Most people think children learn how to read through their eyes. But reading is actually learned through the ears. Parents lay a foundation for success in reading by talking to a child, reading books to her, and playing auditory games such as rhyming. The more books you read, the bigger his vocabulary becomes. A bigger vocabulary allows her to recognize lots of words while she reads. If you've read books to him about cheetahs and warthogs, it's more likely he can read those words when his teacher gives a homework assignment about the Serengeti Plains.
Learning to Read, Reading to Learn
A child will normally learn how to read through the following sequence:
- From birth to age three, children listen to lots of words spoken and learn how to talk.
- Children, aged three to four years old have growing vocabularies, and they learn how to rhyme.
- In first grade children are taught how to blend letter sounds together to "sound out" words and memorize sight words. They begin reading simple sentences.
- Second and third graders learn how to read "chapter" books and read fluently with comprehension.
- Can't rhyme due to minimal vocabulary
- Don't know the short vowel sounds - caused by an inability to hear differences in short vowel sounds. (Short vowels: a-apple, e-elephant, i-igloo, o-octopus, u-umbrella)
- Can't put word parts together to make words - a skill used in sounding out new words.
- Slow recall of letter sounds, sees the letter w but can't remember what it says.
Absence of these critical auditory skills increase the difficulty in learning to read which in turn compounds the overall learning challenges. A team of local volunteers has formed a tutorial group whose goal is to help overcome these learning difficulties by bridging the language gap created by the absence of English in the home place.
Volunteers gather at Fellowship Bible Church each Wednesday from 5:30 until 7 PM throughout the school year to read to children or listen to the child read and offer coaching over the rough spots. Additional volunteers tutor students on various school subjects to help them accelerate and succeed in their classes.
As you can imagine, demand for this assistance in our community is at least twice as great as there are volunteers to support them. If you are interested becoming a volunteer tutor or know others who would be, please share the FLYER with them and ask them to join in each Wednesday evening – you’ll be surprised by the gratitude you’ll receive from appreciative individuals learning from you!