Learning to read can be daunting for most kids. Most parents want to help their kids learn to read because it impacts every aspect of school life. It helps to know how most kids learn to read as a starting point. Kindergarten and Prep include 4 key skills that help kids learn to read. These skills are based on the research relating to the Big 6 of Reading. As you will see, these skills can easily be supported at home.
Kids need Oral Language to read
To learn to read, kids need to have good talking and understanding skills. Think about it, they need to know how to say sentences before they can read them!
Oral language develops in stages. Typically, children’s talking and understanding develop exponentially in their first five years of life. To be in the best position to be able to read, kids need to be able to speak in grammatical sentences, tell stories about their life and understand questions.
Playing at home with your children is a great way to help build their oral language. See this blog about fun ways to build oral language using a doll house.
Why is Phonological Awareness important in helping kids to read?
This refers to the knowledge that words are made up of sounds. For example, the first sound in shop is “ssshhhhhhh” (not the letter ‘s’). This is an important early skill because children learn to attack unknown words by trying to sound out the letters. Typically they identify the first sounds in words, then the last sounds. Children with well-developed phonological awareness skills are able to hear 3 sounds and blend them together to tell you the word (e.g. b-a-ck together make the word “back”). Similarly they can hear a word and break it up into its individual sounds (e.g. “face” has 3 sounds: f-a-ce).
Children typically develop phonological awareness skills naturally. You can help your child learn these skills by sounding out their name (remember, sounds not letters) while touching each finger on their hand.
Phonics and Reading
This is linking letters and sounds. Kids need to explicitly learn phonics to read. This is also how they learn that it sounds like “woz” but we spell it like “was”.
Children’s phonics skills develop in stages. An earlier stage is learning that two letters represent the sound “sh”. As children become more skilled at reading, they learn that sometimes “ti” says “sh” as in emotion and sometimes “ci” says “sh” like beautician.
You can see why English can be such a tricky language to most kids to learn to read and spell!
Why is Vocabulary so important?
For a child to understand what they are reading, they need to know what words mean. A good vocabulary development is also important for writing tasks. This is why we want to expose our children to lots of quality words to continue to build their vocabulary. Children who are struggling to read can mean they don’t get exposed to the same level of vocabulary as their peers as they are reading more basic texts.
To help your child learn to read, start expanding their vocabulary by talking about words that mean the same as the ones they are using. For example, your child may say, “It’s yucky!”. You can build on their vocabulary by responding, “Yes, it is yucky. It’s filthy and dirty. It is so disgusting, I think we will keep it in the garden instead of bringing it into the house.”
Here are some more tips to build vocabulary in your home.
Prep4Prep and Prep Easy Groups
Our Prep4Prep and Prep Easy groups teach these 4 essential elements of the reading process in a fun, engaging way that children love! Also, we use the groups as a way to help empower parents and carer’s with the skills to help continue their child’s learning beyond the groups.
Prep4Prep groups are suitable for children in kindergarten.
Our Prep Easy groups are suitable for children in Prep.
If your child is in mainstream Prep, can talk in complete sentences and you feel they would benefit from our Prep Easy group, sign up today.