Teach Your Child to Read
Yesterday I was reviewing some stats on the educational levels of students and adults in America and there are some very scary trends happening.
To start with, our country suffers from a very high level of illiteracy.
According to a study conducted by the US Dept of Education, 32 million adults or 14% of the pooulation cannot read, 21% of adults cannot read beyond the fifth grade levels (check out a sample of fifth grade reading level, you will see that is is extremely basic).
And a whopping 19% of high school graduates, GRADUATES cannot read!
I don’t know how you can call someone a high school graduate if they cannot read so that right there shows an appalling level of illiteracy in those who are supposed to be teaching our kids.
According to statistics, adults who cannot read have a tough time getting jobs. Many times they simply cannot. Once they realize that there is no place for them in society as a part of society, they turn to crime.
The crime statistics and the illiteracy rates tend to mirror each other and failing to teach someone, anyone, to read is a grave sin. It ruins their life and any prospect they might have for success or happiness.
Obviously the public school system, as evidenced by statistics, has no clue about how to teach a child to read. A more skeptical person might say that they have no intention of actually teaching kids. If they did, every child would be reading and comprehending but they are not.
Kids who cannot read, cannot understand. They become upset and confused and they they are labelled mentally ill and drugged.
Have you ever been confused about something very important? Do you remember how it felt? Were you upset? unable to concentrate? distracted?
It is funny that these are the “symptoms” of a learning disability or ADD or ADHD. These symptoms are symptoms of confusion and confusion is being created in our educational system. This creates a huge customer base for the pharmaceutical industry with their toxic psychotropics.
There is something seriously wrong with that.
We can do better.
So what is the correct method to start your child on a journey of understanding and a love of learning?
Start at “A”
When I say that, I mean start with the alphabet. What is it? Well, it is all about symbols. The alphabet is nothing more than a set of symbols for sounds we make with our mouths and that we form into words. Each letter is a symbol.
Your child must understand how this works. Go over what a symbol is with him (something that stands for something else. The sign on the bathroom door with the lady or the man is a symbol telling you which bathroom you can use.) Have him give you examples of symbols.
Every civilization has an alphabet. Some are symbols for actual words like the Chinese alphabet but ours are symbols for parts of words broken down into individual sounds. The sounds have names like “A” or “B” etc., and each one tells you to make that sound when you see it.
Get your child to understand how these symbols work by going over each letter and making the sound it makes.
Now get him to see that when you put the sounds together, they form a word.
You read by taking each letter in turn and making that sound. Have your child do this aloud and then make the sound of the next letter. He does this through the word, one letter after another until he can put them together and see that a word is formed.
When I was a kid I would open the newspaper every day to see if I could read. I thought it was something you developed like longer legs and a smaller head. I had no clue.
My mom told me to “sound it out” meaning form each letter sound and then form each word. This was a revelation to me! I could make the sounds and form the word which meant I COULD READ! It was that fast.
When your child discovers he can do this, you won’t be able to stop him. He will want to read everything.
Give him easy reading material
I was just on Amazon and found several books that were age appropriate for kindergarten. I would recommend books like Dr. Seuss or the Richard Scarry books, especially his “Best Word Book Ever” which gives the child a picture of what the word means so he can actually see it. Richard Scarry is also very entertaining. Your child will love his books.
Stay away from books that advocate the “Whole Word” method of learning. When the education system dropped Phonics, which is the method I described above, and instituted “Whole Word”, the students stopped learning to read and literacy levels declined.
Give your child a definition for every word he does not understand.
Make sure he understands it completely.
When choosing books for him. make sure you don’t purchase any that have words in them that he has never heard and doesn’t know. I am appalled at how many kindergarten books are stuffed with words a kindergartner would never understand.
As he comes across words in his reading, make sure you provide him with a definition and as soon as you can, teach him to use a dictionary to look up words he doesn’t know the meaning of.
Give your child toys that make learning fun
When my son was small, I bought him an electronic alphabet toy that had a voice make the sound of the letter when he pressed it. He used to play with it for hours, pressing and listening. This was how he started to learn to read.
Once he drilled in the sounds of the letters enough, we would sit together and read simple books. It was actually very easy.
This toy is very similar to the one he had when he was little.
Make study time fun
With many people, study time is synonymous with force, duress and strain. This is the complete opposite of what it should be. Study should be an exciting opportunity to learn new things that will enrich a life.
If your child loses interest in study, he has passed something he did not understand or had something happen that damped his enthusiasm.
Find out what happened and handle it with him. Give him a definition or if there was some upset, let him tell you about it and acknowledge him. Many times this is all it takes to get him moving again. Don’t make him wrong, just handle it and move on.
A child learns to love learning
One for one, children who read for pleasure are way ahead of those who do not. In this manner alone can he write cohesively and make his communications understood.
Additionally people who read for pleasure when they were young have stellar spelling and grammar when compared to those who did not. Even an educated person who does not read much can look stupid by virtue of poor grammar and spelling.
Love of reading must be taught and taught correctly or the student will have trouble from there on out.
If you do these things with your child, you will set him or her up for a life of constant learning and success. If you don’t, you run the risk of the school systems failing your child.
Being able to read and loving it is the difference between being a part of society or being disenfranchised. Help your child find his place and help him succeed.