strategies to support parents helping their children learn to read

readilearn: Help your child read – some strategies

The importance of reading

The ability to read is one of the most valuable skills we can acquire.  It is a tool for thinking, learning and entertainment. Reading opens doors and minds; it gives us the ability to unlock the secrets of the universe and release our imaginations. It is a skill that many of us take for granted, but without it the world would seem a more unfriendly place.

No wonder learning to read is a vital part of each and every school day!

Like everything else —the more you read, the better you get!

Reading is more than just saying all the words on the page in order. Reading is a process of getting meaning from print. Effective readers use their knowledge of the world and of language in their quest to make meaning from the words on the page. Reading takes place when the reader understands the message of the writer.

Strategies used by effective readers

Effective readers use a combination of three cuing systems to predict and check what the author has written. The use of these systems is obvious in the miscues (rather than “mistakes”) that readers make.

  1. The most important cuing system is knowledge of the topic. If you know lots about dinosaurs, you can read those big difficult-looking words and understand what they mean. If you know nothing of legal jargon then even sounding out those big difficult-looking words won’t help you understand.
  2. The second system is knowledge of language and grammar. We expect the words to flow with meaning and not be a jumble of nonsense.
  3. The first two systems combine to predict the words on the page. We then check with the print to ensure our expectations were correct.

For example, if the story is about a cowboy you may expect that he would jump on his pony, but when you look at the print, you find he actually jumped on his horse.

Effective readers may say ‘pony’ instead of horse, but they definitely wouldn’t say ‘house’ (which looks similar) as it just wouldn’t make sense!

Continue reading: readilearn: Help your child read – some strategies

13 thoughts on “readilearn: Help your child read – some strategies

  1. Mabel Kwong

    Reading is so important as it is a skill that enables us to learn, and I like how you say it when reading is a ‘process of getting meaning from print’. It is a skill that can be improved over time and learnt. Agree with you reading is about paying attention to the topic and also grammatical conventions, and how the narrative flows. I remember being taught to read growing up and didn’t enjoy being taught to read. In pre-school my class were taught reading by reading out loud to the rest of the class. I had a stutter as a kid, so when it came to my time to read it was something that was very unnerving and unpleasant. I didn’t feel supported learning how to read in that particular class, and my classmates thought it was all very funny. Eventually I did learn how to read and English was consistently my best subject. I’m not sure if you’ve encountered children with reading difficulties in your lines of work, Norah. It might be interesting to hear if you have 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, painful though they were, Mabel. I’m sorry your memories of learning to read are not good. I think what you are referring to is Round Robin reading where everyone takes a turn to read a sentence or a paragraph. It is not encouraged any more, which is a good thing. We used to do it at school too, but I had always read so far ahead, I wasn’t sure where we were up to when it was my turn. I’m pleased that you learned to read despite the difficulties. I don’t remember learning, I only remember doing. I wonder if the only ones who remember are the ones who had difficulties. I have certainly worked with children who didn’t find it easy and needed support. Fortunately they were in the minority and I had plenty of assistance to give them the help they needed. I’m not surprised English was your best subject. You write with clarity and expression.


      1. Mabel Kwong

        You are very kind, Norah. Thank you. Yes, Round Robin reading! I did wonder if it was still a thing in schools but good to hear it isn’t encouraged at all today. Learning to read can be a personal thing, just like how learning and doing is. You might be on to something there: if we are good at something, we might focus on learning the next step and seeing how far we can go.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Help your child read – The Militant Negro™

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