How to teach my child to read

As parents or caregivers we want the best for our kids. We teach them so many different skills over the course of childhood. Practicing self-care, how to tie shoes, safety, and more. It is only natural that we also want to prepare them for school and the knowledge they will need to succeed when they walk through those double doors into kindergarten. Reading is no different, yet I often see parents looking for DVD’s, flashcards, Apps, and computer programs to shore up literacy skills. In this post I will show you low-tech, low-cost methods to build future readers.

As parents we foster independence

Why don’t apps, TV and computer programs work?

TV and technology aren’t the evil articles and click-bait posts would have you believe, yet, there is a time and a place for media. As a tool for pre-literacy learning, the research shows children are better served playing, reading, talking, and singing.

TV puts all of our brains in a passive state. While we watch, it is almost like a dream. Our brains are not engaged as they would be when we are reading or playing. Research shows that children who watch two or more hours of television a day can have a delay in speech, trouble hearing the different parts of a word, and are more likely to develop ADHD and other attention disorders. (http://unitedwayfd.org/reading-view-page.php?page=effects-on-reading)

We help our kids make sense of the world

What does work?

Talking, singing, reading and playing. These are the foundational blocks for early reading success. Conversation and play creates a learning environment where children build vocabularies and explore the world around them through their senses.

We provide a space space for our children to explore

Any normal, every day activity is an opportunity to learn. Going to the grocery store? Set up a scavenger hunt grocery list. Your child might not be able to read the words on the page, but you can have them find an item you tell them and when you get to that section you can show how the word on the page is the same as the word on the product. The same for driving in the car on the way to pick up a sibling from school or going into a store. There are words all around us and it is a great way to engage our kids in a text-rich environment.

Where is the proof?

From Reading Rockets

Show me how?

Reading Rockets is a fantastic sight for educators and parents. They have helpful videos, parent tips and more. Below is a video on how to help your child recognize letters.

From Reading Rockets

Building Future Readers is here to help

Would you like tailored reading plans and activities made just for your child? Email me at jessica.n.smith@gmail.com and see how I can help build your child into a future reader.

The pre-literacy skills Building Future Readers activities are based on

Building Future Writers

Play Matters to reading success

Rock Wall

We’ve talked a lot about reading in this blog and I was reminded at a work training this week that not only do we prepare our kids to become future readers, but we prepare them to become future writers as well.

I was under the misconception that writing was all about fine motor skills. I did a lot with my kids to strengthen their pincer grasp, but I didn’t know how important shoulder, back and forearm strength was for future handwriting success.

This workshop opened my eyes to a whole new level of early literacy success.

Some of the ideas I share below came from the workshop and others came from a great website called Your Therapy Source: Gross Motor Skills and Handwriting. I’ve put it in a graphic format so you can print it out and remind yourself to add play into your day to help your child develop the muscles he needs to become a strong handwriter.

Develop Future Writers

This afternoon go find a park and try out some of the activities, not only will you and your child spend some quality time together, the play will actually build the arm and hand strength needed to be a successful student.Hanging

There are also great blog posts about how handwriting develops.

Developmental Progression of Handwriting Skills at Mama OT

Activities to Practice Handwriting Skills at Home at Growing Hands on Kids

What other gross motor skills have you used to build shoulder, back, and arm muscles for writing?

What Makes a Reader?

On my Facebook feed yesterday, there was a link to an article on a new study published by the journal Developmental Psychology. The study found that children who find reading success use something called “inventive spelling” as she writes. Find a link to the full article here.

WHAT IS INVENTIVE SPELLING?

Inventive spelling is how a child writes the words he hears. Children use the sounds they here to create the words on the page. I often see this in my own children’s writing work when they create stories. School will often be written as skul or skl. As the child matures, according to the study, the consonant and vowel sounds develop.

In the Children’s House in the Montessori classroom, this type of invented spelling is encouraged through the work, the moveable alphabet. The children use wooden letters and place them on a large mat, lined like a piece of paper. Children start by placing the letters on the mat, writing single words. Then stories. After the letters are placed on the mat, they will copy what they see onto a piece of paper and illustrate the story. Reinforcing hand strength, reading comprehension and phonological awareness.

The large takeaway from this study is memorizing sight words does not lead to reading success. The exploration of reading and words by the child and child directed, however does.

How to encourage “invented spelling”

  1. Have a lot of writing material available. No matter where you are, it is easy to carry a small notebook and pencil with you. In the car, waiting in line at the grocery store, or waiting for your child’s turn at the doctor’s office, have a notebook and pencil at the ready. Have her write down what she sees or a story about what will happen.
  2. Chalkboards work too. Chalkboards are great for many reasons. But I like the versatility of them. Children can use chalk, or even their fingers to form letters and words in the dust.
  3. Foam letters. Even if your child hasn’t mastered writing, he can use foam letters to form words and stories.
  4. Don’t worry about correcting or editing the words. At this stage your child is learning how words are put together and they sounds he hears. All of this leads to developing the skills he needs to become a future reader. Spelling comes later!

Take a look at the article. There are a lot of great tips on how to further encourage and build your child’s love for reading!