In the February issue of ParentEd we introduced you to the 5 pillars of reading, which are key to developing reading skills from an early age. This month Karen Turnbull, literacy education expert at 3P Learning gives parents tips for helping children build literacy skills outside the classroom.

As a quick refresher, here are the 5 pillars:

How can I help my child get the most out of their reading instruction?

The five pillars of reading are used around the world to describe the essential components of learning to read and are a good reference for parents and schools to evaluate reading materials. The five pillars of reading can also serve to highlight some of the other more practical ways children are able to respond to their reading instruction. Here are some ways you can support your children outside of school:

  1. Improve phonemic awareness by ensuring that children hear as well as possible:
    1. attend hearing check-ups
    2. reduce mucus from colds or otitus media
    3. use headphones when children listen to clips of alphabet sounds.
  2. Look for phonic programs that include more difficult levels beyond the alphabet.
  3. Build vocabulary by involving children in discussion and literature:
    1. borrow books from the library
    2. access ‘talking books’ for use in the car
    3. talk about the illustration in picture books.
  4. Build comprehension from the earliest stages of reading:
    1. talk about the main ideas in a book
    2. look for fine detail or inferred meaning.
  5. Build fluency by mimicking sentences and phrases:
    1. repeat sentences or phrases from your favourite books
    2. use phrases from books in everyday life
    3. learn simple poems, riddles or rhymes that have an interesting form.

While some children learn to read easily, for most children it is an intricate skill that takes many years to master. The five pillars of reading are a reliable resource for home or school to guide you as you assist young children to learn to read.

Karen Turnbull
Literacy Education Specialist
3P Learning

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