5 Things That Affect How Early Kids Can Read

5 Things That Affect How Early Kids Can Read

So your kid can now speak. Reading is next right? Maybe.

Judith Hudson, a developmental psychologist on Babycenter.com argues that kids ‘just pick up reading’ and don’t learn through direct instruction.

To put it bluntly, I don’t know what planet she’s been on to develop this idea, but I distinctly remember learning to read, learning the names of all the letters and then the corresponding sounds. I remember learning to sound out small, simple words, and reading from early readers with family members.

If your kid isn’t prone to learning by sounding out the letters (ie, it doesn’t work for them), perhaps I can understand feeling that they just ‘pick it up’.

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My past years in a classroom teaching taught me that kids aren’t going to learn to read at all though, if they aren’t coached and regularly exposed to printed words. And, the topics have to genuinely interest them.

But what about teaching your baby to read? This is the challenge being hawked by a California based company that created the series, Your Baby Can Read.

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In general, many language and educational experts would say no, babies can’t learn to read, it’s simply too early.

But some parents are ignoring these guys and diving in anyways. What to do? Make your own choice.

Here are 5 things that affect how early your child may fall in love with the printed word:

1) Exposure to Books

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Many experts say that the key to fostering an eager reader is exposing your kid to a lot of books. Hang out in the library as a first step.

To go further, make sure your kid sees you reading often, as well as other family members and friends. This way they’re likely to think that something interesting and important must be on the page. It creates motivation.

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Reading aloud with your kids often and making trips to the library or bookstore together to find new material makes toddlers connect reading with fun.

If your child has never really seen anyone they know crack a book open before they hit grade one, getting them familiar with words might be a tough go.

 2) Your Enthusiasm

This point goes along with #1. If you read a lot because you simply have to, but you hate it and complain about it, your kid isn’t likely to warm up to the activity. If you find things you like and that your kid can like, share your enthusiasm. It’s catching.

 3) The Speed of Their Brain

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This one is up for argument. Some say research has proven that until the age of 5 or 6 years old, the brain can’t make the neural connections needed to decode letters and to combine them mentally, to form words.

Hence, learning to actually read before this point is impossible and because of this, there’s no point trying to teach your 3-year old to do it.

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However, real living proof of 4 year-olds who can read does exist. Sure, they’re not tackling War and Peace, but they are giving Spot the Dog a good run for its money.

It depends on the child, and the way their brain is developing. Some kids can hit a baseball pretty young and others can’t slam a pumpkin one foot in front of them to save their life. It might sound harsh, but it’s true. Give them time.

 4) How Much You Talk With Them

More than learning to identify flash cards, babies need adults to talk to them. Chat away, tell your baby what you’re doing and seeing as you go about your day. This will allow them to start picking up vocabulary and emotional content as you interact, forming a good language base.

5) Their Ability to Identify Symbols

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Some parents try to keep their kids away from mainstream brands, but if your toddler does know Starbucks by its logo, rest assured. Experts say this is evidence they are simply learning to assign meaning to a symbol, which is good.

Letters are symbols and this is the first steps towards learning to read words in print.

Should your baby memorize flashcards? It’s up to you. Balance is key, as is keeping life fun.

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