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Help Your Child Build A Strong Foundation in Reading

By: Andrew Taber, Lacey Kumon

Learning to read and write are among the most important skills your child will ever learn. These skills are the foundation on which all other academic achievement is built. Starting early in a child’s development, is the key to fostering a child’s love of reading and learning.

“Believe in your child and give him or her every opportunity to excel,” says Andrew Taber, Director of the Kumon Math & Reading Center of Lacey. “Each child has enormous, untapped potential regardless of their background or current ability. With a little extra support, a child can gain life skills such as confidence, perseverance and motivation.”

Some literacy skills, however, should be taught long before a child enters the classroom for the first time. As their children’s first teachers, it is important for parents to begin exposing them to books at a young age. From this point, children should develop the following skills:

Book Knowledge – Children should understand how to hold a book, where the story begins and ends, that words are read from left to right, that stories are read front to back and that pages are turned one at a time.

Print Awareness – Children should understand that the words seen in print and the words heard and said are related and that there’s a difference between pictures and words.

Phonemic Awareness – Children need to be able to identify the separate, small sounds called phonemes that make words and to associate the sounds with the written words. For example, the word “cat” is made up of three sounds /c/, /a/, /t/. Children who have phonemic awareness can take spoken words apart sound by sound and put together sounds to make words. This skill is required for learning to read.

Several ways parents can help children establish a strong foundation for learning to read include:

Read aloud to children. Reading aloud is the single best way to support literacy development. It exposes children to language, teaches them about books and helps them start identifying words and their sounds.

Make reading fun. Point to words, animate your voice, and ask children to predict what will happen next. If your child is interested, it aids in their understanding of the story.

Be a reading role model. Set an example by letting your child see you read. Children who are exposed to active and enthusiastic readers are likely to model this behavior themselves.

For information or a free placement test, contact Kumon of Lacey at 360-915-6871 or visit www.kumon.com/lacey. 