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News in Youth Services

Monday, September 17, 2018

Patience is the key with emerging readers

Learning how to read can be hard work.  First you have to recognize letters and the sounds they make; then you have to blend them together to make words.  That's a lot for a young brain to do in a nanosecond.  It requires lots of practice. Sometimes new readers pick out a book that is too hard for them.  You are in a pickle because while the book is not a "just right" book for your child, you also don't want to discourage their enthusiasm for reading.  What do you do?

First off - be patient!  Here are some suggestions on how to help your child become a better reader.

1.  If a child reads a sentence incorrectly, let it go as long as it doesn't interfere with the meaning of the text.
2.  If your child comes to a word she doesn't know, help her break it down by asking her if she
recognizes parts of the word.  Most likely she will recognize the "b" or "at" part in "bat."  If she can figure out one of the parts, help her put the two together.  "That's right, 'b' says /b/.  Now let's add that sound to the other part 'at': b-at."  Then reread that sentence together with the correct word.
3.  Encourage your child to look at picture clues to help decode an unfamiliar word.  Pictures provide lots of clues for early readers.
4.  When your child makes a mistake, don't say, "You're wrong.  That says ..."  Instead just ignore it.  As hard as that may be, it's better to let them make the mistake instead of always giving them the correct answer. If you give her the answer every time she makes an error, she won't try to figure it out herself.
5.  If her error changes the meaning, wait until the end of the page and then ask her to reread the page carefully.  If she repeats the error, ask her if what she read makes sense.  Did she use the pictures or look at the beginning and ending of the word for clues?  If she still gets stuck, point out the error and help her work through it.
It's a parents job to make their child feel comfortable reading.  They need the practice and they need to know that reading with Mom and Dad is a safe and fun thing to do.


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