We all know that reading is one of my big things. I love to read, it is my passion, my hobby some would say my addiction. I have a fundamental faith that if my boys can learn to read, and read well the rest of their education will be reachable, reading is, to me, the key to everything. So there is surprise that as I travel the web anything reading, and learning to read, related pips my interest.
I read this blog post today and at first I was concerned:
Children with ‘increased risk’ of learning disabilities frequently share one or more of these characteristics:
- A mother, father, sister or brother with an Autistic Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, or Learning Disability
- Low birth weight, defined as a weight less than 2500 grams or 5.5 pounds
- Delayed speech—failure to combine two or more words into short phrases by 24 months of age
- A diagnosis of ADHD
Well Big Brother is 3 for 4 and his Speech Delay was / is “profound”. Great, I am thinking, another thing to worry about.
Then ahhh then, I kept reading:
As preschoolers, children at ‘increased risk’ have trouble:
- “Reading”—really recognizing—signs like Coke, McDonalds and other frequently occurring printed words
- Recognizing parts of books such as the cover, title
- Recognizing letters of his or her own name
- Quickly retrieving words, measured by asking a child to rapidly name a category such as “animals”
So I felt better, Big Brother is a bit challenged at rhyming but that has improved so much this past summer, that I do not feel like he “checks off any” of these 5 area of “extra concern”. So that is better, or at least neutral.
Then I continued reading and again was built up that our parenting ins the best for the boys. I know in my heart we are doing the best we can for them, but outside reinforcement never fails to make me smile.
If we know this then ‘What about prevention?’
Many of the home-based interventions that can reduce the risk of learning disabilities, especially reading disabilities, are parenting habits that apply to all children.
The common element of all home—based interventions is the systematic exposure of children to rich, engaging, and expressive language. The best example of this is shared reading.
‘Shared Reading’, is when parents read to their children, and through this activity, books take on an added dimension of parental love and affection. Children hear models of reading that are more accurate and more advanced than their own.
They begin to associate letters with sounds and words with meaning. Using books with predictable rhyme patterns and simple rhythms, such as the Dr. Seuss books, teaches the acceptable and common sound system of our language.
Old fashioned entertainment, based on interaction between adults and children rather than video, fulfills a similar purpose. Telling stories about family history, sharing folk tales you learned as a child, playing word games such as 20-questions or I-Spy are ways parents teach their preschool “language apprentices.”
Apprentices need teachers who listen well and listen patiently, and who can demonstrate good conversational skills such as taking turns speaking without interrupting.
Helping children to play creatively, with other children, and with their imaginations is the oldest form of language and social skill training.
Ahhh well that describes our home. Reading, reading and more reading. Telling stories, and creative play; and lots of conservations. Inwardly I breathe a sigh of relief.
Granted I won’t be surprised if we face learning challenges with either boy, but especially Big Brother – indeed we are already seeing that and addressing that in his IEP. Nevertheless I continually have the reassurance I am proving the most solid “early childhood” I can for their academic future.
Every parent likes a little reassurance here and there. 🙂