Love of Learning: Reading
Reading is another subject that children struggle with. The Foundational Skills Assessment results for Nanaimo shows 23% of students in Grade 4 and 29% Grade 7 are not yet meeting expectations. The results are similar for the whole of Vancouver Island (http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reporting/district.php)
What makes reading so difficult? There are several factors such as phonemic awareness (letter sounds), exposure to reading/books, and /or a language based learning disability such as dyslexia. I believe that part of the problem is because children are not taught to love reading, rather that reading is something they “MUST” do and it can be take “HARD” work and be “BORING”.
Being a teacher, I thought my children should have come out of my womb knowing how to read! When my son’s grade three teacher called me in to suggest that there were comprehension issues with my son and that perhaps we might need to consider that there was something “wrong”, I had to admit that it was simply because he wasn’t reading. How could he understand the questions asked when he wasn’t reading the material. I emphasized to the teacher that I had done everything on “the” reading checklist to ensure he would be an early reader and a veracious reader. However, my son taught me something that wasn’t on “the” checklist: I didn’t see what he wanted to read as the right readable materials. When my son and I sat down to talk about this non-reading issue and how it was starting to affect his schooling, he was able to suggest to me that graphic novels were where it was at for him. They engaged him. And guess what? He started coming to the library with me enthusiastically and whizzing through comprehension questions at school!
Some ideas for helping your child to love to learn reading:
First, explain why reading is important, fun, and rewarding. Good reading skills help you find interesting information and be very entertaining. It can enrich your life and help you learn about different people, places, cultures, or how to build a rocket ship!
Second, model reading. Spend some time every day reading to your child and helping them sound out words and letters (phonemic awareness). Have plenty of reading materials around: books, magazines, newspapers. Have them in print or electronic form. Libraries are great places to get books and the Vancouver Island Regional Library has a subscription to Zinio, one of the largest online magazine retailers. You can download and read a very large variety of magazines for free!
Games also make it fun to learn reading. The types of games you play can be tailored to the age of your child, and the complexity of the words. Try:
Word walls: write words on index cards (or print them on business card paper). If you use two sets you can put some words up on the wall, and the other use a deck. Get your child to match words from the deck to the wall.
Eye spy: words that rhyme, start with (ch – chocolate), or ends with (-ing eating). This will help children become familiar with the whole word, rather than just the beginning or the end.
Word hunt: take the index cards and place them face down. Have the child hunt for a specific word or words.
Word twister: use green painters tape to put letters on your floor, or chalk the outside area, make a twister wheel with cardboard and a t-pin. Have your child(ren) spell words with their bodies.
Word hopscotch: same idea as above, only have them spell out different words and sound out the letters as they hop.
There are also a number of online games. A quick Google search will help you find the ones that work for you.
If your child has dyslexia or other learning problem, it may be best if you work with a professional to help your child develop to their fullest.
Tutoring…With A Twist* tutors not only support learners in every subject area; we also support them with a predetermined life-skill. By helping learners develop the tools they need to succeed in the classroom, we also help them develop the tools to succeed in life.
*Services provided by With a Twist Education Ltd.