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20 Questions, Rhymes, and Pyramids

15 Dec

Last week I talked a little bit about how spelling and reading hold hands–how they are interdependent. This week I thought I would talk just a little about learning to read and using a reading skills pyramid which I also mentioned briefly last week.

Teaching your child to read involves a sequence of steps that must be followed in order for the child to be successful. Reading does not come naturally, it must be learned. Kids need strong listening and speaking skills. Use dramatic play, read rhymes, sing songs, or play a game of 20 questions with your child. These are all fun ways to increase both of these skills. Make sure your child understands that print carries a message–people read text not pictures. Have your child play with the alphabet and experiment with sounds. Use magnetic letters, or paper and crayons for writing. Try alphabet books and CD-ROM reading programs. Play phonics games. A wonderful place to start is with the letters and sounds in your child’s name. Or, ask her to tell you all the “b” words on the dinner table (for example, bread, beans, bacon).

Stories influence children’s learning for life. Some research suggests the more stories children hear before entering school, the more likely they will be successful academically. Listening to books benefits their vocabulary and comprehension. For the child who can read, try shared reading–you read a sentence or paragraph and have them read a sentence or paragraph aloud. Make reading fun by playing reading games in the car–read license plates, billboards…Spot something unusual and make a short story or rhyme about it. Begin a story and have someone else continue the story based on something they see out of the car window. Find something by looking out of the car window, then have each person in the car come up with a rhyming word.

The Reading Skills Pyramid visually depicts the patterns of concept acquisition that children follow in becoming successful readers up through third grade. This guide helps take the guess work out for you, the parent.

Most of all, I guess I want to express how much I think you can and should make reading and learning to read fun for you and your child–even if it means having a slumber party in which you both stay up all night reading with the flashlight and munching on popcorn!

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