Hearing Your Child Read

For an ‘untrained’ parent, hearing your child read can be a very frustrating experience.

Reading with your child at home can easily become very stressful if it is not handled correctly. It can cause great frustration if you feel that your child is not learning to read as fast as you expect, or if you have discovered that your child is dyslexic. This article will set out some guidelines which have proved extremely helpful to many parents.

The first point is to realize that reading a book together must be for pleasure, and is not the time to be stopping over difficult words and trying to work out what they say from the sounds of the letters.

If your child cannot read a word within a second or two then use the Golden Rule: just tell them the word and move on with the story. This goes against most parents’ instincts, but is the only way for the two of you to get on with the book and enjoy the story. When you read the book again the following evening, you will find that your child remembers more of the ‘difficult’ words you had to supply, and will improve each evening. The important thing is that your child is learning to be confident that you will always tell them a word which they do not know, and can trust that reading with you will be a pleasurable experience.

Unfortunately, the alternative scenario is all too well-known to us all: your child sees a difficult word, tenses up and makes a frantic effort to work it out. Meanwhile, you also tense up, feeling that your child will never learn to read!

Because of the history of the English spelling system, which has grown from lots of different sources, many words are impossible to work out from the sounds of their letters.

‘Cat’ is straightforward, as are ‘log’, ‘hit’, and ‘get’. But what about words like ‘though’? The spelling has no resemblance to the actual word that we say, and no-one can possibly know what the word says unless they are told. No-one can work out how to read words like ‘said’, ‘early’, ‘was’, ‘phone’ and thousands more from the sounds of their letters. Unfortunately we have inherited a highly irregular spelling system which we are stuck with!

However, with the growing confidence that you will always tell them a word they do not know, children do learn to read. You will notice them using other clues, like the pictures on the page, or guesses from the meaning of the sentence, and it is good to encourage them to use these clues. Provided that they have the opportunity to go over the same book on different evenings, they will gradually come to learn the new words in it, and to enjoy the story – which is what reading is all about!

Another simple method to make things easier is to share the reading with your child: read one sentence each (while still coming in straight away with any difficult words for your child). This will teach your child to look out for the next period/full stop, and will help them get an idea of what a sentence is.

Repetition of the same phrases also helps tremendously in the early stages, when your child knows that the same sentence will be repeated at each stage of the story.

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An explanation for children with dyslexia.


An explanation for children with dyslexia.

Lots and lots have been written for parents and teachers about dyslexia so I thought it was time to write something for you.

You are not the only one that has problems learning to read, write, spell, write stories and do sums. Lots of people all over the world (including me) have had problems for years and years long before you were born. We were often told that we were lazy or stupid or that we didn’t try hard enough.

Things are different now although you have the same problems today now lots of people understand, and can show you that you are not stupid or lazy and you try just as hard as everyone else and sometimes harder! And that you can do it.

All you need is a little bit of help to learn in a different way, and you can do very well if you are just shown how.

I used to find it very difficult to copy from the blackboard.

I would look up to start at the beginning, and then look down to see where I should write on my page. When I would look up again I would have lost my place, so I would have to find it again. I found this very tricky. Sometimes I would be gone back to the wrong line, and I would get into a terrible muddle. I would find it very tiring and slow.

Sometimes my teacher would tell me to hurry up and not to be lazy. The trouble was that I was not being lazy. I was working very hard and sometimes it made me cross and sometimes it made me sad.

I found it very hard to learn to read. Sometimes I would see a word but I wouldn’t remember it for very long. When I would see the word again I would have forgotten what it was. I now know this was because a small part of my memory wasn’t working very well. It was nobody’s fault it is just the way it is.

I still get my letters back to front and write b for d and p for q. It’s very confusing. T for f u for n all round the wrong way. It is because I find it hard to see the difference, and hard to remember which way they go.

Writing backwards is something I still do sometimes when I am tired.  I think that’s very clever not everyone can do it, but it does get muddling. Maybe I hear it backwards?

I can do sums very well but sometimes I get them wrong because I might put 12 for 21 and ut for tu. It’s not my fault it’s just that I get things jumbled sometimes.

Sometimes I get it hard to remember all the things that I have been asked to do. I would sometimes get into trouble for not listening. Not fair is it?

I always found spelling impossible to learn. However hard I tried I always seamed to get them wrong.

Do you ever feel like that?

Well, how do we sort out these problems?

First of all, it is a good idea to go with your Mum and Dad to see someone who really understands your problems. You will play a few games, and answer a few questions some of the things you will find easy and some of the things you will find hard. That’s o.k. That’s how it should be.

When you have finished, your Mum and Dad may go in and have a chat to find out the beat way to help you.

After that you may have a special; lesson each week with a special teacher. You will be able to tell her about all the things that worry you and she will understand your particular problems.

Soon you will see that you are much better at some things than most people, and that the bits that were difficult
not quite so difficult any more.

You will probably still get your bs and ds mixed up sometimes (like me) but not nearly as often as before. Reading and writing will be easier too. You will stop worrying so much, because you know that someone understands. Instead of getting things wrong you will be getting things right!

There is nothing wrong with you. All you need is a different way to learn and you will learn very well.

Just you wait and see.

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Brain Gym Dublin

085 1445494 (Dublin)