Ready—Set—Read! Coaching Parents to Encourage Young Readers

February 7, 2008 at 3:57 am | Posted in children, dads, Families, marriage, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Self Esteem, spirituality, toddlers | Leave a comment
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Coaches Corner by Dr. Caron Goode of Coaching Parents

As we all know, reading is fundamental. Reading makes it possible for children to learn, grow, and discover the world around them.

There are four steps children take to becoming readers:

  1. In the first step, they are known as pre-readers. Pre-readers like to look at books and behave like a reader. In this stage, your child begins to understand how text works and can retell a story from memory.
  2. Next, she becomes an emerging reader. At this point, she is ready to be taught how to read. She begins to match written words to spoken ones, and can identify simple words in text.
  3. From here, she develops into an early reader. As an early reader, she is more confident of her ability and capacity to learn. She recognizes more words and understands their relationship to language sounds.
  4. The last phase is that of a fluent reader. The fluent reader can read a variety of materials and relate to the information.  Once your child reaches this stage, her reading foundation is in place.

Six Ways to Encourage Young Readers

1) Start With Language. Language sounds are the basis for reading skills. Children learn these sounds by listening to you converse. Every time you talk with your child you are strengthening this understanding. You can improve her sound recognition in a number of ways including: 

  • Telling stories
  • Asking questions
  • Singing songs
  • Playing word games
  • Pointing to words as you read them

2) Bring on the Fun. Story time should never be a boring time! Try your best to make reading together relaxing, enjoyable, and above all fun! Helping your child experience reading as a pleasure is as easy as:

  • Bring the story to life with dramatic inflection
  • Using different voices for different characters
  • Taking turns acting out the story
  • Choosing books filled with repetition so your child can “read” along
  • Making going to the library an adventure

3) Book Report. When you talk to your child about books, it shows her you place value on them. It also helps her strengthen her vocabulary, reading comprehension, and critical thinking. You can accomplish this by:

  • Talking about treasured childhood stories
  • Asking what type of books she enjoys most
  • Before reading a book, ask her to tell you a story based on the cover
  • Asking her what she would do if she were the main character
  • Asking her questions about the story and encouraging her to do the same

4)  Everyday Reading. There is a lot of reading involved in everyday living. Turn this fact into an opportunity to read out loud. This will help your child practice sound recognition and develop reading skills. You can do this when you:

  • Read road signs and billboards
  • Read food labels at the grocery store
  • Look up words in the dictionary
  • Read letters or emails
  • Refer to a written recipe while cooking

5)  Put on Your Listening Ears.  Just like talking about books, listening to your child read aloud shows you value reading. It also demonstrates that you believe in her abilities and support her efforts. When you listen, be sure to:

  • Show your interest and enjoyment
  • Listen without interrupting
  • Let your child figure out words on her own and learn from her mistakes
  • Take turns reading with beginners
  • Encourage her to listen to herself read 

6)  The 3 P’s—Patience, Praise, and Pride. As with everything, it will take your child a bit of time to develop her reading skills. Be patient as she reads, makes mistakes, and learns. Always demonstrate how proud you are of her accomplishments, and remember your praise means everything to her.

About the Author:  Caron Goode’s (EdD) insights are drawn from her fifteen years in private psychotherapy practice and thirty years of experience in the fields of education, personal empowerment, and health and wellness. She is the author of ten books (www.inspiredparenting.net) and the founder of the Academy for Coaching Parents,(www.acpi.biz) a training program for parents & professionals who wish to mentor other parents. A mom and step-mom, she and her husband live in Ft. Worth, Texas. Reach her at carongoode@mac.com.

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