Helping And Encouraging Your Child To Read

Many parents are under the impression that teaching their child to read is the responsibility of their child’s teacher.

While this is true to a certain extent, there is a lot you can do to help as a parent.

My eldest son started to recognize words from a very young age by the way they were written, e.g, he pointed to an advert in a magazine and told me “That says Boots” (it was for Boots, the chemist)  I can remember doing a similar thing myself when I was young, looking for Enid Blyton books, I would know they were written by her by the way she signed her name.

In my opinion for what it’s worth, a child is never too young to start enjoying books. Even a baby will get satisfaction from being read to whilst having a cuddle. Board books are great for babies and toddlers, as they can stand rough treatment and even being chewed. My all time favourite book for older children is “The Gruffalo” written by Julia Donaldson. It is written in rhythm, so children can often work out text for themselves. It also has amazing illustrations by Alex Scheffler. I recall a mother of a child I used to child-mind telling me that he they gone into a book shop and he picked up a copy of The Gruffalo and read it aloud all by himself! He wasn’t technically reading it, he was reciting it from memory (as I had read to him loads of times) but then reading is using memory really; isn’t it?

When reading to your child, point to the words as you go, so the child can follow.

Enroll your child in the library from a young age to encourage a love of books (after all, the library is one of the things we pay council tax for!) Libraries often also have story and music sessions, which can only help children to read. It is also worth knowing that most libraries have a selection of books for children with special needs, such as scratch and sniff and textured books for the visibly impaired. These books are often not on show for the general public, but are available if you ask a member of staff.

Let your child see you reading a book or magazine, as they often like to copy a parent . Get into the habit of reading to your child at bed time as it is a good wind down activity.

Children can be encouraged to recognize letters of the alphabet, by first learning the letters that are significant to them, such as “K” for Karen or “M” for Mummy and so on. My youngest son learned that “M” was for Mummy. One day when we visited the zoo, he pointed to the sign on a cage saying “monkey” and he shouted (rather loudly) “That says mummy.” A child I was child-minding once pointed to the “H” on the hot tap and told me, thats “H” for Hayden (the name of her Brother) and also pointed out that a road sign, saying “Park Lane”, had a “P” for Pippa (her Mum’s name  and a “K” for Karen, so she was well on her way; long before even starting school.

I hope that these suggestions will be a help, HAPPY READING TO ALL!

As always, comments/ questions are welcome.

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