Learning to Read

Build Concentration and Memory – Step 7

When your child is learning to read they will need increased concentration and memory in order to re-enforce new concepts.

Can you remember?
Can you Remember?

When learning to read, in order to make a permanent memory, the child needs to be able to concentrate for increasing periods of time (more than just a few seconds). It’s always easier to concentrate if the task is engaging and interesting. When learning to read, the tasks need to be varied so that the child doesn’t become bored. You will need to build their ability to concentrate until they can focus for at least one minute in order to make a permanent memory. Learning to read is more enjoyable when done by means of playing games. Choose a detailed picture and see how much of the picture your child can remember. How many children were in the picture? What were they doing?

Learning to Read – Teach Phonics Systematically- Step 8

Sing Phonic Principles
Sing Phonics

Learning to read should involve all the senses. When you teach phonics systematically, rhythm, rhyme and song can help. For some, singing or rhythm aids memory. As singing is enjoyed by most children, find a song that contains the sound/spelling pattern that you want to teach and help the child learn the lyrics. Show them the words of the song and how the rhyming word relates to the sound you are teaching. Learning to read will become more enjoyable for the child if you vary lessons this way.

Teach phonics systematically one step at a time. ‘Practice Reading and Speaking’ concentrates on the facts about phonics. It will give you all of help you need to teach phonics clearly. If you look at what learning to read really is, you’ll soon realise that it just involves learning a list of facts. These facts are ordered by level of difficulty. There’s lots to learn but learning to read one step at a time makes it possible.

Order of teaching will depend upon which phonics course you use. However, the general progression is: single alphabet sounds with extra emphasis on the vowels, VC, CVC words, consonant clusters or blends then sounds like ‘ay,oo,ee’ etc. Use as few words as possible to get your point across. When learning to read, the child will likely remember the first and last thing that you said and forget what you said in-between. The younger the child, the more limited their powers of concentration will be. Unless an image is there to aid memory don’t use it. Pictures, stories and games can be used as a reward when the principle that you are teaching has been assimilated.

Isolate what you are teaching so that there are no distractions. With sounds, this can be done by encouraging the child to close their eyes and listen carefully. Tell them that they need to keep this in their head. A good way to do this is to keep repeating it over and over again in their head. Whilst learning to read, your pupil should visualise being tested and getting it right.  If you are unsure whether a child has grasped the principle or memorised the whole word, switch components of the word to different places within the word or replace consonants with different consonants. Tell them that it’s not a real word. If they’re floundering tell them that it’s their chance to test you. Unbeknown to them they will need to know whether what you have said is accurate or not. For fun they can make up a definition of the non-word. The test is complete.

Whilst learning to read is a matter of teaching the facts, your objective should be to avoid reading problems before they arise by teaching phonics accurately and systematically. When you teach reading, keep it simple interesting and fun. Learning to read can be enhanced by using humour or action to aid memory. Rhythm and song have long been used as a method when learning  more facts than one can normally assimilate easily. A child who uses a variety of senses whilst learning to read will remember the facts more easily.

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