As a parent you do not have to be a reading expert to give your child a jump start in becoming a reader. However, hope you are not waiting until the child is about to start school before making reading a key part of daily life. There is so much that a parent can do to be involved in this very important process. Research says that the support that parents give to a child is the most critical factor in a child’s life.
Reading is the most important determiner in how well a child will do in school and in life. Reading can open a child up to the world of knowledge like nothing else can. It is important that the process start long before a child enters school. The only person that can establish that needed foundation is a child’s parent. There are so many things that a child can learn from a parent about everyday activities and from being read to by a parent. Besides that, it can be an enjoyable experience for both the child and parent.
It all begins in infancy when a child hears voices. A parent needs to do a lot of talking to a child. The talking will lead to reading, which can be done as early as six months old. As children hear words and sounds, they begin to try and emulate what they are hearing. Their responses include cooing, giggling, and eventually actual words. Out of the many things that can be done, here are a few that a parent can do: frequent talking, frequent reading, singing, smiling, and gestures. It is very important that there is eye contact between the parent and child so that the child learns to listen and focus. Listening is one of the four components of language development which also includes speaking, reading, and writing.
As the talking leads to reading, the selections should be chosen carefully based on simplicity, size, attractiveness, and interest. Reading aloud to a child should be done several times a day for short periods of time and should become increasingly longer as the child becomes older. The real key is being consistent with the routine and praising the child throughout the entire process. Building a child’s confidence and self-esteem is a by-product that will spill over into other facets of life.
It has been acknowledged that a parent does not have be an expert in reading to read with his or her child. In fact, a parent does not even have to be a good reader to help the child. The following basic things should occur during a reading session: choose a book the child likes; find a comfortable, quiet place to read; explore the book by looking at the cover, title page, and pictures; read and stop to discuss the story frequently; help the child see the connection between words and pictures; and encourage questions and comments from the child. There are many materials available that can assist parents in some basic techniques.
Helene Goldnadel suggests that parents need to make books a special thing in the home, like a collection. They can be kept in a special place created to showcase the reading materials. Children will value books and respect them if a parent demonstrates that same care and value of them. Parents can also model being avid readers and life-long learners. Children need that modeling very early in life.
In choosing books, they need to be appropriate age level for the child. If a book is eye catching and is motivating, a child will read it again and again. Books that utilize repetition and rhyming are always very popular with children. Books that are filled with pictures, are ideal for reading sessions because the child will be receptive to more discussion and comment by looking at the pictures.
Where will you find the time to do the reading session with your child? Start with the television. Shave enough time from TV viewing to work on the reading activities with your child. In addition, use the television time to tie into language development. Parents need to take charge of the TV time and the selection of programs to be viewed. Choose programs that meet the following criteria: captures the child’s interest; encourages listening and questioning; helps the child learn new words; helps the child’s self-esteem; and can be connected to real life.
There are many stages of language development that can be addressed by parents. A parent should be involved in all components. There are many materials and handbooks available from which parents can learn the basics and can learn some specific activities to use with children. Children need a jump start in reading, and parents can make that happen.
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Are you concerned that your child may have Asperger's Syndrome or be on the Autism Spectrum even though special education personnel in your school district say that they don't? Is your child struggling academically even though school personnel say everything is fine? This article is for you! Helene Goldnadel will be discussing the 6 steps to special education eligibility, and how you can prepare for each step to increase your chances that your child will be found eligible!
The federal law that covers special education is called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 or IDEA 2004; which all states must comply with.
Step 1 is the Request for Evaluation. According to IDEA 2004 school districts must find, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities, under the Child Find section. You may submit a written request that your child receive a comprehensive psychological evaluation, to determine if they have a disability.
You should include any information that supports your case that your child has a disability. Outside evaluations, medical reports, district and state wide standardized testing, teacher comments etc. Also in your request, mention all areas that you think your child may have a disability in because schools must test in all areas of suspected disability.
Step 2 is the decision by the school district whether they are going to test your child; which is usually done at a meeting between parents and school personnel. You must stand up for your child at this meeting, and absolutely insist that your child be tested in all areas of suspected disability.
Step 3 is the consent to evaluate. If the school agrees to evaluate your child you must sign a consent form for this testing. IDEA 2004 requires that parents give informed consent. What does this mean? This means that you understand what tests are going to be given and in what areas. You may withhold consent to test in one area, or to give a specific test if you do not agree.
Ask that all evaluation reports be sent to you by mail at least 10 days prior to the eligibility meeting; so that you can be a full participant in the process.
Step 4 is the actual evaluation. The school has 60 days in which to complete the evaluation. Most evaluations have interviews with one or both parents especially if a Vineland or an Autism Rating Scale is being given. Rating Scales should be filled out by parents because they know the child best; and this will increase the reliability of the Scale.
Step 5 is the Eligibility Conference and the Individual Educational Plan Meeting. If at all possible bring another parent or an advocate who is familiar with special education.
Ask lots of questions especially about terminology that you do not understand. Ask evaluators to fully explain their report, and especially any scores that are below grade level. If scores are below grade level evaluators should be able to tell you why? For example: A third grade student that reads at a first grade level may have undiagnosed learning disabilities. Any area that is below grade level means that a child may need related and or special education services in this area, in order to benefit from their education.
If the child is found eligible then an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) must be developed for the child. All services needed should be included on the IEP, as well as minutes per week that the child will receive the service.
Step 6 is Consent for special education Placement. IDEA 2004 requires that parents sign for initial related and special education services. Special education is not necessarily a special class, but can be services that your child needs for their education. Related services are things such as therapies, assistive technology, counseling, etc.
While eligibility is not guaranteed, advocating for your child you will increase your chance of having your child found eligible for special education services!
Tom, a 10-year-old pupil, is a quiet child. He does not have many friends in school. He seldom participates in class activities; he is often in a world of his own. His academic results are poor and he sometimes throws temper tantrums when forced to join in. He is not rebellious and does not misbehave. He is just indifferent.
Such a child may be said to have no motivation for school. He seems unconcerned with the need to work hard or the need to even try. It is very hard to help such a child as he is unmotivated.
He was placed in a program which is run by a volunteer group of seniors aged above 50 years-old. The aim of the program is for the seniors to bond with the children through games and discussions of values like honesty, caring for each other and being kind to each other. The intention was to help the children enjoy school, and deal with any emotional issues they might have, in a way that did not focus on academic results. The children in the program either have behavior problems or are latch-key kids with no adult supervision at home.
In the first few weeks of the program, Tom was reserved and distant. He did not talk much but he listened. The other children were often boisterous and sometimes Tom joined in the mischief. The turning point for him came when the volunteers implemented a rewards system.
The names of all the children were written on the whiteboard in the front of the class. Children who were working hard and putting in effort to behave positively were given reward points. Everyone could see who were gaining points. This motivated some to work harder while others did not care. To encourage him, Tom was given as many points as possible. He was soon leading the class in the number of points earned.
For the final activity, the children were given a blank piece of paper and told to write down as many examples of positive behaviors as possible. Each example would earn them a reward point. Alternatively, they could just write the sentence "Take positive actions, have a positive attitude" as many times as possible. The unexpected result was that out of a class of 20 pupils, Tom was the only one who went all out to carry out the assignment. The others took the easy way out and wrote the sentence as many times as possible just to earn reward points.
Tom worked for almost 90 minutes straight on the task, longer than he had ever worked. He wrote and wrote many examples on his own without asking for any help. Even when the volunteers told him he could rest, he still carried on. From being an unmotivated child, Tom had suddenly found self-motivation. The process was so subtle that it caught the volunteers by surprise. Although he did not speak out, Tom was actually observing all that was going on. He was retaining the ideas and values being taught.
We can learn several important lessons from this incident.
- Just because children are quiet and do not speak out or participate in class, it does not mean that they are not learning. Some children just need to process the information internally in their own time, at their own pace.
- Some children need to be acknowledged or praised in a low-key way. They may not like to be singled out by the teacher to answer questions but they still crave the teacher's approval.
- Self-motivation cannot be taught but it is a natural consequence when children feel valued by the adults in their life. Even though Tom saw the volunteers only once a week, he found a way to show them that he appreciated them. It was a gratifying moment indeed for the volunteers.
- Give children the time they need to flourish. We should never give up on them. It is up to us, the adults who care for them, to try all ways to reach out to them.
According to Helene Goldnadel self-motivation, the motivation that comes from wanting to do well instead of doing well to please someone else, is the only kind of motivation that is in the best interest of your child. It is the kind of motivation that will stay with your child a lifetime.
Raising kids is the most important job in the world. All caring adults, not just parents and teachers, should help raise the kids in our community. Children learn to be patient or impatient, caring or indifferent, helpful or heartless from the adults around them.
Reading and writing activity doesn't just have to be about books. Below are many everyday activities discussed by Helene Goldnadel where you can find a reading or writing opportunity.
- Ask your child to help you write out the shopping list for the ingredients needed for tonight's dinner after reading the recipe
- Ask your child to read the instructions to a game or puzzle
- Play games to improve their spelling and word recognition, such as Scrabble, Boggle or Hangman
- Share letters or postcards from family members and help your child to write one back
- When choosing a DVD or film to watch ask them to read the titles to you, keep a family film review book and get your child to write their thoughts
- Play games on the computer that are related to letters, reading or words
- Play word snap - you can create this game for free
- Create a scrapbook of holiday activities and encourage your child to write a short diary entry for each day
- Ask your child to write out place settings when you have friends over for dinner
- Get your child to write cards on special occasions
- Help your child to write their own books and cut out pictures from magazines or draw the pictures together
- Create a photo album and ask your child to label the photos
- Play word bingo on a car journey, write down a list of words of objects you may see and have your child cross them off as they see them
- Have a treasure hunt and ask your child to write/read out the clues on how to find the treasure
- Help your child to write a letter to their favorite magazine or TV show
- Play word search, these can be created for free at home by drawing a grid and hiding words in random letters
- Ask your child to read out the instructions to a recipe you are cooking together
- Let your child read the menu at a restaurant
- Play label eye-spy if your child is just learning letter sounds when in a store and see if you can spot words starting with that letter on food packaging
- Play with a re-writable white board or chalk board to practice letters or words
- Create a themed project, such as Autumn or sharks, and help your child to research and write a summary of what they find out
Reading and writing does not have to be confined to school. The more practice they get the more their skills will improve.
A child is taught three parts of writing simultaneously. They are accurate letter construction, identical letter size, and the same tilt throughout the writing. They should be taught to concentrate on one objective only at the first attempt. He or she should learn the building of letters first, but one by one. Once they have mastered a letter, then only they should be taught the next one, because otherwise he may get confused and jumble them up.
First of all they should start with vertical and horizontal lines and circular shapes. Once they learn how to draw lines then the straight line shapes like square, triangle and rectangle should be taught. Then they should be taught some easy letters and then short words. We should not be concerned about the size of the letter first. Helene Goldnadel suggests that we should allow them to write the actual letter providing some samples for tracing, ignoring the size and the shape of that letter.
Once you notice an increase in the accuracy in writing the letters, you can then teach kids to write with proper strategy that is, they should now follow the instructions for controlling the size of the letters and maintaining its homogeneity. For this kids require a handwriting paper which gives a proper strategy and uniformity to a child to write properly. They should start their writing on the dotted lines as given in the writing book. It consists of four lines: dark lines on top and bottom and two dotted lines in the center. When the child starts writing on the center lines, gradually he learns to write uniformly. The center lines guide the child in writing the letters in proper size and uniformly. For the rapid development within a child in writing we should first write some letters or words and allow the child to follow them and copy. Regular practice makes him perfect gradually in writing and maintaining the uniformity.
Here, regular practice does not mean creating their own letters or words rather the child should copy them to increase the uniformity in writing. For this the child has to practice every day and constantly. But this does not mean that he or she will engage in long practices rather they should opt for short practices, that is, two short writings in a day with a long gap so that the child does not get irritated while writing. Again for proper writing a child should sit comfortably with his arms resting parallel to the level of writing and the feet supporting the floor rather hanging. If the posture of writing is not proper then his body may start aching and thus, he will feel tired.
Thus, we see that for proper upgradation of writing within a child, practice becomes the foremost and essential task. But we should judge whether the child is focusing on the size and uniformity of the letters. It can be checked by making him practice in the handwriting notebooks. The third part lies in the style of writing. This can be taught through cursive writing. But attention should be taken while making them write. A child should be praised for their writing.