Monday, 17 September 2012

Strategy #3: The spelling and reading top 10

Strategy #3: Read, read, read!

When your child begins formal schooling at the age of 5 or 6 they bring with them sophisticated listening and speaking skills which will help them interpret the print they will encounter inside the classroom and within the community. Hopefully they will have a sound understanding of the alphabet (the symbols or the "morphemes" of our language) and the sounds (the "phonemes") they represent. How then does your child use this information to become a fluent reader? The answer lies in the practise of reading itself.

Here are some useful strategies to help you and your child enjoy reading and encourage them to become life long readers and ultimately life long learners.

Shared Reading:

This works very well with children under the age of eight. I am an advocate for introducing babies to books so they attach positive emotions to reading from a young age.  Shared Reading involves sitting with your child and reading to them.


By encouraging your child to interact with the book it allows them to orientate themselves with the conventions of literature which involves such things as learning how to hold the book, identifying the front cover as well as the characters and the print within the book.

When you read, move your finger underneath the words which will show your child that we read from left to right (in English). Your child will learn to respect books and associate positive emotions to this experience as you bond together through the reading experience.  

Paired Reading:

Is a strategy you can use to help your child with reading fluency. It follows on beautifully from Shared Reading and allows your child to make meaning of unfamiliar words as they experience them within the story. The method involves a skilled Reader (the parent, older sibling or school buddy) and the child who is learning to read, both reading a book together. Paired Reading differs from Shared Reading as both the parent and the child read the book aloud at the same time. The parent (or more skilled reader) needs to move their finger underneath the print so that both readers stay together.

Every child benefits from taking part in a Paired Reading session, it’s not just for children with learning difficulties! Paired Reading will not only improve your child's reading ability but also their confidence.

Here’s a bonus…Parents who have used this strategy report that their children are more co-operative at home! This may be due to the child’s self-esteem improving, but it could also be due to the parent’s relationship with the child becoming stronger as parents spend more time with their children.

Take a look at the following You tube video and follow the easy steps to a successful Paired Reading session:

Paired reading has been used by Teachers to improve reading abilities in primary and secondary schools.

Paired reading is also a powerful tool that can help your Dyslexic teenager. This strategy is especially useful when they have large amounts of reading to complete for a variety of subject areas. It allows the Dyslexic student to encounter subject specific vocabulary in context.

Audio Books:

Are fantastic! If you have a learning disability it has never been easier for you to have access to assistive technology. This is technology such as computers, MP3 players and even smartphones that help you to succeed through helping you to read and therefore gain information. Many local council libraries have eAudiobooks and eBooks available for free download if you are a library member. Gold Coast residents can find out more by going to .
This little guy has the right idea, although I would like to see him open the book and read the print whilst listening to the text. Audio books provide the same opportunities as Paired Reading for your Dyslexic child to access quality literature with a sense of independence. This is so important when they are becoming older and want to be viewed as independent learners. Audio books can be loaded onto your child's MP3 player and nobody is aware if they are listening to "P!NK" or "Pride and Prejudice".
On a personal note, I have used all of the strategies listed above. When I was pregnant with my twin girls I actually read to them before they were born (I know, tragic but true!). Having already completed two teaching degrees by the time they came into the world, I understood the importance reading played in gaining early literacy, however one of my children still presented as Dyslexic. Today, she is an avid reader who has devoured more literature than her non-Dyslexic twin. I believe this is because for her, reading never lost it's sparkle.
Even though reading became somewhat laborious during the "home reader" phase of years 1, 2 and 3 (when all the children are focused on which "Level" they are on) as a parent, I kept reading to her and we kept reading together - searching in the local library for books that interested her. Then we introduced her to audio books. Fortunately for us (and you might find this works with your Dyslexic teenager too) we couldn't access the third audio book in a series she was reading, however, she did managed to find it in print and the sparkle was so strong that she just had to read the book without the assistive technology, low and behold... she was reading all by herself!
Keep reading until next time!


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