Teaching Kids: How to Read
Nannies As Early Educators
While governesses, educationally qualified nannies who are hired to oversee the children’s education, are typically hired to provide formal education to the children in their care, nannies are generally responsible for ensuring that children receive age-appropriate, educationally stimulating experiences.
From the earliest of days, nannies can foster a love or reading and reading readiness skills in the children in their care. From reading labels on the baby food jar aloud to talking about the weather, each day and most every activity provides an opportunity to teach literacy fundamentals.
Nannies support reading readiness by talking to their charges, naming and pointing out things in the world around them and by singing songs with their charges. All of these activities support vocabulary building and help children connect words to objects, which are essential for reading.
When nannies teach children the alphabet, it helps foster letter recognition. The same is true when nannies teach children how to spell their name. Learning the sounds that each letter makes, how to write upper and lowercase letters and reading to children with their finger trailing the text all support literacy development.
But by far, the most important way that nannies teach their children to read is by reading to them. Nannies should make reading time a part of the children’s daily routine. Taking weekly trips to the library to choose books that interest the children can help to foster a love of reading.
10 Tips for Teaching Children to Read
While preschool programs often have a reading and writing plan in place, many parents ask their nannies to supplement the curriculum and foster reading readiness skills. Though it can be a daunting task, it’s important to know that if you have the ability to read, the tools you need to teach someone else are already at your disposal. Here are ten basic tips for helping your child learn to read.
- Start Early – The alphabet and phonetic sounds are the building blocks of language. Working with children early and often on the basics, like the alphabet and what each letter “sounds like” can help dramatically when the time comes for reading.
- Be Patient – Children learn at their own pace, but it can be difficult to maintain your patience when you’ve repeated the same phrase a dozen times. It’s imperative to keep your cool and never lose your temper with a child; this can cause them to become distressed and anxious about reading.
- Read To Them – Positioning the bedtime storybook so that your child can easily make out the illustrations and words is another great way to help your child learn. Trail your finger under each word as you read it; pointing them out can aid in pattern recognition, and is known as the “whole language” approach.
- Play Rhyming and Word Games – Playing word and rhyming games throughout the day can strengthen your child’s grasp of language and structure. Keeping these games light and fun is the best way to maintain your child’s interest; making them into a heavy-handed lesson will just cause them to become bored or feel lectured.
- One Letter At a Time – Instead of trying to cover several letters and their sounds at once, try to keep the focus limited to one letter per day. Naturally, working with letter sounds shouldn’t begin before your child is confidently reciting the alphabet.
- Use Flash Cards, And Make Them Fun – Flash cards can be the source of enjoyable education or strike fear in the heart of a child; it all depends on your use of them. Instead of drilling the information into your child’s mind, make using them entertaining. Celebrating accuracy and offering encouragement through difficult spots is the best way to help your child in all areas of learning.
- Move at Your Child’s Pace – There are dozens of programs designed for at-home use to help your child learn to read, and many of them have a scheduled curriculum. It’s best to treat this schedule as a guideline, and to let your child set the pace that’s most comfortable for them.
- Pay Attention to Difficult Areas – Paying attention to the concepts that are difficult or letters that your child stumbles over can give you very valuable clues about which areas need more work or special attention.
- Stop When They Become Frustrated – Pushing children to continue when they’re tired or frustrated can cause them to view reading as a chore, instead of a pleasurable and enriching pastime. Avoid the temptation to keep pushing past the point of exhaustion, even if you feel that you’re on the verge of a breakthrough.
- Use Positive Reinforcement – Sticker charts, gold stars and other methods of positive reinforcement aren’t just for chores and other daily tasks; however, the stickers for reading and other schoolwork should always be visibly different from the others in order to help kids differentiate between gaining skills and being a good helper.
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