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The most significant predictor of high school graduation and career success is a child’s reading proficiency, by the third grade.

Children whose parents take an active interest in their education from an early age are likely to make more progress than their peers, according to an early years toolkit, recently published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), UK.  They have better language skills when they start school and are more interested in reading.

Improve your child’s reading

The report reveals that a parents can boost their child’s progress by five months over a year if they get involved in their education.  Reading and talking with them at home is one example of how they can do this.

Not only is the one on one time with parents beneficial for a child academically, but it benefits them emotionally too. In spending time reading with their children, parents are nurturing relationships, which helps a child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional development.

Pre-school Phonics

Reid Lyon, the former chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the National Institutes of Health, and a researcher and an expert in and advocate of evidence-based reading instructionhas said that “if we don’t teach phonics and phonemic awareness (the primary prerequisites of learning to read) in kindergarten and 1st grade, by 4th grade it takes four times as long to teach the same things.”

How to teach a pre-k child to read

As parents, we want to do all that we can to give our children every chance at success in life.  Once of the first was we can do this is to prepare our kids for school, to ensure that they are not going to struggle.

Most parents are not qualified teachers so it can be difficult to know where to start.  But with a little guidance, and the right tools, teaching your child to read may not be as hard as you think.

Phonics is widely recognised as the best way to teach reading.  A good, well implemented phonics program will unlock the reading potential in most children, enabling the child to move begin recognizing letters and making the corresponding phonemic sound, and move through to decoding words, and progress to reading books and sentences.

Learn to read apps

The recent explosion in availability of mobile apps has meant that there are a lot of resources available to parents, which weren’t available 5 years ago.  But not all apps are quality, and not all apps teach a child to read.

The problem with mobile apps is twofold.  Firstly, many apps do a good job at teaching children isolated skills such as identifying and recognising letters, but there are no apps which successfully take a child from mastering this skill, right through to reading independently.  Secondly, an ipad or tablet are not a magic bullet, and parents should leverage technology when it can improve the lesson rather than relying solely on technology to provide the learning experience.  And more importantly, it is essential that parents heed the warnings of governments and psychologists, and limit screen time for their children.  One hour a day or less is the maximum time recommended by many health professionals and bodies, and no screen time for children under 2.

The Read Before School course provides learning videos, resources and ideas for parents to guide them in teaching their babies, toddlers and pre-school child to read.  The program gives parents the tools to take their 0-6 rear old from phonics to sight words, to reading comprehension strategies.