by David Morgan
To thrive at school and then develop the best possible career, your child needs to be an excellent reader. Just being able to read is not enough.
A young enthusiastic reader will get through 2-3 books every week. That might be 1000% more than your child is reading. And so a huge differential will open up.
But here are some tips for making reading more fun for your child, which will soon turn it into a pleasure. We use all of them in our Easyread System, which gets extremely fast results:
TIP 1 - Avoid "Early Reader" Books
This may seem a bit crazy, but teaching a child to read with a book is a mistake. It's like teaching a child to catch a ball by playing basketball.
A bright child will look at the text and use the easiest approach, which is to memorise some words and guess the others. That seems to work OK at first, but leads to more and more guessing as the books get more complicated.
Eventually you will see a collapse of confidence at around 6 or 7 years old.
TIP 2 - "Dimensionalise" the Phonemes
Your child needs to be familiar with the 43 phonemes we use. They are the little sounds that make up each word. You can find a list of them at the beginning of any dictionary.
But phonemes are non-physical, abstract objects and very hard for your child to remember. So what we do is create strong visual characters to represent each one. For instance, for the sounds of the letter A we have the ants in pink pants, the ape in a cape and the ark in the park. Those are things your child can visualise and so remember.
The brain stores most memories in a visual form.
TIP 3 - Play These Games
You are avoiding books. So what else can you do?
Try these games, that work very well for us:
Build-A-Word. Select 6 plastic letters, including two vowels. Repeat the main sound of each one. Then think of a simple word for your child to write with them.
Select-A-Word. Write three very similar words, like hat, mat and map. Say one of them and ask your child to select which one it is.
Nonsense Words. This time, use your plastic letters to write a simple nonsense word like gab, hin, mub or wid. Ask your child to read it.
Easyread-I-Spy. This is just like the classic "I spy with my little eye..." game, except that you use the first sound of the word rather than the first letter.
TIP 4 - Less is More
Never do more than 10-15 minutes of reading practice in one go. That is the most your child can do without losing concentration. Struggling on is counter-productive.
TIP 5 - Try Easyread TrainerText
TrainerText is how we let a child read unaided, while learning. The visual image for each phoneme in a word is floating above the text, so that the child can check if a word is unfamiliar. You can do the same with the images you have created in tip 2.
Using TrainerText the fear of the text goes away, because your child can always check the images for help when needed. So confidence can build quickly.
Using these techniques you will see a new confidence developing over just a few days. The children using Easyread are more enthusiastic from day 1 and have jumped forward in their reading within 3 weeks.
David Morgan is the author of the Easyread System, designed to help children learn to read over the Internet.