Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Text Evader

Don't you just love reading the same book over and over and over again to your child? Especially a Dr. Seuss book?? Me, too...NOT.

It is perfectly normal for a child to want to read the same book over and over. And perfectly and insanely normal for a child to ask you to read the same book over and over. They obviously enjoy the book and spending time with you.

This is all part of the reading process and truly helps develop your child's reading skills.

You read a book for the first time to your child. You know they enjoyed it because they ask you read it again. Most of the time we are happy to oblige (unless we don't like the book then it's best to hide it immediately). Every night for the next week, we read the same book again and again even though we've tried many times to introduce a new one. After the 10th time reading it, we attempt to skip chunks of text (don't deny it) or even pages (we all have). Maybe the first time, we get away with it.
Then the reading police are on to us, the TEXT EVADERS.

"You skipped some words!"
"You forgot a page."
Or they wait until the last page to say, "Wait, where's the part about...?"
Big text evader mistake. Now you have to read it again.

This is all because they have started to memorize the text. This is a good thing. Once they start to memorize the text they begin to notice some things.

-Those black symbols have meaning.
-The pictures on the page have some connection to those black shapes.
-We read and move through a book from left to right.

Now your child wants to impress you by reading the book by themselves. We know they've memorized it but we cheer them on and give them encouragement. Important!! As they read the same book over and over, they begin to notice more things.

-Those black symbols form words that are separated by spaces (like stones in a river).
-Some of those words repeat themselves throughout the book (sight or high-frequency words- the, and, are...).
-The words match the pictures on the pages.
-There are patterns in the text.

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. Read this text: 只狗
What?! It says, "I have a dog." That is what they see at first. Imagine how difficult it would be if someone gave you a new Chinese or Spanish book every time you sat down to read before you knew how to read the language. It would be frustrating and cause anxiety. This is why reading the same book over and over helps to develop a confidence in reading which is far more important than learning new words too fast.

Allow your child to enjoy books at their speed and encourage them to read with you. Again, it is important to model reading to your child by reading aloud to them and letting them see you enjoying your own books.

Things to do with your child early on while reading...

-Talk to them about the parts of a book (cover, author, illustrator, read left to right.) It doesn't seem important now but it will give them a leg up...a word up, when they go to school.

-Point to the words while you read so they can see that those symbols having meaning.

-Have your child point to the words as they read to teach them one-to-one correspondence (each group of letters separated by a space have meaning).

-Before reading a page, talk to your child about what they see in the picture first to teach them to use the pictures as clues.

More about how to become a better reader here:

Watch for future educational posts to help your child. Let me know if this was helpful to you. Feel free to ask questions. 

I have degrees in Early Childhood, Elementary education and a Masters in the Art of Teaching. I taught preschool through 2nd Grade for many years. I have been trained in Orton Gillingham. I am an award winning children's book author and creator of Flip Side Stories®. 

Read, re-read and read again!! Read On!


EC Stilson said...

I really needed to read this today. My boy is stuck on "Thomas the Train." This post gave me a second wind to go read it . . . again ;)

Amber Housey said...

Thanks Elizabeth! You just made my day. My husband always tells me that I know things about kids that many parents don't. So, I am here to share them. Thanks!