Developing strong reading skills in young children is a journey, not a race 


Written by: Faith Angelakis, Literacy Specialist Summit School of Ahwatukee

Faith Angelakis, the reading specialist at Summit School of Ahwatukee, has a poster hanging prominently on her office door that says: 10 Ways to Become a Better Reader: 1) Read, 2) Read….10) Read. “I often hear students chuckle as they walk by and read the poster,” says Angelakis with a smile. “It may seem simplistic, but reading to young children may be the biggest head start to building a solid literacy foundation, preparing child to read well when the time is right.” Here are just a few of the benefits that parents teach when reading aloud to children.

• Reading fluency: Hearing an adult provides an excellent example of smooth, properly phrased, and expressive oral reading. When it is time for your child to read, the lessons modeled will be remembered and emulated.

• Story language and vocabulary: When an adult reads, the child hears language and vocabulary that aren’t always used in everyday conversations. Reading builds vocabulary and your child’s ability to understand and communicate both orally and with descriptive written words.

• Directionality and 1:1 correspondence are important. Point at the words as your read to your child; this teachers that English is read from left to right, that spaces around the print indicate where a word starts and ends, and that each spoken word matches one on the page.

• Developing a love of reading may be the most important of all. Think of all the literature, textbooks, news, or professional reading we do in a lifetime. It shouldn’t be a chore. Make reading time with your child part of the daily routine. Your child will associate reading with positive experiences, developing an intrinsic motivation to continue.

• Talk about the book: Simply recounting what was read may help memory, but what does your child think about the book? What other setting could the story be in? What other choice could the characters make or what would your child do? Show how changing a word or voice can change the meaning.

Let the racers race. Making reading part of your family’s routine will do more than earning some reading “prize”; it will lay the foundation to a successful journey to reading and learning.

About the Author:

BENDER_FAITH

Faith Angelakis holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, a Reading Specialist endorsement and is CLIP certified, (Collaborative Literacy Intervention Project).

Through collaborative efforts with grade level teachers, she leads the school’s preschool and elementary literacy team. Ms. Angelakis works with teachers, to help them continue to develop professionally, by modeling lessons or team-teaching units. She also helps teachers plan literacy instruction for the year, and provides professional reading materials about the most recent teaching techniques.

Additionally, Ms. Angelakis works directly with students in kindergarten through third grade classrooms, teaching reading to small groups of students, at their instructional reading level.