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Sunday, August 9, 2009

How will my child learn to read?

Learning to read does not happen all at once. It involves a series of stages that lead, over time, to independent reading and to fluency.

The best time for children to start learning to read is when they are very young, usually at the preschool level. This is when they are best able to start developing basic reading skills.

The stages involved in learning to read are listed below.

1. The pre-reader and the beginning reader:

likes to look at books and likes to be read to

likes to behave like a reader – for example, holds books and pretends to read them

learns about words by looking at picture books and playing with blocks that have letters on them, magnetic letters, and so on

learns about words from songs, rhymes, traffic signs, and logos on packages of food

learns how text works – for example, where a story starts and finishes and which way the print proceeds

begins to understand that his or her own thoughts can be put into print

uses pictures and memory to tell and retell a story

2. The emerging reader:

is ready to receive instructions about reading

learns that text is a common way to tell a story or to convey information

begins to match written words to spoken words and to perceive relationships between sounds and letters

begins to experiment with reading, and is willing to try to say words out loud when reading simple texts

finds the pictures helpful in understanding the text, and learns that the words convey a message consistent with the pictures

3. The early reader:

develops more confidence and uses a variety of methods, such as relying on visual cues, to identify words in texts

adapts his or her reading to different kinds of texts

recognizes many words, knows a lot about reading, and is willing to try new texts

4. The fluent reader:

thinks of reading as a good thing and does it automatically

uses a variety of methods to identify words and their meanings

can read various kinds of texts and predict events in a story

relates the meaning of books to his or her own experience and knowledge, and understands what is new

It takes time to pass through each of these stages, and your child will need plenty of attention and support as he or she moves through them. You can play a leading role in helping your child acquire the reading skills he or she needs to succeed!

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