The Complexity of Reading for Children
The process of reading for children is a complex one, involving a number of reading skills that kids have to learn, develop, and use simultaneously in order to both read and improve their reading. According to Marilyn Adams, an esteemed American educator specialising in early reading development, the complexity of reading can be illustrated in comparison to driving a car – while drivers simply concentrate on the act of driving, readers have to build, maintain, and drive the car, all at the same time.
Build – readers have to develop systems for identifying and manipulating letters, letter-sound correspondences, words and other grammatical skills.
Maintain – early readers need to practice reading regularly in order to build an understanding of fundamental literacy skills.
Drive – applying previously learnt skills to the act of reading itself.
The goal of reading is a love of reading
Studies have shown the more enjoyable the reading experience for children, the quicker and more effectively they will improve. As such, the separate reading skills of phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension should all be taught and fostered within an enjoyable learning environment that help kids enjoy the learning process, so that they can become readers who love to read.
Literacy begins before school
What kids learn before they even set foot in a schoolroom is enormously important for their early reading life. Four areas of learning that help reading for children even before they start school include:
The Alphabet – understanding the alphabetic principle, that is, that letters and combinations of letters represent particular sounds, is fundamental to early reading development. The better the kids know their alphabet and the more easily they recognise letters and the sounds that they make, the easier time they’ll have when their eyes see a page full of print.
Conversation skills – parents who talk to their kids a lot and engage them in conversations often and regularly are doing far more than just having a simple conversation. All those conversations build up a reservoir of words as well as key listening and reading skills – all of which translate seamlessly into reading skills.
Familiarity with books – the more kids are familiar with the parts of a book, and the better their book-handling skills are, the easier a time they’ll have of it when their hands pick up books at school. Familiarity with the nature of books – knowing the spine, the cover, the pages – as well as a basic understanding of the structure of stories can help make reading less daunting once at school.
Phonemic Awareness – which is the ability to identify and manipulate the individual sounds that make up words, known as phonemes, not only gives kids a firmer understanding of the alphabetic principle, but makes it easier for them to take on challenging words – allowing them to break down these words to their individual sounds.
Kids who struggle will continue to struggle without help
Kids usually begin reading by year one, and it is not unusual for kids to struggle with one or more reading skills. Teachers have found that kids who begin to struggle with a particular area of reading will continue to struggle if they do not receive help. For this reason, it is essential that kids who struggle get reading help in order to become better readers.
Kids who get help go on to flourish in their reading
Through constant vigilance of a child’s reading development, reading difficulties can be prevented or detected early. Children who receive help early can overcome their difficulties and gain the confidence to then take on more advanced reading.
Raising readers takes a village
Teaching kids to read is a partnership between school and home. Knowing what your child is reading at school, or the subjects they are currently learning about is important so that you can align their home reading materials with their school work.
Reading Eggs provides a strong link between school and home, providing reading instruction based upon current literacy research and best educational practice. Reading Eggs helps kids develop all five key literacy skill areas: phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, fluency, vocabulary and reading comprehension.
With special reading skills tests to assess reading progress and ability, Reading Eggs can easily identify areas of weakness a child may experience and subsequently match lessons to meet their current level of reading ability. Catering to children aged 3 to 6, the goal of every Reading Eggs lesson is to make reading for children fun and motivational, giving them the ability to learn at their own pace.
For kids aged 7-12, Reading Eggspress continues reading development to more advanced reading and literacy skills and includes access to over 1000 ebooks.
Thank you for providing a fantastic resource that ALL of my class love! They are able to access the learning experiences at their own instructional level and work independently, both at school and from home. Peta Bullen, Tewantin State School
My daughter loves Reading Eggs! She is so excited by the progress she has made through the site. She enjoys the games and is learning so much. I highly recommend it. It is great for learning phonics and letter sounds. The games are fun and educational. We will continue to use Reading Eggs until she is reading on her own! Alycia A