Many mothers hurry to teach their children letters, to show then how letters form syllables and whole words. Some children enjoy these lessons, others do not display any special interest towards them, yet others are not interested in letters at all. So what should be done? Should a child be taught to read – and if yes, then how and where to begin? And why do you have to teach him or her reading in particular? Do you want your child to sit quietly with a book and not bother you? Do you want to boast in front of your neighbour? Have you seen your neighbour’s little kid who already knows the letters and recites poems by heart?
The main thing that should be remembered when you teach your child anything is that both you and your child change in the process of learning. As a result of your lessons the child acquires a new skill, for example, learns the letters. Great. Apart from this, his or her attitude to you also changes. If the child is interested in being with you, he or she will gladly learn something else from you. But if it is boring for the child, he will try to escape and avoid these lessons. The child’s attitude to learning in general changes. In case of a good relationship and interesting studies the child understands that learning in general is fun and exciting. But, unfortunately, it may also be otherwise. “Tell me what this letter is, now! What a dummy, you can’t memorize three letters!!!” And the child understands as a result that he or she personally is good for nothing, and learning is boring and unpleasant. The child grows, and the world around him changes. It depends upon you parents what side this world will turn to the child – kind and joyful or vicious and gloomy. And with any learning it is very important not to hurry, not to overdo it, not to get the student bored. Let the lessons be a joy to both of you!
MYSELF! Have you noticed how proud children are of those skills which they have mastered on their own? “I have learned to paint all by myself, nobody taught me!” – the toddler announces proudly. Your task in such a case is to invent such games and activities that the child could learn truly ON HIS/HER OWN and could be proud of the achievements. Invent your own books, write fairy tales and stories, sign the pictures in photo albums, play with letters – mold them from play-dough, make puzzles with them or form them out of strings. Search for those games which would suit your particular child!
And another aspect which it is important to remember. It is not enough to know the letters and be able to read individual words. Occasionally it takes 3-4 years from the stage of reading words to reading books. And all this time your child needs your help and support, your approval and warmth. And all this time he or she will gladly listen to you reading aloud to them. Even children who have already started reading books enjoy listening to your reading – so do not deprive them and yourself of this joyful ritual!
Reading is a very complex skill, it may be compared to riding a bicycle. At the same time you need to turn the pedals, and to keep the balance, and to look forward, and to steer in the right direction, doing it not too sharply. Some children master the bicycle easily and quickly, others need help and support for a long time. It is the same with reading: do not hurry up your child and help him at the level where he is at the moment, do not compare him either with your neighbour’s children or with his brothers and sisters. Everybody learns at their own pace!
May reading bring joy to all of you! Read your favourite books in the evening, stage home plays, invent your own stories, draw pictures to them!