Because reading is such an essential life skill, it is very common for caregivers or parents to be concerned about their child's rate of progress.
Sometimes that emerges from school gate conversations between parents and comparisons between the levelled readers that many schools use. Of course, it is human nature to be concerned about something as important as this. But whether or not you should actually be concerned depends on some of the things you notice with your child.
If you notice some of these concerns and you feel their progress is slow, it is important to act quickly. Because an initial gap becomes a big gap very, very quickly. When a child becomes older and they find this reading thing really challenging very difficult than they become very reluctant to do it. Of course, the very thing we need to do to get better at something is to do more of it. So we've got to avoid a situation where a child disengages from reading and starts to make comments like , "I don't like reading, reading is boring, I don't want to do my home reading..." or other dramas emerge from that
Of course reading is not an optional extra. It's not something we can decide to do or not do. And that gap can become worse from negative attitudes towards reading.
Some of the behaviours to watch out for include:
- cannot say all the letters of the alphabet and does not know the sounds these letters make
- cannot identify different sounds made by the same letter in different words (e.g. a in ant, banana, zebra, swan, ball)
- cannot identify the beginning, middle and end sounds of words when you say the words
- is unable to clap or count syllables
- speaks poorly and is difficult to understand, especially by school age
- talks very little
- shows little interest in books and does not interact with them
- makes comments such as ‘I hate reading. Reading is boring.’
If you are concerned about your child’s progress, talk to their teacher and the principal of their school as soon as possible. Do not delay – remember that, without intervention, a small gap quickly becomes a large one.
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