How to raise a reader

2011-04-21 00:00

WE all want our children to succeed and do well at school. However, many people seem to be under a misconception that when children turn six and start school that they are suddenly endowed with some mysterious ability, by their superhuman teacher, to suddenly be able to read.

Parents then wonder why one child, who seems no smarter than their child, seems to begin reading overnight and is flying through the readers. These children seem to be naturally gifted. If we take a closer look at these top reading children you’ll often find that they have simply had a greater input from an early age. They have developed all their pre-reading skills and are now ready to jump right into reading. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the child who has sat in front of the television or walked the streets for the past six years, with no adult input or stimulation, and now, as they enter the Grade 1 classroom they are in fact just beginning their prereading journey. This results in them not yet being ready to learn to read and so they fall behind.

Parents often feel intimidated by the concept of introducing prereading skills to their children. However, they are in fact in the best position to introduce these to their children. This is simply because they know their own children and can slip these skills into their everyday lives without it having to become an extramural that costs you excessive amounts of time and money.

The development of prereading skills can be divided into three main cate-gories.

• Visual skills — these train a child’s eyes to see, recognise and process what they need to see and ignore what they don’t need to.

• Auditory skills — these train a child’s ears to hear what is really being said and to hone in on what they need to hear.

• General skills — these are other physical and cognitive skills that work together to ensure that a child reaches his or her full potential.

The development of each of these skills is very broad and yet there are a few fundamental activities you can incorporate that will set your child on the right path.

To help develop their visual skills, train your child to stop and really look at things.

This does not mean that we simply point out things around them but that we stop and take time to engage with the world around us. When your child brings you a leaf or a feather, stop what you are doing and take time to look at it. Discuss the colours, how it feels and where they think it came from. Then put it somewhere special so that they can show a relative­ later in the day. This causes them to really take time to look at the object and develop a host of visual skills.

As we help train our children to use their ears and develop their auditory skills we need to learn to talk slowly and thoughtfully. Read stories and poetry to them from birth and bring their attention to sounds around them. Stop and listen to the bird singing, or the truck going past. This trains them to make sense of the sounds around them rather than block them all out.

There are a host of other preschool skills that a child needs to develop but by training their visual and auditory skills to be sharp and attentive we help ensure that they are in fact school ready.

• Joanne Madgwick is a parenting and educational consultant. Find out more about her at www.susa-parentcenter. com

Related article: Why do you read?

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.