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Learning to Read for School Age Children

How To Help Your Child Become A Proficient Reader

All parents want their children to be good readers. In our society, reading is deemed necessary for almost every aspect of success. Although schools set standards for reading proficiency from kindergarten on, kids learn to read at different rates and with different levels of proficiency. However, there are some general stages that most children go through to learn to read.

During early childhood, kids are first exposed to language through listening and speaking. This starts as babies look at parents who are speaking, and it continues as kids learn to use sounds and gestures to communicate their wants and needs. Typically, children between 12 and 18 months use words to label objects and ask for things. By 36 months, most children are speaking in sentences and able to follow basic rules of grammar (for example, plurals and verb tenses). During these early years, children are also learning about reading and writing, primarily through their interaction with books. That said, make sure to starting reading to your child early and often -- it will encourage an interest, and it's a lovely way to spend time together.

By the time most kids enter kindergarten, they know about the letters of the alphabet and understand that letters are part of words, both spoken and written. They may write some letters or imitate writing by scribbling. They understand how stories are put together and tell their own stories, and they also understand that reading occurs left to right and top to bottom.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, most kids are able to read familiar words -- and use phonics to figure out unfamiliar words -- during first or second grade. They understand about different parts of words, such as root words and prefixes. They begin to understand stories on a more complex level, are able to make predictions, draw conclusions, and compare components of different stories. Their ability to spell words increases, and they can write in complete sentences with appropriate punctuation.

How to help your child become a proficient reader? Talk to her teacher about the best ways to support reading at home, and remember, setting a good example yourself never hurts.

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