Reading Basics Tips for Parents

Tips for Parents to Understand Reading Basics,”Concepts of Print”

Kindergarten is often called the reading year as kids learn how letters operate and how language flows. Learning to read isn’t all about recognizing letters and words it’s also about directionality and all the concepts of print. As adults and parents we think reading left to right and top to bottom is naturally and intuitive but these skills need to be learned by many kids and taught by parents too.

Tips for Parents to Understand Reading Basics, "Concepts of Print"Concepts of print is a term developed by a New Zealand researcher Mary Clay who fist researched that beginner readers need to know how printed language works in order to be good readers.

Children who don’t understand the flow of language or lack directionality can get lost in a page, not know where the next sentence starts and quickly get behind.

For some kids more practice in the way language flows is needed. If you see your child moving their head side to side to find the next word, pausing before reading to search for the following sentence they need some help sorting out the direction that language flows in.

Here are some directional milestones for kids in the 4 to 5 age range.

Concepts of directionality. Kids need to be able to hold a book properly. They also need to understand that you read from the top left, continue to the right and move downward. This can be complicated to learn.

Kids pick this up by watching you read. Point to the words as you read to reinforce directionality. When your child starts to read check directionality by having them point to words.

Letters words and sentences. Understanding the difference between a letter, word and sentence gives your child a head start for reading. Ask your child to point to or frame letters, words and sentence. Then identify upper and lower case letters. Play a detective game and ask them to find a three letter, four letter or five letter word. Read books with repeated phrases and words in large print and have them trace the letters.

Sweeping reading. This means when they are looking at the text in a story their eyes are moving in the right direction as they know when they are finished the first line that they look down and to the left.

You’ll be surprised how often beginner readers skip sentences or read one sentence, never see the second sentence and then jump to the next page.

Word recognition. There are several ways to help with word recognition. Model by using your finger to point to the words as you read to your child. Have them match the spoken word to the written word. Read a word have them point to it and have them repeat.

Another technique is to echo each line as you read. You can have your child repeat words, point to words or sound out the first letter.

Know punctuation. Punctuation is part of reading. Knowing to take a breath when they see a comma and that a full stop or period means the end of a sentence helps them identify how print works.

Give your child a great start with concepts of print with the Children Learning Reading, a fun educational program that teaches all the concepts of print in a fun way.

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