Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Help your children to read

Help your children to read


Robert L. Fielding

Being a good reader is important in every facet of life – being a poor reader means you’re not going to learn about the things you need to know, plus you will miss out on the joy of reading – reading newspapers, magazines and novels.

For younger learners, being a good reader means being a good learner.  Here are some ways you can help your child to become a better reader.

  • Read to your child every day
Hearing words read out loud improves a child’s own grasp of language.  Start early – just because your child can’t talk yet, doesn’t mean they don’t learn from you reading to them.  Children don’t just wake up one morning and start talking, they learn language all the time – especially from their Mums and Dads.

  • Have something your child can read everywhere
If children have books and comics to pick up and read, they will do.  They will soon find out that reading is fun and want to read more and more.  Encourage by example, and by providing things they can read.

  • Have a time when all the family sit down to read
It’s sometimes difficult for anybody to find space and peace and quiet to sit and read.  If everybody in the family sits down together, reading becomes easier – children enjoy it – they see their brothers and sisters enjoying it, and they don’t have to isolate themselves in their rooms to enjoy reading.

  • Encourage your child to read with activities
Never miss an opportunity to encourage children to read.  Play word games in the house – on the way to the mall – in the mall – everywhere.  Children will soon pick up clues to where to look to find information, and that’s vital to anyone these days.

  • Get into the habit of visiting the library
Libraries used to be dull and dusty places – not anymore – now libraries are places where children can enjoy choosing books while their parents do the same.  Reading then becomes something that shows a child she is growing up.

  • Watch your child’s progress and learn about how they learn to read
Visit your child’s school – learn what they have to be able to do at each stage of their education.  This will have several important effects – it will show them that you are interested in their schooling, and it will keep you in touch with where they are and whether or not they are on target at school.

  • Watch out for any problems your child your child has with reading
Teachers with large classes of children reading can miss problems one child is having.  Have your child read to you and listen out for pronunciation problems or difficulties with certain sounds, words, or consonant clusters.

  • Get professional help quickly if there are problems
If you detect a problem, try to remedy it, but if you suspect your child has some form of dyslexia, for example, get professional help.  Don’t let your child suffer from something that will hinder her progress at school.

  • Use different ways of showing your child written text
These days, words are all over the place – on advertising hoardings, on products, and on their pc – use those places to help your child identify what they need to learn and what they don’t.  Looking at the ingredients on a packet of breakfast cereal, for example,  will help children to learn more about how they can stay healthy.
  • Be enthusiastic about your child’s reading
Show your child that you are pleased how well they are reading – often it is only their teacher who seems to show this – giving praise where it is deserved works wonders for a child’s confidence.

Between 5% and 15% of school-aged children are behind when it comes to reading – don’t let your child fall into that category – give them the chances they need and deserve – help them to read well.
Robert L. Fielding


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