The teachers in your child’s school, is only one of contributing factors in a long process for your child to acquire language skills, which include reading.
“If I were to send my child to school, when can she be able to read?
How long will it take for my child to read?
What method are you using for reading?
When can my child start to read? What can you guarantee?
Should we worry when only child’s focus is all about play?”
These are some questions that have been asked by many of us as parents. Yes, the reality in our primary curriculum (at the moment) requires our children to be able to read.
Read and able to answer test to pass in their first week in standard one. It really has a great impact on our expectation as parents to our children.
This expectation later goes to the school and the teachers that we send our children for kindergarten and preschool level.
- Basic understanding about reading
Speaking normally come natural to every one. As they listen, they hear and later they speak. It is a process.
However, reading (which is also a process) needs to be taught. Reading is about understanding symbol of what we say.
Therefore, they need to know that what we say (talk) can be put on paper (print), which consist of letters of the alphabet.
Different combination of letters makes different sound and the combinations of sound (syllable) are words that represent what we say!
The roots of reading can be found more at http://www.readingrockets.org/shows/launching/roots/
- What is reading?
Reading is part of language development process in a child. It involves stages. Reading does not start by knowing the letter a,b, c. It does not only depend on the sounds and letters.
Reading exposure can start with a simple leisure reading through flipping pages of a ‘menu’.
Reading involves word, which combined to be sentences. Later words are combined to be phrases.
This involves syntax, grammar and context. Most important, how do they connect them to be meaningful for them? (at their level of understanding)
Have you experienced meeting a child who speaks English, but you do not understand him?
Have you met any child who speaks only the language (structure, content and context) of a cartoon or TV character?
As you start reading to your child, you are giving an advantage in his language development stages. This process is an advance process for your child when you start reading to him at an early age.
Read more on how your reading can benefit your child’s ability to read at http://www.littleonesreadingresource.com/language-development-stages.html
- Children’s language acquisition theory.
Yes, children’s acquire language by imitation. However, will that be enough for a child to be able to acquire the language in a specific short session in school?
Ability to speak will normally lead to the ability of the child to read. There are many complex processes and stages involve for a child to read, as it is part of a language development stages in a child.
It does not only depend on how fluent and often the teachers in school speak with the children. It is also rely on the children’s development and home environment too.
For those who wanted to understand better, there are a number of a well-known theorist who study about how children (human) acquire language which later brings them the skills of reading in context with grammar and meaning.
Theory will make us understand better, why do certain things happen and why certain people behave and do things.
Read more on Noam Chomsky, David Crystal and Jean Aitchison who developed their theory on ‘language acquisition’ at http://aggslanguage.wordpress.com/chomsky/
- What can we do as parents?
 We need to learn and unlearn.
Parents and families are the best partner for our children.
 Always communicate with the school management and teachers to support our children’s learning progress in ALL areas.
 By accepting the difference and understanding how a child develop and acquire language skills (especially reading) we will be able to create better environment for the children’s development.
We do know a lot of thing about our children and language. But, every child has his own ability and his development could be different from others.
 Provide supportive reading environment at home with soma basic reading materials suitable for their age.
 Allocate time for reading with your child and to your child. Listen to their reading (in any format or way) while we allow ourselves to enjoy reading too.
Some flowers bloom later than the others.
Parents are now having a better understanding and a new perspective on how to evaluate their child’s performance and development holistically.
What can a school guarantee?
Nothing! But I believe that every school always has a good intention towards their students.