting project where your kid helps you decorate the flashcards. You can add new flashcards on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on your kids progress.
One thing the parents are often advised is to remember that their child is, after all, just a child. If you don’t see the progress you were expecting to see, don’t create too much pressure on the child.
Every child will eventually learn to read, you just have to find the pace they feel comfortable with.