Saturday, September 13, 2014

Need Help? Successful Reading Strategies!

Learning to read can either be an exciting time or a point of frustration in a child’s, as
well as parents’, life.

I can’t tell you how many times I am exasperatedly told, “she won’t read for me,” “he gets so frustrated and just gives up,” “she hates reading and I don’t know how to make it enjoyable for her,” or “he thinks he is a bad reader and has such low self-confidence about it.”

These comments are all too common!

Parents want so badly to instill a love of reading within their child but are unsure where to begin.

As a preschool reading specialist I work closely with parents educating them in the various ways to support and foster their child’s early literacy development.

So Im here to share with you the two most common misunderstandings I see made when it comes to encouraging beginning readers along with successful suggestions on how to aid them.
Mistake #1- “Just sound it out”- This is where I see the biggest frustration come into play.

Your child is stuck on a word and you ask them to sound it out.

In all fairness this is what you have been taught. This is all you really know!

But guess what? You cannot always sound out a word (try sounding out the word, ‘what’ or ‘one’)!

So,  in an effort to avoid unnecessary frustration simply read the word for your child. That’s it! It’s as simple as that! If you are following along and notice a word up ahead that you
know your child will not recognize or won’t be able to sound out then just read it for them….it’s ok!

This keeps your child reading fluently and makes reading much more enjoyable for them (who wants to be stuck sounding out a word for 5 minutes?).
Mistake #2- “That’s not right”- Think helicopter parent.

You are standing over your child as they read each and every word, pointing out what was read wrong, or asking them to either read faster or slow down.

This is sure to dim your child’s desire to read!

Just for a minute, imagine your boss hovering over you at work, commenting on everything you say, everything you do, every word you type.  

How would you feel?  

I’m thinking you’d feel extremely uncomfortable and anxious!  You’d probably just want to quit!

So NOT fun!

And the thing is, often times when a child reads a word incorrectly, they are aware of their mistake and given a couple of seconds will self-correct.

However, if  you are correcting them before they even have a chance to recognize
their mistake, they will become frustrated.

So just give them some space to make mistakes! Let them read a sentence or a word incorrectly. Then when they are finished ask them, “did that make sense?” Or, “let’s look at
that sentence/word again.”
I truly hope that these reading strategies are helpful for you and your beginning reader!

Remembering to always stay positive, supportive and encouraging in addition to applying these strategies will help ensure you are nurturing your child’s early literacy development.

Happy reading,
Lisa Vodola,

P.S Were these reading strategies helpful?  Let me know by leaving a comment!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Stop FORCING your child to read! (and other nonsense thoughts)

You’ve heard it before.  You may even have had these exact thoughts.  “What’s the rush?  They should be playing.  Teaching reading skills so early creates unhealthy pressure on the child.  Why are you forcing your child to read?”

Not long ago I received an email from a parent whose three-year-old son is enrolled in the Preschool Readers program.  “My son is loving his books and words!  He asked me this morning when you were coming back, so I think he’s a fan :)”  

WOW!  Sure sounds like I’m forcing him to read, doesn’t it?  

Ok, just a little sarcasm there  ;)  

But really, as I’ve mentioned before, a preschoolers brain is like a sponge so why not take advantage of all they are capable of absorbing?  

Michael Phelps, a UCLA biophysics states that, “If we teach our children early enough, it will affect the organization or ‘wiring,’ of their brains.”  

He goes on to say that the education system does not take full advantage of this opportunity (to read more about the findings of several brain researchers on the subject of the young child’s ability to learn,  click here).  So let Preschool Readers help!

Of course learning must be done in a fun and exciting way and FUN is exactly what we have during our sessions!  Essentially the children are learning through play...the BEST way to learn!

So get those nonsense thoughts out of your head and contact us today!

Happy reading,

SO darn adorable!

After a successful session with one of my Preschool Readers, a very sweet and smart two-year-old girl, I went straight home and emailed her mom, who was at work while her daughter and I had our session.
I typed...“I just got home from my reading session with your daughter and I can’t help myself: she is just so darn adorable!”  
Her mother emailed me back the next morning….”When I returned from work after your first session my daughter told me, ‘Miss Lisa is very pretty. She has looong hair. She has beautiful dresses.’ It was definitely a mutual admiration!”
How stinking sweet!  
But all cuteness aside, do you know what it is about her and all of the other kiddos I work with that makes them so darn adorable?  
It’s their intense desire to learn!  It’s contagious!  It’s, darn adorable!  
They are beyond proud of themselves at the end of each session. That great big grin they get on their face when they finish reading a book, the way they wiggle and do a sort of ‘happy dance’ when they've successfully completed an activity, the way they run out of our session to show their parents their new words….
Preschool children actually WANT to learn and ENJOY doing so!     
John Holt, in his book How Children Learn, describes the natural learning style of young children: The child is curious. He wants to make sense out of things, find out how things work, gain competence and control over himself and his environment, and do what he can see other people doing.  
And did you know that preschoolers are HARDWIRED to learn?!
Their brains are actually hardwired to learn and the younger the brain, the more malleable it is.  This is why young children are like sponges and learning to read as a preschooler is as natural and effortless as learning to speak one’s native language (check out this fun visual)!   

The early years lay the neurological foundation for intellectual growth into adolescence and adulthood

So if you’re ready to activate your child’s natural desire to learn, contact Preschool Readers today!
Happy reading,

What Makes Your Heart Smile?

About a month ago I walked into a clients home and was immediately greeted with a  great BIG smile from one of my Preschool Readers...a 4 year old boy.  

I don’t think there has been a time when I showed up and he didn’t look extremely happy to see me and start our reading session (or maybe it is my bag of candy he can’t wait to get his hands on!? Lol).  

Anyway, my own heart smiled when his mother told me she had asked him which of his extra curricular activities was his favorite (camp, karate, reading etc…). And his answer?  Reading with Ms. Lisa.  

I’ve heard this before...but it doesn’t matter.  Each time I hear it, my heart smiles and I’m happy beyond words!  When they pick reading with Ms. Lisa over ballet, or reading with Ms. Lisa over soccer...

Because I KNOW that instilling a LOVE of reading in these little guys, at their young age, will truly set them up for future academic success and build their confidence in reading...helping them to feel good about themselves and to see reading as something positive and fun!  

If you desire to have your child love reading, connect with Preschool Readers today!  

Happy reading,