Learning to Read: What the Experts Say - How to Grow a Bookworm
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Learning to Read: What the Experts Say

There is a lot of useful information out there about learning to read but it’s often difficult to find or to know how useful it will actually be.  I have found several articles that are aimed at giving information and advice to parents of children who are learning to read. I have listed them here with a short summary of what they cover.


Learning to read:

Help Your Child Learn To Read-The BBC

This is a basic but very useful article written to introduce the Cbeebies story-time app. The writers talk about the importance of inspiring children with a love of books.  They go on to say how valuable story-time is for children’s development and to make it a part of daily routine.  They also suggest that you should store books in a way that children can see the covers or spines so they can choose for themselves.

Before children learn to read they suggest that you can ask children to look for story clues in the pictures. After a story they also suggest that you discuss the story with your child and ask them questions about what happened and what they enjoyed.


Learning to read:

How Most Children Learn To Read-Derry Koralek and Ray Collins, Reading Rockets

This is a fantastic article of great interest to parents of children of any age.  Koralek and Collins give a clear but detailed account of the stages of development that affect early literacy.  They clearly explain how important early interactions are and shows us how skills are developed and how we can support these as parents.

A particular point that  I found fascinating was that babies’ babble contains phonemes more than just those of their own language and they have the ability to distinguish between phonemes in other languages.  As they grow up they begin to ignore the phonemes from languages that are not their own.

The most useful part of this article is that they show how things that your baby or young child does, or you do with them, affects their development. The writers also give an indicator of the level children will be working at, at different stages of education.  A very interesting and useful article.  Well worth a read.


Learning to read:

Top 10 Best Books For Learning To Read-The Book People

This does what it says on the tin.  A great list of books that can be used to supplement school reading books.  There are books here for readers of a range of ages and at different stages.  The list contains several book schemes  that are staples in school bookshelves while also introducing several  that I hadn’t come across.


Learning to read:

How Children Learn To Read-Maria Konnikova, The New Yorker

This article from the New Yorker looks at studies done by Fumiko Hoeft, a cognitive neuroscientist and psychiatrist currently at the University of California, San Francisco.  She aimed to find key indicators of reading ability and phonological awareness.  These studies looked at the range of things that can affect this ability.

They discovered that development of a white matter, a specific tissue found in the brain, between starting school and year 3 linked strongly to later reading ability.  This development seemed to indicate that what occurred between these times was crucial and so Hoeft  looked at how this time could best be used and what teaching practices would be most effective.

The conclusion of this study was that children who seem to struggle with reading early on can become able readers but it is crucial how they are taught.  The most effective method was found to be teaching the skills involved in reading across all areas of the curriculum.  A very informative article that gives some clues as to why some children appear to make quicker progress that others.


Learning to read:

How Do Children Really Learn To Understand What They Read?-Jo Gray, One Education

A very useful post that outlines several key points of the National Reading Curriculum and shows us why they are important.  Jo Gray talks us through how we learn to read and how we learn to understand what we read.  She includes some very clear examples that illustrate her points beautifully.

If you would like to know more about what goes on when a child learns to read and how current practice links to this then this is a must read for you.  Jo sums up her post by explaining that the most important element of reading, the one that really makes a reader, is a love of reading.  I couldn’t agree more!  She also says that it is crucial that children can access books that will engage them and sustain their attention.  I have included a link below which will take you to Jo’s list of books to engage reluctant readers.

Reluctant reader book list


Learning to read:

From Bedtime Stories To Bribes: How To Get Your Child Reading More-Paula Cocozza, The Guardian

A fantastic article full of useful detail yet also very accessible.  Paula Cocozza makes it very clear that hooking children onto books and keeping them hooked should be the key objective of teaching reading.  Her article is strewn with little tips and ideas for children of all ages.  She fully advocates reading to children well into their teenage years and gives suggestions on how to make these sessions really count.

Cocozza also mentions the benefits to be had in children choosing their own books and even in re-reading books that they love. A really good read really worth dipping into to see if you find anything useful.


I hope you have found this useful and that I may have directed you towards some information that either broadens your horizons or at least make story-time a little easier.

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