Speech Pathologist Vickie Leung is the former director of the Multi-Lit Literacy Centre at Macquarie University. Here she provides great at-home strategies for helping your child learn to read.
When we are learning a new skill, for example karate, some people will pick up the basics easily and become a master at that task, while others require someone to repeatedly show them and guide them through the steps.
This applies to children when they are learning to read.
Some children develop reading skills through schooling alone, while for some struggling readers, learning to read isn’t intuitive and they need further instruction from teachers, teacher’s aides, parents or health professionals.
Research tells us that, prior to being able to read, children must have:
The Australian Government’s National Literacy and Numeracy website tells us ‘how well children do at school has a lot to do with what happens at home’.
As a parent, you can help support your child’s early literacy, such as reading and writing skills at home by reading to your children and providing specific strategies when your child is struggling.
Here are 4 strategies you can trial at home when you’re reading together and your child is stuck on a difficult word.
Raising awareness about whether the sentence sounds plausible or correct. For example, when your child mis-reads the word ‘rubbed’ you could say He rumbled his eyes. Does that make sense? Rumbled his eyes? Check the word starting with ‘r’
When your child discovers a ‘road block’ in the middle of a sentence and can’t seem to move past a particularly tricky word, suggest that he or she reads from the beginning of the sentence to get a running start. For example, if your child has stumbled over the words ‘he jumped in the water and splashed’, you could say Try that sentence again from ‘jumped’, have another go at that word
By giving your child the answer, you spend less time prompting your child and they are more likely to gain a better understanding of what they are reading.
Specific praise, though, is always best because your child receive positive feedback that is likely to make them want to practice that skill again. Some ideas for specific praise include:
The key to progress is a happy and motivated learner.
Remember to keep all your reading goals achievable for your child and make activities a positive experience by being generous and sincere with praise.
By encouraging a positive learning environment at home, you can help your child progress further in their schooling.
If you have any concerns about your child’s reading skills, perhaps they are a slow progress reader who has been stuck on a particular reading level for a long time, make an appointment to talk to your child’s school teacher, paediatrician or a Speech Pathologist who has training and experience in the area of literacy.
Kids First’s speech pathologists have helped hundreds of children to learn to read well.
Find out more about what we do by clicking on the link below, or call (02) 9938 5419 to discuss your child’s needs.