If you’re reading this blog, we can almost guarantee that you know how to read…but do you know how to read to kids? I know what you’re thinking…there’s not that much of a difference, but you’ll be surprised to learn a few new tips that will help your child learn to read!
Where is your child looking?
It’s important to know where your child is looking when you read. In recent eye tracking experiments it was found that preschoolers focus on the printed words only five to six percent of the time with their concentration mostly lying on the pictures or the readers face. Although this exposure to reading is beneficial, research has shown that “print knowledge,” which includes awareness of the mechanics of reading, is what advances children’s reading ability. Things that we often take for granted in reading, such as the fact that English is read from left to right are items that when pointed out, help children develop as readers! Not only have studies seen success in reading skills, but have also seen improved spelling and comprehension.
So how do you draw attention to print? You can accomplish this non-verbally by pointing out letters or words on the page, or verbally by saying the word and ensuring your child’s gaze is on the word. It’s not the task of reading the story that will help with your child’s early literacy, but the questions and awareness you interject into the story time. By adding in questions such as, “Where should I begin reading on this page?”, and “Do you know this word?” or, “I spot three capital letters on this page—see if you can find them,” and also “This dot here is a period, and it tells me I’ve reached the end of the sentence,” to your story time it helps bring awareness to the actual task of reading. Also pointing out the title, the cover, the author and the inside of the book assist in gaining print knowledge.
So grab a book and test out these techniques. By capturing your audience with questions, and pointing at words, you’ll be amazed at the progress it makes in your child’s learning. Read more about this topic on NPR!