Reading; How early do you start?

How to make reading a happy experience from a young age and one that is enjoyable for both you and your child.

Children of any age can appreciate the magic of a good story, even if they are not ready to recognize the written word yet. They still may be able to improve their language skills as they listen to the books that are being read to them. There are a number of different ways that parents and teachers can help a child’s love of reading and learning.

There is a wide variety of books on the market to suit different age groups, abilities and interests. This allows children to select their own reading material which will then motivate them to read more.

You may find that your child is able to read a more advanced text than the other children in their class or age group.  It is very important that children read the books that are appropriate for their ability as well as their age to ensure they remain motivated.

If you are reading to your child you could vary the tone of your voice to maintain their interest or set up something playful like a ‘reading tent’ or a ‘mini library’ where your child could go with you, or on their own, to read their books.

Reading doesn’t have to be limited to traditional stories, they may enjoy reading non-fiction books, including encyclopaedias, as well as children’s newspapers and comics, as this can stimulate their interest in reading.

Reading books with your child at night time, as part of their routine, will ensure that they associate reading with relaxation. Children can then also point out words that they are familiar with and in turn read them to you.  For those children who haven’t yet begun reading, ask them questions such as, ‘what do you think is going to happen next?’ This will help them familiarise themselves with story structures.

Take your child to the local library, local libraries sometimes hold story –time sessions and reading contests. Being surrounded by other children who love reading may be just the thing to stimulate your child’s enjoyment of reading.

How do you help teach your child?

1. Basic literacy in the early years involves letters, sounds, and words. Develop sight vocabulary. This means helping your child to recognise the shape and meaning of whole words.

2. Make them phonic aware. Help show them the link between sounds and letter patterns. e.g. pin, tin, sin, fin.

3. A child needs basic alphabet skills.

4. There is an important link between reading and copying words e.g. writing them out.

5. Help them distinguish sounds like CH and SH. This will be helped by linking reading and spelling skills.

6. Help your children read and remember a simple rhyme.

7. Play activities that will help your child learn letter sounds and spellings.

A) Play ‘I Spy’

B) Use tongue twisters e.g. she sells sea shells on the sea shore

C) Have fun with rhyming words

D) Look at things around you: e.g. sign posts, tins and packets.

Until next time, Elisa

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