Learning to read is one of the most exciting things to happen to a child when they start school. It’s not easy to learn how to read but thankfully there are lots of ways parents can help develop their literacy skills at home. Every child is unique and will develop their skills in their own time. However, children who come from homes where literacy and reading are valued are at an advantage. Huge development can occur in leaps and bounds or can be achieved at a steady pace.
How do five to six year olds learn?
Learning name recognition
Many teachers will begin with a child’s name as a reading point as many children know their name and can identify the letters in their name. This will give them a great start and help them feel confident about beginning to learn how to read. Provide your child with models of their own name which they copy and learn from.
Learning letters and sounds
Pre-schoolers often have a good sense of their A, B, Cs however during the first year of school they will learn the sounds which go with each letter. You can help your child by repeating silly tongue twisters together, this will help her learn about the sounds in different words.
Learning the concepts of print
When your child starts school he will learn how to hold books correctly, how to identify the title of a text and will begin to understand that the front or cover page often tells what the story is about. Your child will also be taught how to read from left to right.
Learning that letters form words and words form sentences
Your child will learn that letters are used to form words and words are joined together to form sentences.
Learning to sound it out
Some teachers will describe the first words your child learns to read as CVC (consonant, vowel, and consonant), these are words such as dad, mum, cat and dog. Your child will learn how to hear and identify each single sound. This skill will help him to learn to write and spell words. Your child at this age will not be able to tell how many letters or syllables a word has. You can help them to learn this by playing clapping games at home. Get them to clap the number of sounds they hear in a word.
Your 5-6 year old child will also be learning how to develop comprehension skills at this age. There are six main comprehension skills which can be taught from this time.
These skills are:
Making connections –your child will be taught to link what they have read to things they have already learned about this topic.
Predicting – using the information they have already read in the text to guess what will happen next.
Visualising – being able to picture in his head what is happening in the story
Monitoring – being able to know when a word or story sounds wrong
Summarising – being able to explain what they have heard or read in one or two sentences
Help them learn
Your 5-6 year old will learn high frequency words: which are a small number of words (about 200) that make up a large percentage of written print.These words include "the, and, they" which help children to read more fluently.
Reading at home is very important for children and should be done every night after school. It’s vital that you not only read to your child but also interact with them about what’s happening in the story.
Your child will probably bring home a book from school but you should also allow them to select their own book at home. A book that is easy to read will build their confidence while more difficult books that you read together will help them to discover subjects that they are interested in. Making reading a special time in your home will emphasise the importance of reading to your child.