Monday, 18 November 2013

Deciphering the code - helping your child to read!

Not many adults can remember when or how they learned to read. It's just something that happens over time - there's no definitive day or milestone marker because it's a gradual process in which everyone is different!

My children go to a bi-lingual school where from an early age they are immersed in the Welsh language and English is only introduced into their school life at age 6 when they start Class 2 (the least academic year of Key Stage 1). At home though, we read both Welsh and English books - fact and fiction!

I thought I'd share with you some of our tips to help you to help your child to read - the calm and relaxed way!
  1. When your child is reading to you, develop a 'secret code' for the times when they get stuck on a word. Not many children like to say that they don't know something and if you jump in with the correct word each time there's a pause your child will become frustrated that you are just reading the book for them, so when my son is stuck on a word, he does a little *cough* and I know that's the sign to help 'sound out' the word.
  2. When you are 'sounding out' a word or spelling something for them to write, use the phonetic alphabet rather than the 'traditional' alphabet sung in the song, 'A, B, C, D, E, F, G....' and join letters together that belong together, e.g. 'ph' 'tr' 'bl', etc.
  3. Talk about words in other places not just books. When out and about, read sign posts, names of houses, letters/numbers on car registration plates - you can even read the backs of food packets like cereal boxes at breakfast time!
  4. Play 'I Spy'! With younger children, it's easier to start with 'I spy with my little eye, something that is coloured red!' as this still develops their language skills, then move on to letters once they have got a grasp of the phonetic alphabet although you may have to be a bit lenient with words such as 'phone' and 'knife to start with!
  5. Let them choose the same old book time and time again; familiarity is good for your child as they will learn the story pattern and then match the words to the story as they become familiar and recognizable to them. 'Slinky Malinki Open the Door' is a firm favourite in our house, for both children! (Although I love 'Stick Man'!)
I hope these couple of tips help you on your journey with your children - have you got any tips of your own to help others? Share below!