As mentioned earlier, in order to cultivate a child's independent reading ability, it is important to understand the different stages of reading development. Today, let's focus on the first stage - pre-reading (0-6 years old).
Parents only need to remember the key points:
Follow the child's interests - Emergent Literacy
Oral language and mother tongue come first - Phonological Awareness
Balanced interaction - Dialogic Reading
1. Interest comes first - "Emergent Literacy"
🌟Choose books based on the child's interests and read with them daily;
🌟Point out words around the child based on their interests;
🌟Guide the child to understand that symbols such as words, icons, and pictures are interesting and to know that Chinese characters are one word per sound, read from left to right and top to bottom.
Parents can think about themselves, do they remember things that they are interested in more? Children are the same! As long as the child is interested, they will explore on their own, connecting their cognition, language, and writing skills, and over time they can develop independent learning skills to help with "Emergent Literacy".
2. Oral language development first - "Phonological Awareness"
Many people may think that "recognizing characters" and then "reading" is the way to teach children how to read. They start by teaching children to "recognize" characters and expect them to be able to "read" based on that. In fact, this is asking children to walk before they can crawl. Instead, we should first help children establish a foundation in their oral language development so that they can have "phonological awareness". Although Chinese is not a phonetic language, phonetic-semantic compound characters make up 80% of Chinese characters, so awareness of radicals and pronunciation is important.
3. Balanced interaction - "dialogic reading" (Dialectical Reading)
To help children recognize and read words, we first need to lay a solid foundation for them: children need to develop their oral language skills before they can recognize words. Generally, children can naturally acquire their mother tongue through interactions with family members.
At the beginning of reading with a child, all you need to do is read the title of the book together with them, because young children have limited ability to focus on text. So, in the early stages of reading together, it is enough to immerse them in simple pre-reading skills that help to develop their interest in reading and writing.
In addition to reading the book title together, parents can also observe and discuss the cover pictures and text with their children, and guide them to connect the content of the text and images with their own life experiences during the conversation. Then, when it comes to reading the book itself, just read it aloud to the child with a friendly and vivid tone of voice (Note: the previous article explains why it is recommended to read with children using oral language, and you can refer to it for more information).
At the beginning, there is no need to force the child to read a whole book, just let them continue reading if they are interested, and if they are not interested, leave it for next time. By doing this, on the one hand, the child's ability to recognize and read words will gradually increase at their own pace, and on the other hand, positive reading experiences will foster their love of reading, so when the child loves reading and has the ability to read, they will naturally seek out books to read on their own.