Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Toddler Tuesdays: Native Reading Book Review

I have always been of the opinion that early reading is one of the best gifts you can give a child. Having been an early reader myself, I've seen the worlds of knowledge and adventure opened up to me by my ability to read quickly, fluently, and with good comprehension. There can be a tendency with material promoting early reading to assume it means competitive helicopter parents forcing their children into academia when they should be having unbridled playtime, but this book-- and my own approach-- are much different: they promote the joyful, rewarding aspect of learning that comes from mastering subjects young enough that they are second nature to a child. With reading, especially, not needing to labour over sounding out words or struggle to comprehend the gist of a sentence means you are free to revel in the deep, meaningful emotion of stories, or drink deeply of the wells of information available in nonfiction.

Native Reading aligns beautifully with this point of view. Premised on the fact that children are primed for language acquisition between the ages of zero and three, and based on Kailing's own experiences teaching his son and daughter to read, this book outlines 12 ways you can help make learning to read as intuitive as learning to speak for your child.

Lest you think that this means drills or hard work, let me give you the most important of the 12 ways: point to the words in books as you read them to your child. No drills, no hard work, just helping your child to make the connection between the spoken word which their brains are rapidly making connections about, and the written word.

I highly recommend this book and am excited to see Scout Kid and Feral Kid's reading skills blossom. I have been using the pointing technique since Scout Kid was probably 8 or 9 months old (although I only just read the book) and when he pretends to read, he always points at the words-- he understands that I am not just pulling stories out of thin air, but that the words on the page corresponds one on one with what I say. I have begun using the other equally simple and toddler-appropriate techniques in our reading and play; now I guess I just report back before Scout Kid turns three to see if he can read yet!

Disclosure: link is through my Amazon Associates account.

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