Reading is a skill. It's something that we consciously learn. It's not something that we just pick up magically along the way.
Like any skill learnt, there are three things children need in order to develop competent reading skills:
Reading Takes Time
Just as children take time to learn to walk, so they need time to learn to read.
Learning to read is not something that automatically happens overnight. Rather, it's a process that is built layer upon layer, over time.
Be encouraged. While each step towards learning to read competently may take time, progress is being made!
Reading Requires Plenty of Opportunities
As with any skill, children need plenty of exposure to books and many opportunities to refine reading skills.
When your child first learnt to walk, you gave her plenty of opportunities to refine skills of balance and coordination. The more opportunities your child had to stand with support, to balance and find her feet, the more confident and skilled she became until finally, one day, she took her first steps.
What a day that was!
The same principle applies to learning to read. Children need plenty of opportunities to explore books.
This includes adults reading aloud to children!
Reading aloud to your child promotes a positive attitude to reading, strengthens parent/child relationships and presents reading as a valuable life-long skill which is thoroughly enjoyable!
Fill your day with plenty of reading opportunities and your environment with books. Make reading part of your family's life and then reading will become part of your child's life as well.
Reading Needs Support
Support is essential if children are to learn to read.
When your child was learning to walk, she needed someone to offer her support and encouragement. You held her hands. You spoke words of encouragement when she stumbled and fell. You knew that if she just kept trying, she would walk.
It's the same with reading. Children need positive encouragement and support from loved ones around them.
Be patient. Sometimes we forget what it's like to learn a new skill, especially when we're teaching someone something that seems so easy to us!
If you need to, try learning something entirely new yourself (e.g., a different language, computer programming, etc.) and you'll quickly remember how challenging learning a new skill can be. :o
Reading is a skill not a natural talent
While reading is a skill that must consciously be learnt, it's a process that can be made enjoyable by the people in children's lives.
Reading is a life-long skill that can bring so much pleasure. So grab a book today and enjoy reading with your child and then they will enjoy learning to read!
Return to the Articles List for other children's learning activities or children's book reviews.