Importance of Reading - Part 1
The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

The importance of reading cannot be overestimated. Success in school, in social settings, and in future employment are all highly correlated to reading success.

If a child has a reading problem it’s crucial that it’s identified early. Early interventions can be set in place to help the student.

Statistics have shown that children with reading problems often drop out of school early. Without a diploma, finding a job is difficult. Their outlook for a bright and happy future has narrowed immensely.

Does Your Child Have a Reading Problem?

  • Does he confuse letters and their sounds?
  • Does he have trouble sounding out words?
  • Does he recognize words on sight? Out of context?
  • Does he read slowly, word-by-word?
  • Does the inflection in his voice indicate sentences have periods, question marks, and exclamation marks?

While a young child who is learning to read will experience some of this, if it continues – with no signs of improvement - it’s time to talk to your child’s teacher.

If there’s a problem, the teacher has probably already contacted you. And, of course, any reading problem will be indicated on your child’s academic report card with a grade.

Classroom teachers have been trained and know what to do, but there are a few things you – as a parent - can do to help at home.

Five Crucial Areas of Concern

1. Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness – a prereading skill - is not phonics. It is auditory, so it doesn’t involve words in print.

Phonemes are the smallest units of speech sound.

The child becomes aware of phonemes when he can hear, identify, and think about them.

What you can do …

  • First, help your child recognize the letters of the alphabet.
  • Teach him to HEAR sounds in words.
  • Teach him that words are made up of the smallest parts of sound (or phonemes).
  • One of the best things you can do for a struggling reader is to teach him how to blend phonemes. It’s also important that he can decode or translate the sounds into words.

2. Phonics

Does your child understand that written letters have spoken sounds? This refers to phonics.

Knowing the letters and their sounds helps the child recognize familiar words. This also helps him to decode new words.

Here's One Place to Start!

First, teach the sounds of each letter!

Next, teach the sounds that blended letters make!

Be sure to read the Importance of Reading - Part 2

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