We are pleased to report that though a grant from the John P. Oldham PTO the John P. Oldham school has now subscribed to a newsletter called "Reading Connection" that strives each month to arm often busy parents (and others) with practical tips and advice on how to help their children improve their reading skills.
The information contained in these "Reading Connections" news letters is copy protected and provided here under limited license for the use of staff, students and families of the Oldham School. Use by others is not permitted under the license. Schools and educators interested in the contents of these news letter are encouraged to contact Resources for Educators at (http://www.rfeonline.com/index.cfm) to setup their own subscription.
Reading is an essential skill for us all to master. The World Wide Web is brimming with information, but all this information is ONLY available to those who can read. For some children learning to read comes easily, while for many others it is more difficult.
If your child is one who is struggling to learn to read, don't despair. With help virtually all children can learn to read. As parents and educators our job is to help identify and then image blurredclear away whatever the obstacles might be to make the process fun. For some children vision problems may be to blame so have your child checked by a good optometrist letting the optometrist know beforehand that your child appears to be having trouble learning to read. For others neurological processing impairments such as dyslexia may be to blame.
The term "dyslexia" [from Greek "dys" meaning "difficulty" and "lexia" meaning "words"] was originally coined by Dr. Rudolph Berlin of Stuttgart in the late eighteen hundreds who defined it as "a specific difficulty in the interpretation of symbols." Theories behind the causes of dyslexia still differ amongst researchers. The world wide web is awash with information on dyslexia, yet many of these "informational sites" appear bent on on pushing one theory over the others (often for a commercial gain.) The British government has a website for its teachers called A Framework for Understanding Dyslexia - What do theorists agree on? that nicely summarizes the various theories.
Whatever the causes for your particular child's reading difficulties be assured that your child will not be the first to have suffered from them and that with the right teaching techniques he or she will master reading. Your child's teacher is but one of the many great resources that the Oldham school has to help your child learn to read. Start with them and they will put you in contact with the appropriate other resources.
Research has shown that not all children learn to read in the same way. Techniques such as "phonics" which are extremely useful to some students may scarcely work at all for other students. Please note that being able to read words means nothing if the sentences they form are not also comprehended.
Comprehension plays an important role our learning to read. The English language is full of redundancy which, in many cases permits our brain to comprehend the meaning of a word merely from its context. Think about what a pain it would be if somehow before we could read we had to learn every word in the English language. Sure, we all encounter the occasional word that we may choose to look up in the dictionary, but aside from linguistics professors few of us consider this fun!
So the question arises, "How many new words can there be in a book before the "joy of reading" begins to wane?" The answer is probably just slightly more than one word per page. This is a useful thing to keep this in mind when helping your children choose their books.
Now please don't go running out to the bookstore to buy books every month in an attempt to keep your child supplied with level appropriate reading material. Yes, it is a good idea to buy and keep around a few choice books on topics your child really enjoys but as for the rest... just visit the town's Morrill Memorial Library. Of course, another great source for books is our own School's Library.
For more information on "Reading" please check out Barbara Lanzoni's (NPS) excellent Curricular Connections - Reading Web Page.
We learn to read by reading, one of the major differences between good and poor readers is the amount of time they read. Reading is an accrued skill, the more you do it, the better you get. Human beings are pleasure orientated. You only do again and again what you like. If a child finds more pleasure than pain in reading, they will do it. Build as many pleasure bridges as possible. Provide books they like and can read easily.
The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is read aloud to them. Why so? You are role modeling. Children value what we value. Listening comprehension comes before reading comprehension. A child, who has never seen a parent read for fun, will never read for fun. When you read to a child three things are pleasurably happening at the same time. 1. They are hearing unknown words used in meaningful context. 2. You too are learning. You get to go back and read great books that you missed out on as a kid. Therefore, there are two learners. 3. You are feeding the listening vocabulary, which spill over to the speaking vocabulary, and then into the writing vocabulary.
It's all good! Enjoy yourself, enjoy your children, and read to them!
If spending time to read to your children means turning off the television set for more of the day then this is all for the better. Actually televisions can offer some useful insights into ways we can encourage our children to learn to read. If the flow of programs to your television gets disrupted and the screen goes fuzzy your child will quickly want to move on to other activities. So too it is it with reading. When you child is reading and not enjoying it they tune out books. So again to avoid having your children want to tune books out be sure to provide them reading materials that interest them and they can easily read.
To fill the gaps when you are unable to read to your children have them listening to books-on-tape. These are readily available from the library and again will serve to improve your child's comprehension, vocabulary and proper pronunciation.
Finally, if your children are going to watch the television why not have them reading while they do it? Turn on - and leave on - the closed caption feature of your television. This will expose your child to the written text of all they are hearing. Hey! The price ("free") is definitely right!
Reading Specialist Oldham School