As much as improving reading skills is critical, once your child is in school, so is the introduction of reading skills before your kid enters formal schooling. Unfortunately, reading skills are introduced only when your child enters primary school. For most parents, it might be astonishing to know that this is too late. Glenn Doman, founder of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) has proven methodologies and subjects where children from 6 months have started reading and been introduced to a reading regime.
We are going to deal with how you can introduce reading skills to your 6-month old child and as well as help your child improve reading skills and tackle reading problems as they grow. If your child has not been exposed to a reading environment, then you will have to tackle with many reading-related problems like spellings, pronunciation, vocabulary, reading aversion, phonetic awareness, comprehension, grammar and so on. The exciting news is that you can resolve all these issues using reading games and reading tools that are a part of this article.
The best part about this resource is that you can apply it to any of the languages you intend to introduce to your child. It could be English, French, Sanskrit, Japanese or Hindi. The application of reading techniques remains the same across all languages.
If you are eager to introduce reading games, skip to the last section. If you want to understand why these games are introduced and how would they help your child, run through the previous sections too.
Rethinking the Reading techniques – Myths about your child’s reading ability
Here are few perspectives that you need to bend. There are a few myths that you need to dispel before learning more about the different reading techniques your kids can adopt.
- Until you tell your child it is a WORD, your child will see it as a PICTURE
A kid oblivious of technical terms and labeling would recognize a combination of letters together as an image. Until you tell the child that it is a word, they look at words as images. Traditionally, the school system introduces letters, phonetics and then words. This sequence builds a mechanical sequence in the child’s brain and not a conceptual sequence. The objective of words is to add meaning, express better and comprehend an intention during a conversation. By adding letters, the process of learning words is lengthened and the objective is diluted.
Introducing the word before a letter is what the magic is all about! Words are viewed as images by toddlers. Letters and phonetic value are aspects that help later in the construction of words, but not in increasing vocabulary. Just like you read a picture, you can read a word without learning letters. Learn more about this technique through this video . You can also read more about this technique in this book – How to Teach Your Baby to Read (The Gentle Revolution Series)
- Young children don’t care about the SPELLING, they care about the MEANING
Reading is effective when your child is able to comprehend what they read. It is discouraging for a kid to swim in learning spellings without understanding the meaning of the word. Children are more excited to learn the meaning of what they read, rather than the word itself.
Hence, if your approach is to learn a spelling before beginning reading lessons, then it is an immediate turn-off to the child. Introduce meanings even before you introduce the spelling.
- There is no limit to introducing new words. They can take as much as you give.
A report by 13 leading scientists from Oxford, Cambridge and University College London points out that toddlers’ brains are twice as active as adults and that they can form connections at twice the rate of grown-ups. (Source: Independent UK) This just tells us that, as parents, we underestimate the learning ability of our children. Children are ready to take as many inputs as possible. It is upto the parents how much they want to give.
Hence, do not hesitate to introduce more words, more reading and more books in a given day. They are ready for it. Do not push them to reach a milestone. Drive reading habits based on their interest. Each child is different.
- Reading ability multiplies with the right READING ENVIRONMENT.
Before getting anxious about the learning and reading disabilities of your child, check if you have provided and exposed your child to the necessary reading environment. This is not just about adding more books to your shelf or increasing the number of library visits. It is about how you approach reading in your daily schedule.
The reading games that we have shared in the subsequent sections would help you build this environment in an effortless and fun way.
Reading Tools for children to improve reading skills
Before you get started with any of the exercises, keep your reading tool kit equipped with the following tools and material. Based on the age group of children you aim to help, update your toolbox using this table.
Reading Games for children
When you introduce a reading concept in a playful manner, the child perceives it as a game and enjoys absorbing the concept. Here are few ways to introduce reading skills in different ways.
Reading from the newspaper
All it takes is 30 seconds for you to read out aloud what you are reading in the newspaper. Begin with an interesting piece of news and loop your child into that topic. Show them pictures and encourage them to read further for you. Your kid can read it out aloud while you are cooking, shaving your beard or even fixing the car. Ask them more questions about the news article.
Reading hoardings and signposts
While reading hoardings and signposts, you are exposing your child to more than one language. Especially in countries like India or SriLanka, the hoardings are in different languages. This helps them pick new information and words. You could apply this to someone who is as old as five years!
Reading labels on your groceries
This might sound lame, but this is a great way to stir their creative thinking and help them in building new phrases. Once they begin with labels, encourage them to read other details like nutrition facts, how-to-use directions, brand information and so on.
Word building games
Even while you are driving or walking or waiting in an idle spot at the doctor’s appointment, you can play word building games. You can begin with a word and ask your kid to tell a word with the last letter of the word you said. Continue the process and now you tell a word with the last of the word that your child said. This goes on. Apart from this simple technique, you can also play board games scrabble or paperback or pick a crossword puzzle.
This is one of the most helpful games to increase reading comprehension skills. Pick a random image, cartoon or piece of a storyboard and start building a story of your own with the child. Let your child pitch in most elements to complete the story. Get them to write it and refine it.
Bedtime story reading with your child is one of the most effective ways to introduce the habit of reading books. Do not hesitate to introduce both fiction and non-fiction books. Once children receive enough assistance to read books on their own, it becomes exciting for children to read books.
With these games and tools, your child will be introduced to basic reading skills and streamed into reading habits. Reading improves with more and more practice. Hence, try to take every opportunity to introduce a variety of reading topics and subjects to your child. Encourage them to read every day and hear out what they have to share from their new discovery.