Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Start well, start early!

All young children should experience a feeling of success and pride from early years in their reading and writing exercises. Children must also be encouraged to take risks in reading and errors should be viewed as a natural part of growth. As they feel more successful reading, their interest for books/reading increases and the better their comprehension abilities. Any child who is great at comprehending texts will keep on overcoming most school work feats. A WIDE vocabulary helps in Math word problems, Science, Socials, ICT etc.

Take time to regularly read with your child from a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books. Explain what non-fiction and fiction stories mean. For example, a story that narrates how a lizard winked at a person; pause to ask if it’s possible and explain that it’s a make-belief story written to tickle our minds. You should see how kids light up when inanimate objects are given life and when discussed, they get more excited about reading and create ideas of their own! Always pause during reading time to check that they are applying a good listening principle, and test their comprehension by asking about hidden clues in stories.

Reading skills should be strongly focused on oral language and to be successful, it must include speaking, listening, writing, poetry, rhymes and drama.

Children’s early writing attempts (between ages 4-6) should be encouraged especially on handwriting skills. Do not be overly concerned about correct spellings especially in the earlier years. Don’t be too quick to give harsh comments about their writing but be encouraging. You should often say that they can do better. Use positive reinforcement where necessary. Attaching monthly gifts to a good handwriting achieved isn’t a bad idea. 

As they enter into formal school, introduce the concept of ‘tricky words’. The concept of tricky words allows younger children to understand that some words do not follow the ‘sound rule’ pattern; that they must practice writing and spelling them as ‘sight’ words.

You should be the model of a good speaker that children will look up to and emulate by using language appropriately. Listening and responding to their very many talks and engaging in their own reading and writing goes a long way to encouraging childrens’ interest in reading, writing and speaking. If you are able to do this, you do not need to worry about any weak language spoken around the kids through home-helps, relatives and/or peers. They will decipher naturally right from wrong and always bounce back to speaking eloquently.

I know one thing works; being consistent and speaking appropriately. Repeat the right pronunciation after a wrong one has been said without correcting forcefully! Be an example and you will see results.

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