Saturday, 9 November 2013


Why do so many children struggle to read? 

We are constantly reading in the press that too many children are struggling to read.
The 'so called experts' then come forth with reasons why...and the government of the day's answer is to devise a test of 'non words'...because governments have always addressed such issues with, 'Let's throw a test at it. That'll sort it out! ' WRONG!

In my working life, I see so many children who are struggling to read and it's not because they have a problem of any sorts! I meet many parents with the word 'dyslexia' hanging off their lips (because at least if they can use a label like this, they feel a tad better.) And, I meet many parents who are at their wits end and are very worried because their child has not made a start with his/her reading. They don't know what to do, they are not trained teachers and they feel helpless.

I love teaching children to read. Why? Because it is the best gift that you can give to anyone.

Children's reading has always interested me and whilst I was training to be a teacher, we spent
a whole term studying this very subject. I doubt anyone training to be a teacher, nowadays, would
be given a term's worth of lectures and seminars on children's reading!
I also doubt that they would be well instructed on the subject of 'Pre-reading' as I was at my college.

'Pre -reading' is something that rarely happens in schools, nowadays. It appears that it is something which is very much ignored, yet it is the foundation on which to build children's reading. Thus, many children have no firm foundation on which to build and develop as readers. There are too many teachers who will happily give a child a first reading book and a tin of words to accompany it, without doing the groundwork...the 'Pre reading'. Not good.

You might well ask what is 'Pre-reading'? 'Pre-reading' includes activities such as visual discrimination (discriminating between picture, shapes and then of course, and word shapes letters); auditory discrimination ( discriminating between sounds) and left to right activities (to encourage the eye to move in the right direction, because we read from left to right). In addition to this, there are other important issues such as developing a love of books; developing the ability to use the spoken word; helping children to concentrate... and so on.

'Pre reading' is the vital element of learning to read which is being ignored by too many and only when a child has covered this preparatory stage and his skills and abilities are sufficiently developed, will he be ready to move on to the next stage. And all children are individual and develop at different rates...thus they will not all reach the stage of 'reading readiness' at the same time.

Reading does not just happen!
The teaching of reading is a very skilled task. More skilled than people realise.
It's about time that the government realised this and addressed the proper issues rather than devising tests of made up words... gobbledygook!  Start at the beginning...take a look at Pre reading.
All of the best houses are built on good, solid foundations...reading is no different!

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