Sunday, April 3, 2011

Anxious to make a reader

Many parents came to me this weekend with concerns about their preschooler not making specific advancements in reading. Examples were they didn't know all of their letters, they didn't recognize little words, they had no interest in trying to read on their own etc... My answer to these questions was quite similar. Reading is a process not unlike other human processes such as walking, riding a bike etc...The truth is that people are ready to read, or even ready for specific readiness knowledge at different times. If your child is not learning hierarchical pieces in the reading process- letters, chunks, words, despite your time in teaching them, it is highly possible, no, highly probable that your child is not yet ready. It isn't even a maturity issue. Readiness supercedes even maturity. My advice is this is your concern is to back down on the formal instruction and begin doing more play with phonemic awareness: silly songs, making letter characters (draw a letter on a page and make a creature or other thing out of that letter), fun rhyming, environmental print (I'll bet they can "read" McDonalds!), and stop putting the pressure on yourself and your child. Read books together just for fun and make sure you are having genuine conversations with your child about your reading. This will build vocabulary and comprehension in a non-threating environment. Gently work your way back to some minimal instruction. Sometimes going back several steps gets you miles further in the long run.  

Happy reading!


1 comment:

  1. Samuel can read tons of words. He can read the words MAT, CAT, and HAT. Put those words in a sentence and he suddenly can not read them. Is this nerves and intimidation over reading a sentence? I am backing down and not forcing him to read them in sentence form, but I am confused at the sudden road bump. Help!