Tips and Tools To Help Children Become Ready to Learn to Read

Jan 24


Michael Levy

Michael Levy

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Fostering, then determining, reading readiness is a complex task for parents and homeschool teachers. Here we look at some of the most important factors that can influence the point when a child is fully prepared to participate in a formal learning to read program.


According to experts in child development,Tips and Tools To Help Children Become Ready to Learn to Read Articles children who have acquired important reading readiness skills are better prepared for scholastic success than kids who have not mastered the basics of reading. But what, exactly, constitutes reading readiness?

In the view of many experts, reading readiness includes:

* "The teachable moment for reading: Just about the time that the student seems most ready to learn how to read." (See Dechant, Emerald. 1991.Understanding and teaching reading: An interactive model. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.)

* "A transition extending over several months during which time the child (student) gradually changes from a non-reader to a beginning reader. In this case the readiness program couples the (student's) past learning with new learning and brings the (student), gradually, through the transition." (From Clay, M. M. 1992. Becoming literate: The construction of inner control. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.)

The Ready to Read Child

Simply put, reading readiness is the point at which a child is academically, emotionally, and mentally prepared to read. Being ready to read means that the child has the skills that he or she needs to understand the concepts of reading. It also means that the child is able to comprehend what he or she reads.

The point of early literacy programs is that they prepare children to read. In the homeschooling environment, this means reading to young children, sharing verbal stories with children to spark their imaginations, and setting a good example for children by reading yourself.

Interestingly, early literacy, or reading readiness, is often a "program" that comes naturally, especially to the parent that emphasizes the importance of education. Home school educators generally believe that learning is a lifelong process and that readying children for learning is as important as the act of learning itself. For this reason, reading readiness is a process that occurs rather naturally within the homeschooling environment.

Preparing Children to Read

There are several strategies that can help parents and home school educators prepare young children to read. Just as significantly, children should have easy access to reading material. From colorful and engrossing early reader books, to TV programs that include elementary text- reading opportunities, and even the back of a cereal box, children tend to blossom when they have been surrounded by fun opportunities to read.

Reading opportunities present themselves in the oddest of places. Some parents like to play word games with their children while driving. Others help their children prepare to read by locating letters on a page to teach their child letter-recognition. Still others employ traditional methods such as taking the time to read together for a few minutes each day.

Although children appear to be only "looking at the pictures" when reading with an adult or older child, they are also inadvertently learning about words, sounds, and sentence structure.

Children also need a great deal of guidance as they learn the basics of reading. Although every parent would like to believe that his or her child is a natural genius, the fact is that even a genius needs help getting started. That's why it's important to make sure that children have help with beginning reading concepts such as phonics and syllabics. Taking the time to sit with a child and read with him or her can make all the difference in the world.