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!