How Do You Get Kids to Love Reading?
I love reading. I have ever since I was a child. A love of reading has been a part of my life for so long that sometimes I feel like it’s always been there. This isn’t actually true.
I came from a very literate family. My mom and dad are both readers. As I grew up, we always had books everywhere. I knew reading was something I was supposed to do. I picked books off the shelves at home and made an attempt to read them. It wasn’t as easy as my parents made it look! At school, I also tried to read. I was met with frustration until my kindergarten teacher showed us something that made everything easier: words are made up of sounds. You can look at the letters in a word, and know that these letters represent the sounds you need to say to make the word. If you can decode the words into their component sounds, you can read the word!
All of a sudden, reading clicked for me. Instead of frustration, it was fun. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was learning to read using phonics much as the students at Grace Community School learn.
One story that happened soon after illustrates how this translated into my love of reading. My family went on a camping trip, and my mother brought along the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia. I considered this a big grown-up book. She started reading it to my brothers and me. I was very interested in it and kept begging mom to read more. When my mom didn’t read to us from the book as much as I wanted, I took the book myself and looked at the pages. To my surprise, I found out that with phonics, I was able to read most of the words! I soon completed The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and raced through the other Narnia books.
I haven’t looked back. Reading has been one of the great joys of my life. If I weren’t a good reader, that would not be true.
Our modern early childhood education system has moved away from the proven phonic methods of reading instruction and substituted things like the “whole language” method and the “print-rich environment.” Current educators have this idea that you can just surround a child with books and magazines and printed labels and posters (that’s the print-rich environment) and they will just naturally become literate. That did not work for me. It took someone who cared enough to show me the right way to read. To teach me. The environment didn’t teach me to read, a teacher did! You can’t learn to read by osmosis; it just won’t work. Reading to your child is good and can help instill a sense of wonder. There is something about hearing the written word spoken aloud (I also enjoy audio books!), but this can’t replace having the skills necessary to read. As a consequence of abandoning phonics, children don’t learn to read until elementary school, if ever. We don’t need to wait!
Instill a Joy of Reading the Grace Community School Way
Reading is something anyone can learn to do, but they need the correct tools. Now as a grown-up, I help kids learn to read at Grace Community School. We start with the basics, just like my teacher and later my mother did.
Unlike me, kids don’t have to wait until kindergarten to learn to read! Grace Community School students as young as two years of age learn that each letter of the alphabet has a sound. The alphabet is broken down into five groups. Vowels are the first group. Once the vowels and their sounds are learned, the children move on to the next until they master the entire alphabet and its sounds.
This is all at an individual pace, so it doesn’t matter if your child just started at Grace Community, they will begin at the beginning — and we don’t hold kids back, either. They can go as quickly or slowly as they need to. After this the kids learn to put the sounds together (these are called “blends” We send certificates home to help you celebrate your child’s achievements.
Grace Community School’s own letter book program is next. There are 32 books covering all the alphabet, each with blends for the letters the book covers. This book system along with one-on-one phonics instruction produces children who can read fluently, and who as a consequence love reading!
The joy of reading lasts a lifetime. Unlock your child’s full potential and create a life-long joy of reading with a Grace Community School education. Find our more about the GCS Reading Program here, and if you enjoyed this article, please click one of the share buttons below. We appreciate it!