How To Teach Your Child To Read and Love Reading

05/10/2016

It would seem that many parents want their child to learn how to read as soon as possible.  While I understand that most parents want to give their child a head-start in their education, sometimes a child simply isn’t ready (or interested) in this particular subject.

Teaching is simple enough – learning to read, can be done by breaking down the end goal into segments and stages.  This is why many children learn the ABC song first, then they learn to recognise the letters, then learn the sounds and so on.  However, many parents are met with challenges when their child or children are not interested in the lessons being taught.  Luckily, the folks at Little Human Scholars playschool and preschool in PJ have a few tricks up their sleeves to get children interested in reading.

A Personal Story of How My Child Didn’t Want to Read

I remember sending my daughter to a playschool in Taman Desa when she was two, and upon entering the class they were already having the children read simple sentences from books (albeit they were doing so through memorisation instead of phonetics).  I was actually quite intrigued!  In the U.S. where I come from, we usually don’t start teaching children to read until later on in their development.  As time went on, I began to realise that the method they were using to teach for her wasn’t working for her.  In fact, it was boring her and while she was memorising the words, she didn’t understand WHY they sounded that way.  Sure, other children seemed to do well but my daughter struggled a bit…not because she wasn’t smart, but because she wasn’t interested.

First things first, there is nothing wrong with teaching children memorisation.  In fact, many children do very well with it.  But for my daughter, this approach didn’t work and the teachers often told me that she was behind in her reading lessons.  Lucky for me, I learned that all children learn differently, and I went to work figuring out my daughter’s learning style.

Finding Your Child’s Learning Style

The three main styles Little Human Scholars uses in their daycare, playschool, preschool and kindergarten are:

  1. auditory,
  2. kinesthetic or
  3. visual

Naturally most children are not 100% one style and there can be overlapping behaviours, but you can find out which style is more dominant in them by taking this simple test here.  Are they more inclined towards auditory, kinesthetic or visual learning?  Knowing which one your child is and what methods works best for each style can support you and your child in making education fun all while expanding the child’s ability to learn and retain information.  This is how I got my child interested in reading.

Auditory:

Children whose learning style is more auditory tend to listen more, talk more and even sing.  They excel best when listening to instructions and do well with stories (especially when they are the ones telling the story).  Sometimes they won’t make eye contact with you but that doesn’t mean they aren’t listening.

Tips for teaching auditory children:

  • Phonetics: focus on the sounds of the words.
  • Speak out loud: teaching through singing or intonation works well with auditory learners.
  • Read aloud: have your child read out loud as this may help them retain more information.
  • Quiet environment: Work with them in a quiet place so they aren’t distracted.

Kinesthetic:

A kinesthetic learner is someone who must touch, hold, feel and grasp what is being taught.  They tend to want to figure things out by taking things apart.  Beware taking them into a store with things can be broken!  They tend to be extremely active!

Tips for teaching kinesthetic children:

  • Move: incorporate hand and body movements into what is taught.
  • Mould: often kinesthetic children learn best with 3D and hands-on activities.
  • Do: don’t ask them to sit still and pay attention, involve them somehow!

Visual: 

A visual learner tends to be quiet (though this isn’t the case for all visual learners) and is always watching others.  Anything that is visually stimulating gets their attention.  They learn most through graphics, videos, flash cards and pictures.

Tips for teaching visual children:

  • Flashcards: use flashcards with decent graphics in order to hold their attention.
  • Educational movies: again, movies these days are more visually stunning than ever.  Instead of watching their favorite cartoon, opt for something more educational.
  • Visualisation: try getting them to close their eyes and make pictures in their minds.  This will also support them in retaining more information.
  • Environment: Use the same environment every day so there is nothing new to look at and they can more easily focus on what is in front of them.

Once I realized my daughter had an auditory learning style, I applied it to every area of her education.  Sitting down and writing the same sentence over and over is something she dreads and strongly dislikes.  But, if you sit down and talk with her, and have her repeat words and sentences back to you (or do so in a sing-song way), NOW she is interested in reading.

Every night we sit down for about 20 minutes or so and she reads to me.  Every now and then I will stop her and we discuss the previous paragraph or what happened in the story so she can work on her comprehension.  Now she has skipped a grade and is number one in math, English, science and morals!  It all boiled down to me teaching her in a way she understood.

While your child may lean towards one learning style more than another, this does not mean that everything written above will work for them.  In the end, you have to be willing to, through trial and error, discover what works best for your child.  Taking the quiz here will support you in getting a better feel for how your child learns.  Additionally, simply observing them will also support you in identifying what may be their learning style!

Wishing you success in teaching your child or children most effectively!

 

Jana Moreno

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