Read­ing and your child


IT IS es­ti­mated that a sixyear-old child will know ap­prox­i­mately 8,000 root words of English. If that six-year-old knew about 50 words in 18 months, then that child would have learned nearly 8,000 words in 4 1⁄2 years, or an av­er­age of five new words per day.

Chil­dren who en­joy talk­ing of­ten make the most suc­cess­ful start to read­ing.

Re­ally lis­ten to what your child tells you. This shows how im­por­tant you think it is.

If he/she is strug­gling with words, be pa­tient and let him/her fin­ish his/her sen­tences.

Much of what you say to chil­dren con­sists of in­struc­tions. It’s good to en­cour­age longer two-way con­ver­sa­tions.

Ask­ing ques­tions about feel­ings is great to en­cour­age de­vel­op­ing ex­pres­sion.

Books are an ideal source of ideas when you need to de­velop con­ver­sa­tion with your child.


One of the most sig­nif­i­cant pe­ri­ods of learn­ing and mem­ory

de­vel­op­ment oc­curs be­tween 18 months to six years. Chil­dren have an in­creas­ingly large vo­cab­u­lary to help them ex­press their feel­ings and knowl­edge.

Cu­rios­ity is one of the big­gest drives in all learn­ing. At first, your child will be cu­ri­ous about why books mat­ter to you, and later, they’ll be cu­ri­ous about what hap­pens to the peo­ple in the story.

When you’ve fin­ished a book, go back and use the story and pic­tures to ask ques­tions and share pos­si­ble an­swers. This will boost imag­i­na­tion and cu­rios­ity.

It isn’t al­ways im­por­tant to come up with the right an­swer. It is the think­ing and won­der­ing that mat­ter, and that chil­dren’s ideas, feel­ings and rea­son­ing are taken se­ri­ously.


Chil­dren will de­velop grad­u­ally and at their own pace to­wards suc­cess­ful

read­ing. But your sup­port dur­ing pre-read­ing will help foster:

Pos­i­tive at­ti­tudes to­wards books and read­ing

Happy ex­pe­ri­ences of sto­ries and rhymes

An un­der­stand­ing of how books work

Some spe­cific pre­read­ing skills

Learn­ing to read de­pends on vis­ual and au­di­tory mem­ory – sight and hear­ing. Mem­ory holds the key role in read­ing and all other learn­ing.

Chil­dren will need to re­mem­ber let­ter shapes and sounds, whole words and their mean­ing.

En­joy­able rep­e­ti­tion is vi­tal for words to be stored in mem­ory. Rhymes and repet­i­tive sto­ries can help.

Anx­i­ety hin­ders the ef­fi­cient use of mem­ory, es­pe­cially in early read­ing. Keep story times light­hearted and fun.

Chil­dren usu­ally re­mem­ber those things that in­ter­est them, and are more likely to re­mem­ber things that feel im­por­tant to their world.

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