Learning how to read instills a sense of imagination and wonder in a child. Studies have also shown that reading is a stepping stone to academic and career success.
“There are things that parents can do at home to help their children love reading,” says Betsy Fanning, head of school at Trident Academy in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
1. Build a Literature-rich Environment at Home
It’s important to fill your home with books a child may want to read, whether it is from the bookstore or the library. “You can also ask your child’s teacher for reading material that is just below or at their grade level, so they can read with some success,” says Fanning.
2. Read Every Day
Once you have an at-home library from which to choose, Fanning suggests children read at least 20 minutes every day. “Children should read out loud to their parents,” she says. “We employ a multi-sensory approach to everything – children say, see and hear what they are reading. The more senses they use, the more readily the information will stick in their brain.”
3. Parents Should Read Too
For the youngest readers, Fanning says parents should read with their children. “The child reads one page out loud and the parent reads the other,” she says. “This time spent together becomes a lovely bonding time and creates lifelong memories.”
However, for some children the reading experience isn’t as easy or as fun as it is for other children. This could lead to problems down the road. Research shows that students who are not reading on grade level at the end of third grade have a higher incidence of dropping out of high school.
“It’s in third grade when a child stops learning to read and, instead, reads to learn,” she says. “If they don’t have a grasp of the reading dynamic, they may struggle academically and come to avoid reading.”
4. Get Further Testing
If your child has been having reading difficulty, it might be time to obtain further testing. “If you have a child who has been struggling for more than a year, the first step would be to ask for some testing to see what the issues are,” says Fanning. “Then you can put a plan into place with their school. If a child continues to struggle, a program like those provided by Trident Academy might help.”
Trident Academy offers an after-school academic therapy program and utilizes The Orton-Gillingham approach to reading. It was developed by neurologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton and educator Anna Gillingham. The Orton-Gillingham approach teaches children how to read using different modalities of learning – visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile.
“Once a child learns how to read, it makes a difference in their self-esteem, their feelings about reading and their feelings about school,” says Fanning. “Trident Academy helps those learners who struggle turn around their trajectory and begin to soar!”
For more information about Trident Academy, dial 843-884-7046, or visit TridentAcademy.com.