Improving your child's reading
Now your child is four, you'll undoubtedly be thinking about key skills like reading.
It's really important to remember that children (even siblings) develop and learn at different rates. So regardless of whether your child seems advanced for his or her age - or indeed if they seem to be struggling - there's plenty that you can do to encourage their development.
Essentially children need to develop 3 key skills in order to read:
- Phonics - the sound which individual and groups of letters make
- Syntax - how words and sentences relate to each other
- Semantics - this is all about how words and sentences relate to each other and indeed how they relate to the whole story. It's about being able to recognise and define words, and how they build up the characters in the story and the overall plot.
How can I help my child's reading?
First, pronounce letters phonetically i.e. as they sound: ‘a' (as in apple), ‘b' (as in bed) etc. Read rhyming books or books of nursery rhymes and encourage your child to point out words that rhyme. You can then explain how they are broken down phonetically. For example, c + at = cat; m + at = mat; h + at = hat. You could also ask them to suggest some other examples.
Second, as you read to your child, follow the words with your finger. This will help them recognise how sentences progress. Over time, you can ask your child to take over; so whilst you read, they follow with their finger.
Finally, read stories and talk to your child about them as you read them. For example, ask your child how she/he thinks that the main character in the story feels, or ask them to try to guess how the story might end.
Play and pretend
Help further develop your child's phonics and language skills by playing the Perform alliteration game - Weird, Wonderful Will.