The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

One Way to Teach Reading to Young Children

on January 29, 2020

As a successful reading teacher for first graders, I can’t help being bothered by the fact that older students in many schools have difficulty with reading. Apparently, it takes so much time and hard work for them that many leave school without becoming readers. As a result, they wind up doing as little reading as possible for the rest of their lives and never have well- paying jobs or intelligent friends. In my opinion, this happens when reading doesn’t begin at home

Ideally, the reading process begins at home when young children become aware of written language. One good way to make that happen is for parents to read aloud to their children. But an even better way is for parents to get the habit of posting written labels around the house and encourage their children to identify them. For example, they can put labels of children’s clothes on drawers in the bedroom or on toy boxes in the living room. With such actions children’s fluency will develop quickly and become strong. They will also get them to want more written symbols around the house and to start making their own messages. And because those symbols are made of paper they will be easy to change or remove when no longer needed . 

In addition, parents won’t need to demand that their children read the words written. That will happen when they are interested. For example, a child might ask, “Where are my socks, Mom?”, and all you would have to say is “look for the labeled sock drawer in your bedroom”. Even if he has to open several drawers to find the socks, he will eventually locate them and remember where to look the next time around. Some children may also want to have names written on the drinking cups or seats at the dining table, and that’ would be great. Parents can also emphasize the importance of such games by asking their children to bring them certain items that are not identified by pictures, just words. 

Another good process for parents to use in order to help their children become readers, is reading aloud to them regularly at times when they want to be entertained, and will join you in reciting a poem or singing a song. When you read to children it is also important to let them see the written words as you speak them. 

History shows that learning to read and write are natural processes for children involved with reading at home. But parents shouldn’t demand that they read and write alone. Instead they should introduce reading as a type of game to be played with others.

Ultimately, we all must see reading as a normal human development. Birds, cats, dogs, and other animals learn early to communicate with their offspring, so why shouldn’t parents do the same? Most children will become healthy, smart and happy when they learn to speak for themselves; and they soon come to understand many written words. Although life is complicated, it is easy for children to learn when their parents communicate with them in both speaking and written language..

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