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Giving Your Child a Head-Start with Reading

Giving Your Child a Head-Start with Reading

The ability to read is the most valuable skill for a person to have. In educational terms, when a child is confident in reading it enhances every other area of their education. For dyslexic children, being unable to read confidently holds them back in other areas, thus pulling them further back- if this continues a child who had a high IQ to begin with sees their IQ drop.

I struggled with reading at school- I found it so frustrating, even as a five year old. I have vivid memories of the stuggles through primary school, as well as the deep sense of shame and fear not being as good as the rest of the class- I think these memories helped inform my decision to homeschool. My own struggles with reading, also made me determined to give my own children the best chance to be good readers. From when The Girl was very young I researched the best methods of teaching reading, I discovered along the way my generation probably had one of the worst experiences in reading education- we were given the sight word method, and for me it was like guessing! Thankfully the tide has turned back to the wisdom of Phonics. The Jedi Boy, has benefited from the logical, concise method given in Jolly Phonics (I think reading genetics have favoured The Girl, and she would have been fine either way!)

Despite the struggles some children have with reading, scientists believe that the ability to read is a fundamental brain function, we need to find the keys to unlocking it! There are ways to help a child towards reading success, even from infancy. Reading is the natural progression in language skills. So as soon as a baby is born their brain is building the connections later required in reading.

Ways to Prepare a Child for Reading

    1. Read to the child. Reading to a child from as early on as possible, is proven to be one of the most beneficial activities for a child. Including rhyming verse in a child’s book selection will help with phonetic awareness. Reading also nurtures a natural love of books.
    2. Singing! Every culture, throughout history has a tradition of nursery rhymes and lullabies for babies and young children. Singing with a child has been shown to be even more beneficial to the brain development of language skills than reading. Sadly in modern western culture the tradition of singing to children has been in decline in the last 20 years.
    3.Creating a text rich environment. If a child is use to seeing books in her environment, and sees her parents reading, then that child is more likely to be interested in books.
    4. Matching, sorting activities. Activities which involve looking for patterns, and matching, train the brain in this area. These are skills that the brain can then utilise later when learning the alphabet and reading. This is why puzzles are good for young children.
    5. Talk, talk, talk. Talking with young children builds their vocabulary. Discuss things you see, and places you visit.

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