Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Learn To Read! Does Your Child Need Help?

learn to read

Learn To Read! Does Your Child Need Help?

Learning to read is not a natural skill that a child is born with. Until recent years, reading was thought to develop naturally when a child was ready, or "mature" enough. Today, it is understood that children do not learn to read spontaneously on their own. Many parents think that if their child is intelligent, curious and they read to them a lot, they will learn how to read without any problems. But evidence does not lead educators to accept these assumptions.

To learn to read, children must grasp certain skills necessary for reading. And those reading skills need to be taught explictly. No doubt, there will always be a small percentage of children who manage to learn to read without much explicit instruction. Those children, whether we recognize it or not, are able to teach themselves to read. The important thing to recognize here is that there is teaching involved. Reading is not an innate skill that we are born with. For all but a few children, learning to read requires explicit instruction. Learning to read well means mastering the major components of reading instruction:
  • phonemic (or sound unit) awareness
  • phonics
  • sounding out
  • blending
So yes, to learn to read, your child does need help. Further, if a child enter the first grade without knowing how to read, this is not a cause for concern. The ideal window of opportunity for learning to read is at 4 to 6 years old. However, this does not mean that a 6 year old should be reading texts. It means that this age range is the right time for learning the reading skills that build a student up to the point that he can read texts fluently. Beyond the age of 6 or 7, teaching a child to read is about catching up. As a parent, you should make the effort to be aware of where your child is developmentally. By the age of 4-6, they should be able to identify letters, show interest in reading, complete sentences in familiar bedtime stories, etc. Not enough emphasis can be placed on how important it is for a child to develop reading fluency. If they don't read fluently, the chances for success, in terms of job skills, financial stability, and academic achievement are greatly deminished. Be aware that for most poor readers, early intervention programs that combine instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, reading fluency, and reading comprehension can increase reading skills to average reading levels.
About the Author:
Good phonics software programs are available on the Internet and can help ensure that a child gets off to the right start in learning to read.
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