Just Reading Aloud to a Child is Not Enough

Parents assume that when they send their young child to school the child will quickly learn to read. Parents are told that if you read to your child every day and surround your child with books they will go on to be good readers. For some children, this will be true, they will easily become good readers. But not all!

For many children learning to read will be much more difficult. Even in one family with all children experiencing the same reading environment, we will often see one child that doesn’t learn to read like the others. Phonemic awareness is the basis of the reading process and this may need to be explicitly taught to some children or they may have some hidden learning difficulties such as dyslexia, auditory or visual processing issues, dysgraphia etc.

Listening to books being read does not help the child learn the connection between the spoken sounds and the letters printed on the page. Parents can help a child understand that we read the words, and from left to right, by running their finger under the words as they read. Pre-literacy activities such as identifying the sound that starts a word or ends a word are very beneficial.

Children often struggle with comprehension skills and written composition. Parents can help with this when reading aloud to a child by discussing the story content and sequence of events. They should make sure that the child knows the meaning of the words they encounter in the books.

Sometimes even with the best efforts of parents and teachers a child still struggles with acquiring literacy skills. Getting the help of a specialist literacy teacher and program in a one to one lesson environment can make a huge difference to the child’s learning outcomes and self-esteem.