We’re not born with the ability to read and write – we have to be taught how, through regular and active interactions with print, exposure to books, experiences in drawing, role-play and other activities. Learning to read is a gradual process of continual development. No-one is able to suddenly read overnight; it takes practice and time.
You can teach your child to read and write from a young age. In fact, studies have shown that there are significant benefits from teaching children to read whilst they’re young, including improved self-confidence and self-esteem, better school grades as they’re older, as well as key personality traits such as ambition and motivation. Of course, children must be taught in a way that is educational whilst being fun, challenging and achievable.
Role of Nurseries
Many nurseries are able to help parents with their child’s educational development, particularly in core areas such as reading and writing. Nurseries offer a ‘print rich’ environment for children of all ages to see a range of different types of print, including wall displays, catalogues, role play items, photographs and of course books.
It’s never too early to teach your children to read. Sign language classes for babies are immensely popular with modern day parents. These classes are inspired from the idea that babies yearn to communicate with others long before they are able to form words. Using sign language enables youngsters to show their feelings as well as tell their parents when they are hungry or tired for example.
Learning to communicate
Reading is not just about books, but also about communication and an awareness of your surroundings. Listening to nursery rhymes, playing games such as peek-a-boo and manipulating objects such as alphabet blocks, enables children to begin to use a variety of symbols, the first stages in the learning to read and communicate process.
Other ways to learn
But there are other ways in which nurseries can help children to learn, such as registering themselves each morning, marking their names on work, and finding their names on the table at lunch time. Everyone has to start somewhere, and even the most basic of abilities can be nurtured and honed at nursery. By encouraging children to learn in a controlled environment, youngsters are able to master learning processes such as reading, much faster.
Involving everyone in story time is another great way to teach kids to read. Nursery staff encourage children to choose their favourite stories as repetition is really helpful and ensures words are stored in the brain’s word-bank. Tracing the words as you read shows children that print is what carries meaning in stories, as opposed to images. It also shows them that reading progresses from left to right and top to bottom.
Sounding out words
Young children are often encouraged to sound out new words if they’re struggling to distinguish them. This relates largely to the importance of teaching phonemes. Children need to be exposed to the natural rhythm of language to help them decipher written words later on. Similarly, memory games assist in developing a child’s observational skills, another important part of learning to read.
Rooms rich with print, language, literacy, storybook reading, and writing allow children to fully experience fun and joy with learning. This means that they’ll master the basics of reading and writing whilst associating such skills with having fun, giving them the required motivation to continue learning and developing throughout their childhood and even into adulthood.
Sarah Wilcox a freelance writer who works hard to let you know about the best day nursery options for your kids.