At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book – that string of confused, alien ciphers – shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader. – Alberto Manguel
It is indeed magical to see your child read, and it is a huge achievement for the child as well. The child needs all the support and the correct environment to grow and improve as a reader. I see so many parents push their children and criticize them instead of helping them. The reality is parents need to be all the more patient and help the child at this stage. I understand when you hear your child do something wrong, your first thought is to correct them… but this doesn’t work always. Here is what I always tell some parents of beginning readers… You can check this video to understand which stage of reading your child falls in –
Never say “No you pronounce it wrong, this is how you do it”.
When your little reader reads incorrectly, do not say, “Stop! This is not right. Read it again, read it again till you get it right.” Instead, let them read till they are done. You can say ‘Now, Mama/Papa will read and you tell me if I’m doing it right.’ If something they read changed the meaning of the sentence completely, tell them after they are finished. “You know what is the difference between ‘WERE’ and ‘WHERE’ let’s go and check the dictionary.”
Do Not Laugh at your Little Reader. I know some mistakes are hilarious as they change the meaning of the sentence, but you will have to stop yourself from giggling away. This is the easiest way to make their confidence go for a toss. When my younger sister started reading, we made fun of her… and it resulted in her shunning her books and she stopped speaking in English as well. They are working harder than you think on their new-acquired skill and laughing at them would not be a good idea.
Do not tell them to ‘Hurry Up’ or ‘Slow down a little’. It is critical to develop right pace as well… so how can you do that? It is simple, read out to them and model the correct speed. Just because they have started reading on their own it doesn’t mean you’ll stop reading out to them. The book you read should be an age appropriate book which your child can read once you have modeled. Read the book again and again over a couple of days and you child will be an expert reader soon.
If your child read ‘masterpiece’ but got stuck on the word in the next reading, do not say “Stop it! You know this word. How can you forget the word you read yesterday? Try hard.” If your child did remember he knew the word he wouldn’t pause at that again. We all forget things and it is normal. Do not tell them, they knew the word because no one likes being told they have forgotten something. You can read together, break the word and then repeat difficult words together.
Give them lots and lots of books to read and encourage them by reading together.
And as we say #HappyRaisingReaders
A story-teller, a Communication Trainer, a Parenting Blogger, a wife to her best friend and mum to the most adorable 2-year-old – Zoe. Falak Randerian, plays many roles, her favorite Being Zoe’s Mom. She runs story telling & communication workshop for kids My Little Chatterbox. You can read her personal blog Being Zoe’s Mom and her parenting website which she runs along with her elder sister www.momsters.in.