Dec 17 2010
According to UNICEF, “Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names and two thirds of them are women.” In America, two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Statistics show that children who don’t learn to read by age nine may never catch up. Learning to read is the key to changing our global world.
I remember learning to read. I used the Dick, Jane and Spot books.
They were word picture association books with three words on each page. They were perfect for learning to read.
I think part of the problem for parents is that we are not professional teachers, who specialize in teaching children how to read and we might be using the “wrong” books to help our children learn to read. As an author and publisher, I am shocked by the number of books that are labeled as “early reading” and yet are not using the appropriate “early reading” vocabulary by age group. I love Dr. Seuss books!! They are fun and engaging and full of repetition and rhyming patterns, but unless they are part of the early reading series from Dr. Seuss, they are not always the best choice for word picture association and learning to read. WHY? Because word association doesn’t always work with Dr. Seuss; he uses silly off-the-wall rhymes that don’t add up in a child’s head. They would not automatically put together green eggs and ham, unless they already knew the book and the rhyme.
Top tips for helping kids learn to read.
- Empower kids into the process with simple “early reading” books that use word picture association and stress word/picture connections.
- Practice getting kids to draw one page word picture association, such as draw: Tom has apples.
- Getting them to make the connection and guess what the next word is – Tom has…they can see the apples so they can say, apples.
- Play games to get children to guess word association: if I say peanut butter, you say: __________.
- Practice, practice, practice with the early learning books that specialize in word picture association and using words in the early learning vocabulary.
- Make it fun with lots of picture books with repetition and rhyming patterns that are geared to “early reading”.
- Read out loud time makes for better students. Studies have shown that preschoolers who have frequent read–aloud time with their parents have stronger language skills later in life—including higher reading, spelling and IQ scores at age 13.
Have you pledged to help a child learn to read? Visit www.target.com/reading to do your part to change our world!