As a parent, monitoring your child’s health is second nature and at the first signs of an illness you don't hesitate to contact a medical professional you know and trust. If your household has been anything like mine lately, trips to the family doctor, walk-in clinics and the emergency room feel like a regular occurrence. Referencing Doctor Google is on repeat and following all the expert recommendations for a speedy recovering is non-negotiable. Fluids. Rest. Repeat. We are all alert to the signs and symptoms of a medical issue and prepared to take action. Immediately.
But can the same be said for reading skills? Do parents have the tools, resources and confidence to advocate for their child's learning needs? And do parents know who to trust and what the science says about teaching reading?
Our experience at Halifax Learning, our unfortunate answer to that question is no. Far too often we meet with parents that are desperately searching for the right support for their child. While these conversations are often difficult, we consider ourselves to have the best job in the world. We're here to end your search and start the journey towards skilled, confident, learning.
Things to consider when raising a reader:
→ Reading skills begin to develop from birth.
Reading and writing are inventions that have evolved over thousands of years. We’re not born with the innate knowledge that the English language is made up of 44 sounds, text is read from left to right or that the words on a page can evoke an emotional reaction, political change, creative inspiration and much more.
Reading starts at home from day one. Nurturing a positive, committed relationship to literacy begins from birth. In Nova Scotia, new parents are fortunate to receive a bag of carefully selected books from a Read to Me representative.
When you demonstrate an interest in your child’s reading, they are far more likely to experience positive results. According to How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life, written by educator and young-adult novelist Paul Kropp, there are three time periods during childhood when reading may slump
- Transitioning into kindergarten
- Grade 4
- High School
Although reading at home often and early is important, it is not enough. Many children need explicit, intensive, and comprehensive evidence-based reading remediation programs that integrate the five essential elements of reading instruction.
1. Phonemic Awareness
→ It's not just about reading!
While the ability to read is important for its own sake, it provides the foundation for all other learning, particularly during school years. Consider how much difficulty a struggling reader will have with both textbooks, computer-based lessons and capturing creative ideas and critical thinking into the written word. With proper reading instruction and frequent exposure to reading, writing skills will also develop, supported by a robust vocabulary and familiarity with a variety writing styles.
→ Academic success is only a small piece of the pie!
Academic success is only one category that will be positively impacted by solid reading skills.
Efficient and effortless reading contributes to psychological traits such confidence, concentration and self-discipline. Reading opens a window to the world, it’s a way to expose children to learn about new cultures, ideas and philosophies. Reading offers a platform for critical thinking, interpretation and is the ultimate agent of change.
→ School memories are enduring.
The importance of learning to read continues to play a part in your child’s success during adulthood. According to the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network, less than 20 percent of those with the lowest literacy skills are employed. Only 5 to 10 percent of these people enroll in programs designed to improve their literacy for job training.
Helping your child develop a strong reading ability early will help him or her avoid this difficult situation.
Halifax Learning is committed to helping all students develop positive and successful memories during their academic journey and beyond.
Some additional help may be needed to get them through these hurdles. The importance of learning to read can’t be overstated. Our flag-ship program, SpellRead can help you take a proactive approach to fully developing your child’s skills. Contact us to schedule his or her free reading assessment.