As the child grows, we as parents love to watch them acquire various new skills. Reading is one such skill. The first time a child is able to recognize a word on her own is a thrilling moment for the parents.
The following is a general guideline to check if your child is on track with her reading milestones:
1. Babies (Up to Age 1): Reach out for small board books, look at pictures, turn the pages with assistance, understand 50 words or more, respond to stories and pictures by patting, cooing etc.
2. Toddlers (Ages 1 to 3): Identify familiar objects, pretend to read books, answer questions about what they see, finish sentences in books they know well, scribble, know names of books and identify them, turn pages, request for their favourite book to be read again and again.
3. Preschool (Ages 3 to 4) : Explore books independently, listen to longer stories, re-tell stories, recognize the letters of their name, understand that writing is different from drawing, recognize rhyming words, name some of the letters of the alphabet, match some letters to their sounds, understand that print is read from left to right, top to bottom.
4. Kindergarten (Age 5): Match some spoken and written words, write some letters, numbers, and words, recognize some familiar words in print, predict what will happen next in the story, identify and manipulate increasingly smaller sounds in speech, understand concrete definitions of some words, read simple words in isolation, come up with rhyming words.
5. First and Second Grade (Ages 6 to 7): Read familiar stories, sound out words, use common punctuation and capitalization in writing, self-correct when they make a mistake while reading aloud, display understanding of a story through drawings, write by organizing details into a logical sequence with a beginning, middle, and end.
7. Younger Grade (Ages 7 to 8): Read longer books independently, read aloud with proper emphasis and expression, use context and pictures to help identify unfamiliar words, understand the concept of paragraphs and begin to apply it in writing, correctly use punctuation, correctly spell many words, understand humour in text, use new words and phrases that they have heard.
8. Older Grade (Ages 9–13): Begin to explore and understand different kinds of texts, like biographies, poetry, and fiction, understand and explore expository, narrative, and persuasive text, read to extract specific information, understand relations between objects, aptly identify major elements of a story, read and write on a specified topic, understand what style is needed.
Each child develops at a different pace, so it is important not to force them to do so. The following techniques can help you accelerate the process:
Reading aloud is one of the best ways to help your child learn reading.
Run your finger under the words while you read. This will help the child understand that the print carries the story.
Animate as much as possible to help your child feel excited about learning
Go slow, stop to look at pictures, talk about the pictures to help the child understand that the picture and written word are related.
Encourage your child to identify words that are repeated in the story.
If your child has a question, don’t put it off for later. It will encourage her to express her feelings.
Even after she has learnt to read, continue reading to her. She can understand a lot more than she can read.
When your child starts reading, encourage her to read aloud. It will increase her confidence in the ability to read.
Leave books around within the child’s sight. That will encourage her to pick it up and read if she cannot find anything to do.
Have a bedtime routine of reading books. Make it a cosy affair so the child looks forward to it every day.
If you find your child is not making progress, make notes of where she is struggling and discuss with your child’s teacher or paediatrician.
Stay Tuned! Stay Relevant!