The Importance of the Early Years: Preparing Your Child for Reading Success
What does my child need to know to be ready to read and what can I do to help him at home?
Three necessary skills that your child needs to be ready to read:
Print Awareness - knowing that we read words, not by looking at the pictures and guessing words
Phonemic awareness -learning the sounds correctly and being able to manipulate the sounds
Learning the names of the alphabet. - recognizing the names of the letters
The first step is print awareness. You need to instill in your child that we read the words on the pages of the books through the sounds of the language and not by looking at the pictures. Every time you read with and for your child, use your finger to track the words paying attention to the sounds of the words, so that he becomes aware that we are reading words on the text and not by looking at the pictures. Remember we do not learn to read by looking at the pictures and guessing words.
Phonemic awareness is the next procedure. Your child must learn the speech sounds correctly and be able to manipulate the sounds. If you know how to do it, and he is old enough to learn it, you can even teach your child to connect the sounds properly so that he can start learning to read while continuously learning the other sounds; that is how we do it at Multisensory Reading Clinic; our students have started learning to read during the first hour of their sessions, but we strongly suggest to leave this skill to the professionals as there are different levels on how to connect the sounds. But there is a possibility that parents can teach the sounds correctly and you might be able to purchase the workbook for sounds from us:
Once your child has mastered the sounds, he is ready for the next level. The third step is learning the names of the alphabet. Why it is the third step? We can start learning to read by just knowing the sounds…correctly, even without the knowledge of the names of the alphabet, because learning to read is not by knowing the letters but by sounds. The names of the letters are only useful in an advanced concept of literacy instruction; thus, teaching letter names is unnecessary during the early years of learning to read. Furthermore, teaching the names and sounds of the alphabet must be taught separately for most children because it creates confusion. You should be very careful when teaching them and should correct your child if he is confused using them For example, ‘h’ is the name of the letter while the sound of the letter h is ‘ha’
How helpful are the illustrations of the books in a literacy acquisition?
After reading a page, you can examine the illustrations with your child before continuing on the next page for vocabulary development and background knowledge, such as learning the names of the objects and what would happen next to the story that you are reading. You can ask “ Can you show me where the little bear is? How about the mama bear? Why do you think this is the little bear and not the mama bear? What sound does the word bear start with?
to be continued...