Saturday

How Do Children Learn to Read?


Here's a picture of my oldest son.

He's one of three children. I read to him from the time he was a baby. He was reading before he started school. If I only had one child, I could've been fooled into thinking all parents had to do is read to their children to turn them into successful readers. He has twin siblings. My other two children were read to just as much, but they didn't learn to read as easily. In fact one struggled a lot.

I recently found an amazing resource for parents. It's Nemours Reading Bright Start! There are book recommendations and activities for all ages. 

My other advice is for parents is to get their children help with reading if they fall behind in reading by first grade. One on one help is the most effective way to help a struggling reader. Tutoring is a good option, but usually expensive and time consuming. Another option is online help. I have some online reading programs I highly recommend.

Children will learn to read at their own pace and make the connections needed with experience. Parents can help their children learn to read by exposing children to language, good books, and interacting in ways recommended by Nemours Reading Bright Start.


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Learning to Write Letters with Finger Paint

Children will attempt to write letters while scribbling and drawing at an early age. My first child, Eric, started making many of his letters from the bottom up. It was difficult to get him to start writing his lowercase "r" in his name correctly. It wasn't that big of a deal, but unlearning something takes time and can cause frustration.


Try finger paint, freezer paper, and pointer fingers to make learning to write letters fun.  
 

Here are some things to practice before a child is ready to write letters.
1. Practice making lines from the top to the bottom.
2. Practice making circles from the left to the right. Many letters like c, o, d, a, and g start at the 2:00 position of a circle and move to the left. (Making smiley faces and having a child follow your finger is fun.)
3. Practice making candy canes that look like the letter f or the tail of the letter g.
4. Let your child be creative and have fun making lines and pictures with finger paint.


There are a few different styles of printing. If you are homeschooling, you can choose your favorite style to teach. If you are sending your child to school, it would be wise to check what style of handwriting will be taught. My children's school district teaches manuscript handwriting or D' Nealian.

Handwriting Tips from Therapy Street for Kids
 Here's a link to a previous post that includes videos showing how to form letters using D'Nealian style handwriting. 



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Thursday

Listen to Your Child Read Everyday!


Helping a child learn to read is easier than most parents think.
 

Find books that are at your child's reading level. If your child makes a mistake or takes a long time to sound out more than one in ten words, the book your child is reading is at frustration level. Easier books should be chosen.

Be patient.
Let your child know you are his or her audience.
You expect the story you hear to make sense, so you expect your child to fix anything that is confusing.


You can explain it like this. As you listen to a story there's a movie playing in your head. If something is not read correctly, the movie in your head gets fuzzy or stops. Ask your child to make a movie in his or her head too.

Hopefully your child will fix his or her reading or ask for help when something stops making sense. Let your child know if something didn't make sense to you. Give your child time to use and combine reading skills. Wait for your child to ask for help before pointing out a mistake or jumping in to show how to read a word.

It's okay to tell your child a word sometimes. You can point out letter sounds or ask your child to look at pictures and think about what might make sense, but you don't have to do it every time. You want to keep the flow of the story going, so your child's movie doesn't stop.
this lens' photo 
Many children learn to read easily after a little instruction and being read to early and often. About thirty percent of children struggle. If a child starts to fall behind in reading and attends school, parents should not wait to get help for their child. School is all about reading. Even in math, children have to read story problems and directions. If a child falls behind in reading, they begin to feel stupid. Every day it gets worse. I've seen this first hand, and it breaks my heart.

Please visit my Parent and Child Reading Assistance website for more information about teaching reading.


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Wednesday

World Read Aloud Day is March 5, 2014

I'm proud to announce another year hosting an event at my local library for World Read Aloud Day.
I'm giving away an autographed copy of Too Pickley by Jean Reidy and bookmarks.



If you don't know about LitWorld or World Read Aloud Day, I encourage you to check out their site, mission, and accomplishments.

You can celebrate World Read Aloud Day in big or small ways.

Look for activities on LitWorld's site.

The first year I learned about World Read Aloud Day, I told my kids the unbelievable number of people in our world that are unable to read, and we had a special read aloud time that night.

My kids have helped me celebrate in the past two years.  We've had a lot of fun. Check out what we've done. Maybe next year, or even this year, you'll want to be a World Read Aloud Day Ambassador.
2012 World Read Aloud Day Celebration Post
2013 World Read Aloud Day Celebration Post




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Tuesday

Books for Early Readers



Choosing high quality books with just the right difficulty for early readers helps get them a good start with reading. I've tutored children with reading and have used these books with students.

Phonics Books -
The Now I'm Reading Series by Nora Gaydos is a great series to introduce and practice phonics. The colorful illustrations, fun animal characters, and surprise endings encourage children to read these books multiple times. Re-reading books is one of the best ways to help early readers become successful and transfer reading skills to new books.




Easy to Read Books -
The following search boxes include books that have some repeated phrases, easy words, and strong picture clues.
 




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Thursday

Encourage Kids to Read in a Comfortable Place

Here are a few ideas to create fun and comfortable places to encourage more reading in your house.


I just found some of the coolest indoor swings.
Of course I thought, "What a fun place for a child to read." I'm an affiliate with Amazon, so I'm going to link to my favorite swings. Just click on the pictures to check out the reviews and descriptions.







Indoor tents are great places to read.




Add a little comfort. . .



Early readers benefit from reading favorite books many times. I wrote a previous post about creating a collection of favorite books you may want to check out. Check out my Amazon Store if you are searching for some good books for your kids.


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