Welcome to part 3 of the Learning to Read Series!
You can seee previous parts of the series here~
Part 1- Making Books Accessible
Part 3- Follow your child’s lead~ don’t push. The best way to instill a love of reading is just by listening to your child. No matter what stage of reading they are in~ like Theo who just enjoys looking at the pictures or having the same board book read to him 20 times, or Lucy who’s become quite fluent- don’t push them. Really pay attention to the cues they are giving you.
Sometimes Theo can sit and have many books read to him, but usually his limit is one or two. As soon as he begins to push the book away or crawl out of my lap, I know he’s done. Other times he just wants to talk about the same page in a book over and over. If I try to turn the page, he gets frustrated so I just go with his interest and talk to him about the page. Lately, it’s been a page in his truck book. We make the sounds of the truck and point to different parts of the truck or things in the picture.
Now that Lucy has become a fluent reader, it’s just so exciting to listen to her read! But, many times she prefers to be read to rather than to read to us. I never push her to read aloud if she’s not in the mood because I don’t want her to ever view reading as a chore.
Some kids respond to direction and instruction, some do not. Pay attention to your child and follow their lead. As Lucy was really beginning to figure out how to decode words and reading to me, I was so thrilled to be able to teach her all the reading strategies that would help her continue to grow in reading. However, Lucy was not so thrilled to be directly instructed. When she got stuck on a long word, I showed her how to chunk it up into smaller, more manageable syllables. Or, after she read a word incorrectly, I would ask her if it made sense. I did all the “teacher” things with her I used to do with my students at school. But, at home, this really turned her off. Sometimes she would even shut the book and stop reading.
The last thing I wanted to do was destroy her love of reading. Instead, I made a mental note of miscues she was making, and later, when I was reading aloud to her, I would model the strategies she was needing. “Wow, Lucy! Look at this word- it’s so long! I bet if I covered up the end of the word, I could sound out the beginning. Then, I can do the same for sounding out the end of the word.” Or “Did you hear what I just read?! That didn’t make sense! I’m going to go back and try to figure that out.” I was basically pretending to teach myself in front of Lucy. This has worked wonders with her.
The lesson my kids have taught me is to just pay attention to them. By watching and listening to them, I have been able to figure out the best way to encourage reading in each of them. Reading really is developmental~ there is no need to rush it! I believe the best thing a parent can do at home to prepare their child for school is to make reading books something fun! (The next most important thing is developing their phonemic awareness- another upcoming post in the series!) If they begin Kindergarten loving books and feeling confident around them, you have cleared the way for them to take off and read!
Can’t believe we’ve gone from this (above) to this (below) so quickly! Time flies!
More from the Learning to Read Series:
Part 1- Making Books Accessible
Part 3- Following Your Child’s Lead
Part 5- Maintaining an Interest in Books