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How to Give Your Child a Jump Start on Reading

Learn how to give your child a jump start on reading from reading specialist Anne Glass in this Howcast video.


Hi. my name is Anne Glass. I'm a reading and learning specialist at a private school in New York City and I work with Kindergarteners through 3rd graders on Reading, Word Study, and Writing Skills. In addition to be a reading specialist and learning specialist, I'm also a parent and today I'm going to talk to you about topics in reading To help your child get a jump start on reading prior to kindergarten and formal instruction, there are 3 main areas that you can focus on. The first is that written language has a communicative purpose. The second is knowledge of the alphabet and the alphabetic principle. And the third is phonological or phonemic awareness. Let's take each of those in turn. There is written language all around us, and ample opportunity to demonstrate to your child that written language can serve to inform, persuade, tell a story, and any number of other functions. One thing you can do to support that is to read to your child all the time. And I always suggest that picture books are the best way to do that. Short ones that are easily digestable within 10 or 15 minutes, with beautiful illustrations to support the narrative. Make sure you use an animated voice, and act out the character roles, even if that helps you feel, that makes you feel very silly. You're demonstrating to your child that written language serves a purpose of telling a story. Um, another thing you can do, and I always say that everyday moments always provide the most, uh, teachable opportunities for children to learn. Is to sit down with your child to generate a shopping list, and then take it to the grocery store. Match the words on your list with the items in the grocery store, and check them off as you put them into the cart. Your child and you have engaged in a legitimate literacy event, and you've shown that written language serves to, um, serves a purpose for organizing information and remembering it. The second key area is alphabet knowledge and alphabetic principle. Knowledge of letter names is an absolutely critical predictor of early reading success. And it's important that your child know letter names, apart from singing them in an alphabet song. The alphabetic principle refers to the fact that written language is made up of individual letters. And that there is a specific directionality involved in written language. When we write or we speak, we read going from left to right, and from the top of the page to the bottom. This directionality also holds true at the word level. Because we spell our words according to the temporal sequence in which the phonemes are articulated. For example, in the word, fun, we would have to spell that going from left to right...f-u-n. If we use those letters in any other order, the word would cease to be the word fun. The third key area to focus on with your child is phonological awareness. And this involves a awareness and sensitivity to the sounds in spoken language. It means noticing the words in a sentence, the syllables in a multi-syllabic word, and the individual sounds in words. Uh, it also involves substituting, manipulating, deleting, and just generally playing with the sounds and language. You can help your child develop this sensitivity called phonological awareness with simple word games. Uh, singing nursery rhymes, and other songs that rhyme, are great for this. And just playing rhyming games wherever you are. Whether it's in the car, or if your child wants to keep you company while you're making dinner.

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