Learning to read is a necessity in life, and often how we start something can set the pace for how much we enjoy it later on. By understanding the best way to teach your child the necessary skills in a fun, easy way you will ensure that those skills, such as pattern recognition, sequencing, symbols and sound interchanges are mastered quickly, easily and more effectively giving your child a firmer base from which to meet one of life’s important milestones.
Using letters they can pick up and handle, in many differing fabrics and materials will help tactile children associate more personally with each letter by allowing them to physically spell out their name, favorite food or activity. This simple exercise will help them understand sequencing and that letters each have their own sound, and when added together, produce a word. Reinforce this learning process by playing physical games, such as hopscotch using words and letters, molding letters and words out of sand or play dough, or asking them to try to bend their body into the letters.
Visual children will love the order of the alphabet, but may need help in understanding its consequence in the world. Using a wall chart, which matches their routine with pictures and words will help them grasp the concept of practicality — that reading is not just what you see, itís also something that has everyday meaning. Writing a word next to a matching picture, or labeling things around the house will teach them about the concept of symbolism and pattern recognition. For more specific words, using visual tools like flash cards, writing on a chalkboard with different colored chalk or cutting out letters from magazines and arranging them into words are especially effective.
Naturally excelling at pattern recognition auditory children will find the placement of each letter and it associated sound interesting especially when they grasp that writing is another way for other people to hear with their eyes. However, their natural gift for memorizing sounds can impair their ability to learn to sound out the letters and words phonetically, so parents need to be careful when using flash cards as this method can create a ìfalseî understanding. Counter this with a more informal approach, such as having them read from a variety of sources such as books, magazines, cereal boxes or even sign posts.
The person who is teaching your taste and smell child is what matters, as they need to feel safe and nurtured in order to learn. Use their natural inclination towards personal connections to encourage learning by writing letters to friends and family and in turn, receiving them, which shows them that reading can be a bonding experience. If using flash cards, start with words relating to emotion, add the visual then have them act out the word. Labeling foods, and having them help with shopping and cooking, by writing the shopping list or reading a simple recipe, will give them a sense of sequence and improve their pattern skills.
By making the experience of learning to read sensory, your child will not only gain an extremely valuable skill set naturally and easily but will also be given a set of tools that will last them a life time.
Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language, is a child and parenting behavior expert and consultant and the author of “Child Sense.” Learn more about Dunstan and her parenting discoveries at www.childsense.com.