Rather than simply reaching a certain age, your child’s reading readiness is also linked to their physical and emotional development. There are certain developmental signs that indicate your child is ready for learning to read in a classroom, such as being able to:
- Sit still for a length of time, keeping their body in an upright position, both feet on the floor
- Focus and pay attention.
- Recognise symbols for letters and numbers.
- Bring their eyes together to focus on a single point
- Move their eyes together smoothly to follow a moving target
- Emotionally self-regulate
- Connect socially
- Listen and process spoke instructions
- Balance while sitting still
All of these skills can be developed in your child’s early years, helping them to have the best possible preparation for learning to read.
Early sensory-motor development and integration will not come from flash cards or video games, but from lots of physical activities and healthy social connections. Playing video games or watching television can actually interfere with your child’s healthy early development.
Not only can these activities can keep your child’s nervous system in a state of heightened stress, they may also take time away from other, more beneficial pursuits.
Helping to Prepare Your Child for Reading
You can help prepare your child for learning to read by playing together, and having fun. Sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Children do these things naturally, and will love having you join them. Here are some ideas for you to try:
- Describe what you can see
- Close your eyes and touch different textures
- Use words to describe how you feel
- Try different taste sensations
- Notice different smells
- Observe different sounds
- Early floor play and tummy time
- Walking along a balance beam
- Rolling down hills, playing catch with a ball
- Clapping games
- Rhythm and rhyme
- Climbing in nature
Fine Motor Activities:
- Cutting with scissors
- Digging in the garden
- String games
- Finger knitting
Children who Struggle with Learning to Read
- A poorly developed sense of the space around them
- Trouble moving their eyes together to follow a moving target
- Trouble maintaining balance when sitting or standing still
- Poor awareness of left and right sides of their body
- Difficulty sitting still in a chair, sitting upright with their feet on the ground
- Poor muscle tone and slumped posture
- Awkward pencil grip
- Difficulty listening, or processing sound
- Poor memory
- Become easily stressed, quickly going into a flight/fight response
We Learn Through our Senses
We take in information through our sense organs – our eyes, ears, nose, mouth and touch, which is supported by our physical development.
This information then goes to the brain to be processed, helping us to make sense of the world. Sensory-motor skills also help your child to connect socially and make make friends.
Seen this way, reading readiness is a matter of body awareness as much as reaching a certain age. Good preparation will reap long term rewards as your child progresses throughout their life.
Fortunately, there is much that can be done to help children who are struggling, through a program of sensory-motor development and integration. It is never too late to change.
The Next Step
The next step is to book in for an initial parent consultation. We have have a chat about your concerns, and I will suggest strategies to help your child achieve to their potential.
If you’re concerned, a school readiness assessment can help to identify any gaps in these early stages before they become bigger blocks to your child’s learning. We can work together to support your child’s learning potential, not just for tomorrow in the classroom, but for life.