How DOES my kid learn to read?
What I Wish I Knew — How does my kid learn to read?
It all started with a pedicure with the girlfriends and talking about our kids. Usual subject, but this time the conversation turned serious. “How can I help my reluctant reader?”
Great question with a million different answers. After listening to my friend @StephenHurley’s radio show “I wish I knew” series by Ramona Meharg , it’s not a difficult question, just reading good research makes it clear to use specific steps to change ‘reluctant’ into good readers. But this blog will focus upon the most important ingredients: background culture, social engagement and self/collective efficacy.
Lois Letchford stated in her radio conversation with @StephenHurley its all about wait for it: BACKGROUND CULTURE! WHAAAT is that? So you are raising your kids on a farm. They know all about baby animals, how they are born, goats, pigs, cows, cats, horses. Okay, you begin to focus on your child’s knowledge and they know lots! But what if your child has never seen any of these animals? Young children raised in the city, whose parents struggle to put food on the table may not have any connection to farming or baby animals. So, parents let’s begin with what your child knows. Create language sounds and learning to read on what you have — beds, mouse, house, pan, can. These are everyday words that make sense. Build on what YOUR child knows. You are an expert.
(National Scientific Council on the Developing Child p. 3, 2007)
explains that every positive interchange with parents and interconnected child care workers makes a difference to create literacy for a young child. Receptive or hearing language begins even when your child is in the womb. So quite simply, talk to your child. Emphasize the sounds, point out objects in your daily environment by sounding out letters/sounds and spell words. Kids say what they see and hear. Rhyme Words with the language in simple poems (more to come in the next few blogs about this).
We often hear happy kids, happy life. But did you know there is research that backs this up? Steven Porges details in his thought process — Polyvagal Theory. Basically, kids will do well when they are calm and ready to learn. If their heart rate is high, with large amounts of stress; it makes any learning extremely difficult. Students need to feel safe or they will run out of the classroom and hide. It is the teacher and parents job to make the beginning of language acquisition fun by creating that social fun experience in order for kids to acquire what they need for instructional purposes (yes, more on this in later blogs).
Self and Collective Efficacy
A fancy word that just means kids have to believe in themselves and their ability to learn. Goddard (pp. 4–5, 2017) describes two different kinds of belief must co-exist in order for kids to learn how to read. First, kids have to believe that it is possible for them to learn how to read. There is also lots of research regarding Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset, but this is different. Simple speaking, Bandura’s (1997) social cognitive learning theory states that if kids believe they CAN learn, they will. Goddard also writes about the second type of efficacy required: collective efficacy. It is vital that the teaching staff or school belief that no matter what, these kids will be able to learn. It seems to be one of the key ingredients in moving students forward to close instructional gaps. Goddard makes the point that teachers must work together in order for children to succeed in their academic schooling. It is a worthwhile read!
So is that all that is needed? Well, research says there is more specific steps to take. So, until the next blog; keep your kids enticed, excited and find their currency. Ask yourself what is it they like to read: cartoons, comics, titles, food recipes, lists, Visual Lego instructions? Let’s get started . . .
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2007). The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture: Working Paper #5. http://www.developingchild.net
Steven Porges Theory of Social Engagment. https://youtu.be/lxS3bv32-UY
20. Kuhl, P.K. (2004). Early language acquisition: cracking the speech code. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 831–843
Self Regulation has many definitions. To completely understand the ‘why’ behind many reasons of kids can’t read — this all begins with Stuart Shanker definition. Recognizing the difference between misbehaviour and stress behaviour, and pausing to ask “Why am I seeing this behaviour? Why now?” before we react (www.selfreg.ca).
Stuart describes barriers to any learning occurs because children need to be calm, alert, and ready to learn
“Shanker Self-Reg, a powerful method for improving self-regulation by reframing “misbehaviour” in terms of the stress that might be causing it, recognizing and reducing stressors, developing greater stress awareness and helping children (and ourselves) learn what helps them recover from stress and come back to feeling calm” in order to learn
“Self-Reg is not a universal platform, targeted intervention or behaviour management program. It is a whole new way of thinking. The key idea that informs this new way of thinking is that living and learning are grounded in optimized self-regulation rather than self-control.”
–Dr. Stuart Shanker
Self efficacy Goddard
https://developingchild.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/Timing_Quality_Early_Experiences-1.pdf Brain development for Early Learning that reflects the need for self regulation 5
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2007). A science-based framework for early childhood policy: Using evidence to improve outcomes in learning, behavior and health for vulnerable children. http://www.developingchild.net/pubs/persp/pdf/Policy_ Framework. Need to align early experiences with quality education from early grades to middle school f
https://developingchild.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/Timing_Quality_Early_Experiences-1.pdf The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture
20. Kuhl, P.K. (2004). Early language acquisition: cracking the speech code. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 831–843.
Dweck, Carol. https://youtu.be/hiiEeMN7vbQ