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Learning How to Read Begins in Children's Ears
Most people think children learn how to read through their eyes. But reading is actually learned through the ears. Parents lay a foundation for success in reading by talking to a child, reading books to her, and playing auditory games such as rhyming. The more books you read, the bigger her vocabulary becomes. A bigger vocabulary allows her to recognize lots of words while she reads. If you've read books to her about cheetahs and warthogs, it's more likely she can read those words when her teacher gives a homework assignment about the Serengeti Plains.

Learning to Read, Reading to Learn
What is the normal sequence for children learning how to read?

  • From birth to age three, children listen to lots of words spoken and learn how to talk.
  • Children, aged three to four years old have growing vocabularies, and they learn how to rhyme.
  • In first grade children are taught how to blend letter sounds together to "sound out" words and memorize sight words. They begin reading simple sentences.
  • Second and third graders learn how to read "chapter" books and read fluently with comprehension.

Every once in awhile a parent says to me, "My son can't read because he's lazy." I don't agree with that. A child who can't read is missing important auditory tools:

  • He can't rhyme
  • She doesn't know the short vowel sounds-caused by her inability to hear differences in short vowel sounds. (Short vowels: a-apple, e-elephant, i-igloo, o-octopus, u-umbrella)
  • He can't put word parts together to make words-a skill used in sounding out new words.
  • She has slow recall of letter sounds. She sees letter w and can't remember what it says.

These traits are common to most children who struggle in reading. These are not traits of "laziness" but of auditory and memory deficits. Do the following games and activities to fill in your child's auditory gaps which in turn will improve his reading skills.



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