Did I already say how important practice is? A kid that does not practice, is not going to learn how to read well. Reading takes practice and concentration times a hundred million.
Want to know how to best help your learner to progress in reading? Support supervised and positive practice. What do I mean by that? I mean support practice that is a positive experience. Support practice that builds confidence, by opportunities to be successful. Too much challenge at one time, and your learner may shut down, and not accomplish.
Everything has to be practiced:
Singing the ABCs
Recognizing and naming upper and lower case ABCs
Giving appropriate sounds for ABCs
Giving appropriate sounds for letter combinations or phonics chunks
Reading high frequency words
Learning to sound out words
Increasing reading stamina
Every aspect of reading takes lots of practice. Provide support and encouragement along the way. The following are some tactics I have seen work to encourage motivation to persevere through practice:
- Adult involvement and attention– Share your time. Be focused and intent on the child and the task, demonstrating love and care. That is a powerful motivator!
- Intermittent and planned, small and big tangible rewards. These rewards will be personalized to the tastes of your learner and your situation. Once upon a time I taught a child who loved elephants. Her very wise and involved mother brought a whole bag of “elephant” gadgets and toys for me to use as rewards for her daughter. This topic is worthy of an entire blog post dedicated to it, but for now I will explain example of intermittent reward may be, ” You may have a cookie for every five items that you finish, and at the end I will give you a glass of milk.”
- Provide variety with games and activities that mix learning and FUN together.
- Make deals or contracts. “If you ………… I will ………….” Sign it. Post it. Make it official and talk it UP. Make it fun and exciting and verbally praise progress along the way, which reminds me of the next idea:
- Verbal praise. Also worth another blog post. Show JOY, DELIGHT, pride and excitement in your voice as you find ways to verbalize your praise. It might be as simple as, “Oh my goodness! You figured out that word on your own!! I am so proud of you! That is AMAZING!!!” or “Yes, you are on the right track…”
- Brag Notes– Write specific accomplishments on fun paper(s) and sign. Have the child show the brag notes to other family members or close friends.
- Build rests and brain-breaks in to practice sessions. (also worth a future post) This can be as simple as, “Read these cards to me for 10 minutes and then I will set the timer and let you go jump on the trampoline for 15. Then we will read more.”
- Give choices when possible and appropriate. “Would you like to read this story or this story first?”
- Involve the learner in goal setting. “We need to work on our handwriting don’t we? Which letter would you like to get really good at forming first?” or “Yesterday you read for 10 minutes straight. Do you think we shall try to get to 15 minutes today?”
- Review what the learner has already learned! We all like to hear of our accomplishments, and your child is no different. Innumerate all of the things that he/she used to not know but now he or she does. Use this as an opportunity to praise the hard work that made those accomplishments possible.
- Emphasize the importance of good attitude, and praise good attitude and best effort! Attitude determines altitude! It is never too early to talk to your child about this. Hearing how you value good attitude and best effort will help your child make right choices.
- Impress purpose and benefit of reading and writing. You can do this by having your child read signs, labels, recipes, and write lists that you dictate (even if you spell).
- Model passion and appreciation of reading and writing by letting your child see you enjoying and using reading and writing.
All 13 of those ideas can help keep your learner moving in the right direction. To persevere and practice, practice. practice. This is a general topic that I will surely revisit. Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing.
Happy learning to you and your precious student(s),