I have written about reading sometime back but have decided to write again as I believe this is very important for all parents and especially parents with dyslexic children.
A parent's primary responsibility in preparing a child to be a good reader is to read to the child every day, beginning early in life and continuing into his teens. I believe, my siblings and I are avid readers because my mother used to read to us every day from the time we were about 4 years old. It comes to me as no surprise that my 5 children are also avid readers because either my wife or I will read to them every day before they go to bed.
Reading aloud to your child helps develop his vocabulary as well as comprehension, both of which are essential for him to read. Reading to your child also allows him to enjoy books above his reading level. This may sound simple but believe me when I say a child will learn to love to read if you read to him every day. Never underestimate a child's listening ability. My first dyslexic student John will sit for the whole hour and listen to me with full attention when I read his favourite books – Binnacles. I was surprised at how he could remember the various names of all the characters in the book.
You may be thinking how is it that your child will learn to read if you're the one doing all the reading? From personal experience I know that if a child grows up in a family that reads to him and love reading themselves he will learn to read and enjoy reading. Children imitate what they see and hear and parents can set good examples by being good readers. Reading to a child lays the foundation for the child to love to read.
Some parents mistakenly believe that once their children can read, they don't have to read to them anymore. My wife read to our children even when they were in form 5. They just loved to be read to while they were going to sleep. I have included this as one of the ideas of smart studying in my book found at:
When you feel your child is ready to read, start off by getting him to read very simple books. You could tell him that he will soon be able to read the type of books you have been reading to him. Teach him phonics as introduced in my lessons in this blog. At the same time teach him the Dolch words as introduced in my lessons. Some words, particularly the Dolch words, have to be memorized as they do not make phonetic sense or visual sense. It is almost impossible to make visual sense of words like was, when, who and what.
As I have mentioned earlier, you do not have to make a choice between sight words/ whole language and phonics. I have used both phonics and sight words in my lessons. Teach your dyslexic child as instructed in my notes.
Once your child has learnt to read he will be a sight word reader just like you and me. He will use phonics and context to work out new or unfamiliar words.
One way of enticing your child to read is to ask him to read to you while you are doing chores. You could ask him to read while you are cutting vegetables, washing dishes or cooking. Be attentive to him while he is reading and stop at convenient places and ask him what he thinks will happen next. You too could give your opinion as to what you believe is going to happen. This will create a lot of interest in your child to want to continue reading and to also read the next time you are doing chores.
A reader has written to me asking me as to why I have stopped at 10 times table and not done 11 and 12 times table. I will do this in my next article.