Are you helping your child learn to read or become a reader?

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Recently, the My Baby Can Read DVD program was discredited as having no effect on babies or toddlers. It was actually found that parents sharing the same high frequency words with children the same age had more of an effect on a child’s learning than the DVD series. There is and has always been undisputable research behind parent involvement in education being crucial for academic achievement.

It seems poignant to ask the question: Do parents question if reading products are research based?

Reading researchers continue to report on and uphold the longstanding claims that parent involvement in beginning reading is essential for developing children into lifelong readers and learners. Peer reviewed reading research supports that lifelong learning is contingent on parental involvement.

Young children are motivated to read and remain invested in literacy when supported with research based practices.

1.       Children want choice and ownership of what they read.

  • A beginning reader is often disinterested and unmotivated in reading due to the limited content available to beginning readers.
  • Many beginning reading and true beginning learning to read books have no substance or literary elements from which children can develop an understanding of the reading process.

2.       Children need to have meaningful discussions on literacy elements as beginning readers.

  • Children need to develop connections between what they read and their lives and experiences.
  • They need to understand reading has a purpose and connect on a personal level with text from the beginning.

3. Parental support and active participation in the beginning reading process leads to higher rates of beginning reading success.

  • Parents are a child’s first teacher.
  • A child’s first exposure to reading and literacy is dependent on a parent.
  • Children need consistent prolonged engagement with reading to gain momentum and success.
  • Parents need to model reading habits having books of varying genres in their homes.
  • Parents need to be readers sharing and modeling their love of reading consistently with their children.

4. Beginning reading programs needs to encompass predicting, discussion of content and vocabulary, as well as daily writing practice.

  • Beginning reading programs must help children develop good reading habits.
  • Beginning reading programs must provide opportunities for children to discuss and interpreting vocabulary and content within stories.
  • Beginning reading programs must provide creative opportunities with daily reading to allow for personal reactions and reflections to content.
  • Beginning reading programs must have daily opportunities for children to draw and write.

Additionally, children should not be pushed into reading before they are ready. Remember, the tortoise wins the race.

  • A child should have a strong sense of print awareness (knowing letters make up words and spaces indicate new words) before beginning a reading program.
  • A child should know the letters of the alphabet in random order before you help a child learn to read.
  • A child should know the sounds letters make in random order before you help a child learn to read.
  • A child should show signs of wanting to learn how to read such as pointing out words they know, asking what things say around them, pretend reading, and sharing that they want to learn to read.

We all become readers. Give your child time to figure out when the time is right for them and be a part of the daily process when they want to learn to read. Don't underestimate the importance of daily reading to your kids even when a child is ready for help in reading on their own.

Stepping Stones Together is a research based beginning reading program when your child is ready to take the first steps as a beginning reader with you.

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