Tags: learning to read
When your children start school, and quite possibly in earlier educational settings, they will begin to learn how to read. Learning to read is a complex and challenging task but is such a vital skill that the more practice and the more little ones can be encouraged to read, the better. As a parent, you will play an important role in the journey to becoming a reader, but the overall burden falls on the teachers working with your children.
There are various approaches to learning to read, and you will probably hear different terms. Most methods are based on on of two fundamental approaches:-
Phonics: requires words to be broken down into sounds in order to help sound out whole words.
Lexical: reading teaches recognition of whole words.
Since 2005, the UK government has stipulated a phonic approach to learning to read, employing a particular model known as synthetic phonics. This encourages words to be broken into phonic sounds which are then blended together in order to sound out complete words. Other phonic and lexical approaches play their part - for example, teachers will encourage the learning of 'high frequency words' so that young children can recognise some of the most common words in the language.
The emphasis on synthetic phonics does not mean that other approaches to reading are invalid, and as a parent you do not need to worry about the intricacies of different learning models. The best contribution that you can offer as a parent is to ensure that you read regularly to your little ones, and that you support them in their reading when the time comes.
There are lots of activities you can do with your child to introduce them to reading, that don't necessarily involve learning to read in the traditional sense. Here are some tips to make learning to read an easy, fun and inspiring time for both you and your children!
- Look at the pictures: Look at the cover, the pictures throughout the book. Discuss the style, colour scheme, characters depicted.
- Look carefully at the title of the book. Explain to your child what the title is.
- Look at the characters throughout the book. What are they doing? What do they look like? Do they remind you of anyone you know?
- Talk about the sequence of pictures in the book. Look for differences and talk about why may be happening.
- Chat about what might happen in the book. Predict a story together and what the ending might be.
- Make up a story with a different ending and describe what the picture might be if your ending was used instead of that actually in the book.
- Start looking at the words together. Follow the words with your finger and then with your child's finger. Chat about what letters begin each word and sound out the words together.
- Look at the pictures for clues of what's going on in the story. Show your child how the pictures can be a great help when learning to read.
- Focus on the easy words and brush over the hard words or those that are not easily read by new readers (the, said, giraffe).
- Chat about the book the day after and see how much you can remember together.
Most importantly, have fun when reading with your child. Don't get annoyed if they don't understand immediately or struggle on words they knew yesterday. Certainly don't force them to read or make them do it if they're tired or not in the right mood.
Enjoy... learning to read can be so much fun and they will make you so proud when they try hard and make progress.