When independent reading begins
By Amy Reiter |
This is it. Payoff time. Somewhere in these years, the majority of children will start to read independently. The best advice is to let her set the pace. Offer support, encouragement and praise, but know that every child learns at a different rate - and responds to different strategies. Give her the strategies she needs, spend time with her and help her learn, but never apply pressure. Learning to read is not easy. It's a long, slow process.
She may start by recognising a word or two, then a few more, and soon she may be piecing together sentences. She may page through a book on her own with greater conviction and concentration. She may begin to write, as well, in an attempt to create her own story. She may be engaged and learning one day, and frustrated the next. Reassure her that she'll eventually conquer it. Remind her of all the things you love about reading -- and let her see you read for enjoyment during the day.
Even as she begins to read on her own, and eventually in school, you should continue to read to her. The books you choose to read together may deepen and lengthen and increase in complexity. But the simple pleasure you both take in enjoying a story together will only grow.
Your child's teacher may give you strategies for helping her learn to read unfamiliar words. She may encourage you to find a word within a word, or a combination of letters, that is familiar, and use that as a tool for figuring out the rest of the word. Or she may suggest getting clues from the words around it, or the illustrations. Soon your child will be writing stories of her own. Amazing.
At this point, your child will be developing clear interests of her own. Choose books that cater to them. And if you haven't already, get your child her own library card - and let her choose her own books. The world of books is hers to explore!