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Teaching Children to Read and Write

By: ChildrenLearningReading.com 

Most parents, at one point or another, frets over the education and the development of their children. Many concerned parents research and seek information on the topic of teaching children to read and write. I for one, am glad to see so many parents wanting to get an early start for their children in reading and writing, because studies have shown that developing these abilities early on before entering school provides numerous benefits and advantages later on as the child progresses through school.

More worrisome should be the fact that over one third, 38% to be exact, of all grade 4 students cannot even achieve a basic level of reading ability according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). This is an alarming statistic. Will your child become one of the 38% who cannot reach basic reading achievement by grade 4? For most children, this poor ability to read can be easily prevented with early phonemic awareness teaching.

Reading must begin early in the life of a child, whether it is just an alphabet letter, a word, a sentence, a paragraph, or a story. Teaching children how to read must begin early on, and children should be exposed to books, stories, rhymes, and be read to on a daily basis. Children as young as 2 years old can learn to read if you teach them to read with the proper instructions. Please watch the video below of a 2 year 11 months old reading randomly constructed sentences.

As Lida Williams said, almost 100 years ago:

Phonics is not a method of teaching reading, but it is a necessary part of every good, modern method. It is the key to word mastery, and word mastery is one of the first essentials in learning to read. A knowledge of the sounds of letters, and of the effect of the position of the letter upon its sound, is an essential means of mastering the mechanics of reading, and of enabling children to become independent readers.

100 years later, this still holds true. There has been a great debate on what method of teaching is best to teach children how to read: whether phonics or the whole language method is better. The whole language learning to read method is more of a “word memorization” plan, where a young child is supposed to memorize the “shape” of the word, and say it.

It is important to distinguish the difference between phonological awareness and phonemic awareness. Phonological awareness is very broad, and includes phonemic awareness as a sub category. Phonemic awareness is very narrow, and it is only focused on the phonemes, which are the individual sounds of letters. There are no shortage of studies which have repeatedly found and concluded that teaching phonemic awareness to young children produces exceptional reading and spelling abilities. You can read more about research on phonemic awareness here.

The whole language method simply expects a child to “read” when presented reading material, and by memorizing sight words. The phonics method is a bottom up approach where you teach children to read in a logical and sequential order. You first teach children the alphabet letters and the sounds they represent; then you teach children to combine (or blend) various letter sounds together to form words; which is then followed by reading sentences and simple stories. This is a logical progression for children learning to read, where they develop accuracy in decoding words and pronouncing words. This method of teaching also helps the child to spell correctly.

There’s no doubt that phonics and phonemic awareness instruction is the superior method to teach children how to read. We have successfully used phonemic awareness instructions to teach our children at age 2 to read words, sentences, paragraphs, and simple story books. If you would like to learn about our simple, step-by-step method to teach your children to read and write, please click below:

Teach your child to read today using our step-by-step, proven method for teaching young children to read

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How to Teach Your Baby to Read

By: ChildrenLearningReading.com

Teaching your baby to read is becoming more and more high priority for parents now as it becomes clear that learning to read at a young age offers numerous advantages for the child once he or she begins school. Studies have consistently found that teaching a baby to read and helping children develop phonemic awareness well before entering school can significantly improve their development in reading and spelling. However, when it comes to teaching babies to read, there are two main teaching methods.

These two main methods of teaching a baby or child to read are the whole language method, and the phonics and phonemic awareness method (the phonetic approach), which should be the preferred teaching method in helping children learn to read. Some prefer the whole language method, while others use the phonics approach, and there are also educator that use a mix of different approaches. With the Look-say approach of whole language learning, a child begins with memorizing sight words, and then taught various strategies of figuring out the text from various clues.

The whole language method produces inaccurate and poor readers compared to students of the phonetic approach. Using the whole word approach, English is being taught as an ideographic language such as Chinese. One of the biggest arguments from whole-language advocates is that teaching a baby to read using phonics breaks up the words into letters and syllables, which have no actual meaning, yet they fail to acknowledge the fact that once the child is able to decode the word, they are able to actually READ that entire word, pronounce it, and understand its meaning. So in practicality, it’s a very weak argument. English is an alphabetic system, and unlike Chinese, it is not an ideograph like Chinese characters, and should not be taught using an ideographic approach.

I always say that if your baby can speak, then you can begin to teach your baby to read. I won’t mention any names here, but I think most parents are probably aware of one very popular “reading” program, which is a whole word approach. Using this method, your baby simply learns to memorize the words without actually reading the words. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that teaching your baby to read using the whole word approach is an effective method. In fact, there are large numbers of studies which have consistently stated that teaching children to reading using phonemic awareness is a highly effective method.

Teaching phonemic awareness to children significantly improves their reading more than instruction that lacks any attention to phonemic awareness. – statement made by the National Reading Panel [1]

I do think that the debate on the effectiveness of teaching a baby to read using either the whole language or phonics method is settled by the statements made by the National Reading Panel. They reviewed over 1,960 different studies to make their conclusions.

In fact, while my wife was pregnant with our first child, I began doing extensive research on the subject on how to teach my baby to read – after birth, of course. Like most parents I also came across the popular whole word teaching approach being heavily marketed. Seeing the infomercials got me quite excited actually, seeing the babies on TV “reading”. But after trying it out, it occurred to me that the our baby wasn’t actually “reading”, but actually “memorizing”, and I thought to myself, how are my children supposed to read newer, and more complicated words as they grow older without an appropriate method of decoding those words? This is where my long and extensive research into phonics and phonemic awareness began.

After many hours of research and learning as much as I could, I felt comfortable enough with our simple phonemic awareness teaching method, that my wife and I began giving brief 3 to 5 minute lessons to our daughter, aged 2 years and 8 months. Within just a few short weeks, her reading ability (and I mean actual reading ability, not memorization) was astounding, even for me as the parent who gave the reading instructions. Friends and family alike, were simply flabbergasted at what our daughter was capable of reading at just 2 years and 11 months. Please watch the video above, composed of clips of her reading randomly created sentences for reading fun.

I simply can’t imagine this kind of progress possible with the whole word approach – just think of the tens and hundreds of words a young child would have to memorize!

Our son is fast approaching the age where he will soon be able to speak, and we will be using the same simple step-by-step method to teach him to read. If you’d like to learn more about our simple, effective, step-by-step program, please signup for our newsletter below. We also send out new articles, updates, tips, and guides on teaching a baby to read.

Click here to learn how to easily and quickly teach your child to read.

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Free resources from Children Learning

These are free resources from children learning which give you examples of the reading program. All the exercices have answers provided at bottom pages. Enjoy this moment with your child.

You can subscribe to our mailing list and download a free color children book from Ebook Libris here.

Click on the links bellow to download the PDF from Children Learning.

Phoneme Addition : Perform phoneme addition in each of the boxes.

Phoneme Blending : Connect and blend the proper sounds of the image shown.

Phoneme deletion : Delete the common sound in each word group to discover new words.

Phoneme identity : Looking at the grouped images, identify the objects, and then identify the common sound.

Phoneme isolation : Find the designated sound and mark its position with a check mark.

Phoneme segmentation : Break the words down (segment) into their individual sounds and count how many sounds there are.

Phoneme substitution : Replace all the beginning sounds with the /k/ sound.

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Advantages of Teaching Children Reading Early

By: ChildrenLearningReading.com

Before a child learns to read, he or she must first learn the spoken language, and this is one of the first instances where family members such as dad, mom, older siblings, and grandparents play an important role in “teaching” the child the spoken English language. Whether young children realize it or not, they gain very early exposure to the alphabet when parents sing the alphabet song to them. They begin to develop language skills by being read to and spoken to. One of the keys to teaching children reading early on is by exposing them to alphabet letters, books, and reading to them often.

Reading nursery rhymes and children’s books are an important part of getting children to understand printed text. Talk to your children, and talk to them often, whether they understand or not is not important when they’re just babies. The more you talk and interact with your little ones, the better they will develop. The key is exposure, and repeated exposure. Once your child learns to speak, you can begin teaching them reading at home.

I often hear parents say that they don’t want to “push” their child too hard. How can teaching your child to read at a young age be considered “pushing” them too hard? If you as a parent already have the mentality that reading is a chore, and teaching them to read is pushing “too hard”, you certainly can’t expect your children to be excited about learning reading. On the contrary, learning to read offers a young child an opportunity for a lifetime to learn, discover, and enjoy the wonders of reading. Parents (including myself) will often underestimate the abilities and learning capabilities of young children. When we first began our teaching reading program with our first child when she was 2 years and 8 months, little did we expect that in just a few short weeks, she would be reading not just words, but sentences and story books. After about 3 months, by the time she was 2 years 11 months old, our daughter could read “Step in to Reading – step 2 (pre-school to grade 1 level)” books with some guidance. The benefits of learning to read were apparent – improved speech clarity, and better reading ability and reading comprehension.

There are no shortage of studies which find many benefits in teaching children reading at an early age. For example, one study administered a Stanford achievement test at the start of kindergarten and then again at the end of grade one found that early language based skills were highly associated with later academic performance in school aged children. [1] Similar studies also found that a high level of letter knowledge in kindergarten can reliably predict better later literacy skills.[2] Having a home environment that’s conducive to literacy growth is critical in a child’s development, and directly affects a child’s language and literacy development. Studies have found that responsiveness and support of the home environment is the strongest predictor of children’s language and early literacy skills. [3] My point here is help make parents aware that children who enter kindergarten with highly developed early reading skills will achieve greater success with systematic reading education. [4]

It’s never too late to start home lessons and programs to teach your children to read. Regardless how old your child is, starting a reading program at a young age will have ample benefits. Start with lots of talking, singing, and reading to your child right from birth, and once your child is able to speak, you can start a simple reading program.

Begin with teaching your child some basic letters and their sounds, and even as soon your child learn just a few letters and their sounds, you can begin teaching them simple blends using the letter knowledge that they have acquired. Work on ear training with your child on oral blending and word segmentation. One of the keys to teaching children read is developing phonemic awareness. Studies have shown that phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of reading success in children.

>> Click here to learn about a simple, yet effective step-by-step teaching Children reading program

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Teaching a Child to Read at an Early Age

By: ChildrenLearningReading.com

Did you know that 38% of grade four students have reading abilities below the lowest basic level as determined by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)? The NAEP is the only ongoing survey of what students known and tracks their performance in various academic subjects for the United States. In their report, the NAEP found that 38% of grade four students had reading achievement below basic levels, with a basic level reading score being 208.

To put things in perspective, the US reading scale has an upper limit score of 500, with average reading scores for grade 4 (217), grade 8 (264), and grade 12 (291). The grade 4 reading achievement levels are categorized by the NAEP as Advanced (268 score), Proficient (238 score), and Basic (208 score), and the basic reading achievement level is defined as follows by the NAEP:

Fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level should demonstrate an understanding of the overall meaning of what they read. When reading text appropriate for fourth graders, they should be able to make relatively obvious connections between the text and their own experiences and extend the ideas in the text by making simple inferences. [1]

Unfortunately, over a third of all grade four students read at levels even below basic. Is your child having reading difficulties? Research on Phonemic Awareness have found that early reading helps improves a child’s reading and spelling abilities. In fact, the National Reading Panel has concluded based on their massive review of over 1,900 studies that teaching phonics and phonemic awareness produces better reading results than whole language programs.

There are numerous documented benefits and advantages of teaching children to read early on, and teaching them to reading using phonics and phonemic awareness instructions. It is clear that early language and reading ability development passes great benefits to the child as they progress through school at all grades, and that early language and reading problems can lead to learning problems later on in school. For example, a Swedish study found that children with a history of reading problems at school entry scores significantly below average on reading in grade 4. As well, children that shows very low interest in books and story reading before age 5 also scored similarly low on sentence reading in grade 4. [2] This is just one of many studies which have similar findings, and this makes it an imperative for parents to begin exposing their children to books and reading at an early age.

So how early?

Good question!

There’s no set guideline on when you should start teaching your children to read; however, you can start cultivating your child’s love for books and reading as soon as they’re born. Obviously, very young babies would not even know what books are, however, talking to your child and reading to your child will help them develop a keen liking for books and stories. As your child grows and gets older, avoid TV-sitting them, because as they develop a dependency on television as their main source of entertainment, it becomes very difficult to dislodge that need for TV entertainment, and get them to enjoy reading books. Instead, keep age appropriate books all around the house, and read to them often. You’ll find that they’ll start picking up books and pretend to read themselves, although at very early ages, they still cannot read.

People typically think that kindergarten or grade one would be an appropriate time for their children to start reading; however, this is not the best approach as studies have repeatedly found that children with good phonemic awareness before entering kindergarten continues to outperform, and achieve exceptional reading and spelling abilities as they progress through school. On the other hand, children who enter school with reading difficulties may continue to have reading and spelling difficulties.

Click here to learn how to easily and quickly teach your child to read.