Every kid can learn to read, and well
There’s a lot of uncertainty about education in a post-pandemic world, but thankfully one thing that remains certain is that virtually all children can learn to read, and read well.
The science of reading continues to evolve, but there are tried and tested notions of what’s involved in learning to read. And it’s not rocket science for parents to learn it.
Melinda Cameron, one of the three partners at Halifax Learning, spells these out in the centre’s first webinar -- All Children Reading Well.
Melinda is a teacher with 15 years experience, and she’s working on her Masters in Literacy Studies. She’s also a mom with a daughter who is now in Grade 1. Melinda admits that with the schools shut down during the pandemic and over the summer, she was worried about how her daughter would get the instruction she needs.
Hence the 32-minute webinar, where she shares with other parents “how I’m making that happen, how Halifax Learning’s making that happen, and what we can do together to support each other.”
It’s the first in a series of webinars the centre is developing to educate and empower parents.
Parents can and should help
“People ask me all the time, is there anything I can do to help my kid? And that question sort of breaks my heart, because of course there are things you can do to help,” says Melinda.
You don’t have to be a reading scientist, but it helps to have an understanding of the basic skills that are required to read, and these include:
- Phonological awareness – The ability to hear and play around with parts of words, including phonemic awareness, which is the ability to break sounds into different syllables and manipulate them;
- Phonics – making a connection between a sound and the letter that represents it;
- Vocabulary – which becomes more and more interesting and fun for kids as they get older; reading with a parent is a great way for learners to develop vocabulary;
- Fluency – reading accurately, with good pacing and intonations;
- Comprehension -- the “end goal.” The point of learning to read well is to understand what we’re reading.
The webinar covers each basic in some detail, providing parents with a general understanding of them.
Frequency is what counts
Time and time again, educators emphasize the importance of parents reading along with their children. “If you do nothing else with your child at home in terms of their education, I think reading has to be it,” confirms Melinda.