Are you worried about your child’s reading abilities? Do you feel the pressure to ensure they are on track with their peers? In this blog post, we delve into the science of how kids learn to read.
Our special guest, Teacher Tasha Mendoza, a reading intervention specialist and mother of four, provides valuable insights and strategies to help parents navigate the process of teaching their children to read. Let’s remove the stress and pressure and focus on the science behind it all.
Understanding the Complex Skill of Reading
Reading is not simply a matter of memorizing the alphabet or completing worksheets. It is a complex skill that involves various components. Parents often resort to worksheets because that’s what they observe in school settings. However, there are crucial factors to consider even before sitting a child down at a table. Readiness is key.
The Importance of Readiness
Teacher Tasha introduces the concept of readiness, highlighting that children should be taught to read only when they are truly prepared. Readiness encompasses a child’s ability to sit, learn, understand letter mechanics, and memorize the alphabet and its corresponding sounds. It also involves evaluating their attention span, memory capacity, and visual and auditory processing skills.
Teaching a child who lacks these capacities can lead to frustration for both the child and the parent.
Free RESOURCE LIBRARY
Sign up below and get FREE access to the Discerning Parenting Resource Library!
The Building Blocks of Reading
To comprehend the complexities of reading, it’s crucial to break it down into fundamental skills. Teacher Tasha highlights three key skills: attention, memory, and processing. Memory involves memorizing the alphabet, recognizing letters, and associating them with sounds. Processing refers to the visual and auditory abilities required to combine sounds to form words. These skills take time to develop and mature in children.
The Developmental Process of Reading
Learning to read is a gradual process. Some children may start reading at an early age, while others may learn later. Each child has their own unique readiness and developmental timeline. Parents should focus on teaching their children to read when they possess the necessary attention, memory, and processing skills. Rushing the process can lead to frustration and hinder their long-term reading success.
Caution Against Early Reading Programs
While numerous programs claim to teach children to read at any age, it’s best to be cautious. Many of these programs focus solely on teaching the alphabet and basic decoding skills. However, they often neglect crucial developmental aspects such as speech, language comprehension, vocabulary development, and social skills. A child’s ability to memorize letters does not equate to reading comprehension or language use.
The Importance of Conversational and Social Skills
It’s important to nurture a child’s conversational and social skills alongside their reading abilities. Strong visual memory and recall alone do not guarantee successful reading or comprehension skills. Parents should prioritize fostering language development, encouraging rich conversations, and promoting social interaction. Early years are critical for building a strong foundation in oral language, which is integral to reading comprehension later on.
Teaching a child to read is a multifaceted process that goes beyond memorizing letters and completing worksheets. Parents should focus on their child’s readiness, which encompasses attention, memory, and processing skills.
Rushing the process or relying solely on early reading programs may hinder a child’s overall development. By understanding the science behind how kids learn to read and nurturing their conversational and social skills, parents can create a solid foundation for their child’s future reading success.
Remember, every child has their own unique timeline for learning to read, so embrace their individual journey.
Teacher Tasha Mendoza is a mom of four and a reading intervention specialist with a decade of experience in helping kids learn to read. Not only that, she’s also a teacher’s teacher. She helps other teachers with how to teach reading. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education and is the director of the Center for Reading Assessment and Intervention.
Want to teach your child to read, but you don’t know where to start?
Get our FREE guide, “Prepare Your Child for Reading: 12 Easy but Powerful Ways to Encourage Reading Readiness“.