Teaching your child to Read

If you’ve recently discovered your child is having reading difficulties or perhaps you’ve suspected this for a little while now, you may be wondering what else you can do to help your child progress.

The good news is there’s a lot you can do to support your child’s progress that won’t cost you the earth.

A great place to start is by going back to basics and checking to see if there are any gaps in their alphabet knowledge.

Best of all this is something you can do as a parent in the comfort and privacy of your own home!

It doesn’t need to be a big academic operation. Remember, you are not taking the place of the teacher, but merely providing support to help your child’s learning progress.

Keeping it light and a little bit playful will put your child at ease and be more enjoyable for all involved.

Checking your child’s alphabet knowledge might begin with a simple conversation about the alphabet, or even getting them to sing the alphabet song and then it can expand from there. You’re merely finding out what they already know and looking out for areas that may need further improvement.

Before diving right into that conversation with your child, it’s important to set the groundwork first. A little forethought and preparation beforehand will go a long way.

Timing is everything and being in the right mood and headspace will make all the difference for you and your child. In my opinion, it’s just as important as carrying out the exercise itself!

It all starts with your game plan!

Choose a space that is free from other distractions. A child’s attention can often be split if there is a tv close by or if they can see or hear another child in the same room.

Timing is Everything! It’s not just about your child, but about you as well.

The best time to check your child’s alphabet knowledge or carry out other learning activities is when both you and your child are feeling relaxed.

It’s important to make time – just as you want to avoid your child’s attention being split it’s equally important that you’re able to give your child your undivided attention during this time too.

Transition from School – Children need time to transition from their busy school day to home. Give them time to unwind. When a child plays it helps them to take a break and relax.

Make sure they eat! – A hungry child will be a distracted child. Always make food a priority before any learning activities you do after school with your child.

Gauge how your child is going. Some days may be better than others – tiredness, stress, illness will always factor into mood. There will be days where you feel it’s more beneficial to pull back from any additional learning activities and simply let them play.

Keep learning activities short – knowing when to pull back is the key. As the parent, it’s your call!

At the end of a school day, attention spans are rather short. It’s much better to achieve small wins with short activities, than to labour over lengthy activities that overload and overwhelm your child’s thinking capacity.

At the heart of every activity you do, is the well-being of your child. There’s no point in pushing through an activity just to tick a box.

Connection is key – I cannot emphasise enough how important feeling connected is for a child. Above all else, when a child feels connected, they feel safe and secure. This creates the optimal mind space for learning.

Connection comes in many forms and is not only created by the bond of ‘one on one’ time spent with your child.

In fact, connection is built every single day in every interaction we have with our children by spending quality time with them. It may be through conversation, through listening, through physical contact like a hug, or a touch on the arm. It may even be through a smile, an acknowledgement or simply a look of recognition. It’s in the knowing they are loved, that you are in their corner, and will always support them no matter what.

Also give your child the opportunity to have a few small wins along the way and make sure you celebrate with them. This may be something as simple as a giving them a high five, a few words of encouragement or even making up a weird victory dance to mark the occasion!

Anytime you plan to work with your child, whether it’s during a reading exercise, a homework related task or simply finding out what they know about the alphabet, part of the formula for success is in the forethought and preparation you put in.

By laying the groundwork in this way, your child will be in a better frame of mind when it comes to any learning related activities or challenges you may have in store for them.

More information about The Reading Switch and our Dual Code Reading System can be found on our website www.thereadingswitch.com 

About Author

Brylee Langley

Founder of The Reading Switch,
Mum of Two Dyslexic Children, Lived Experience,
Parenting Dyslexic Thinkers

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