Learn to Read: Why Reading Is A Fundamental Skill

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Learning to read is important. We all say and understand that. But maybe the complete significance of reading is lost because we often take reading skills for granted. Which makes it even more problematic for children with reading issues, such as dyslexia. The fact is, only 25% (!) of children learn to read without any issues. That means 3 in 4 kids are left with some kind of reading problems. Why is that important? Read on…

Learn To Read and Read To Learn

We have already mentioned the benefits of reading in the article “How To Motivate Your Dyslexic Child To Do Well In School”. Reading reduces stress, improves analytical thinking, improves memory, and the list goes on and on. But there is even more than that. According to Michigan State University, reading is a very good predictor for academic success. 

The reading process can be split into two stages.

A child learns to read from the day he or she is born until about the third grade. That is the time that the child absorbs letters, words, language… It is the time that the connections are formed in our brain that makes us understand the words written on a piece of paper and what is the meaning behind those words.

Kobi_Dyslexia_ChildrenStudying

The second stage starts around the fourth grade when the situation turns around. Instead of learning to read, the child starts reading to learn. In that stage, we start to soak up knowledge through the reading process.

The issues arise, when a child, such as a dyslexic, cannot master the first stage in time. Statistics show, 75% of children who are poor readers by the end of third grade will remain poor readers throughout high school as well. Which means lower test scores, lower academic success and can lead to lower-paying jobs. So you can see how difficulties in the “learn to read” stage of the process can cause long-term problems for a person.

The Learning Habit

Additionally, by learning to read, we form a “learning habit”. When a child reads a textbook, he learns something new. He then reads a book and learns something else. Later in life, when this child (now a teenager or an adult) needs to learn something new, what is he going to do? Read, of course.

Though most of the texts we now consume are digital, the reading hasn’t really changed. Sure, we don’t read as many books as we used to. But we do now have a subscription to Scribd and read our book on mobile phones. Maybe we are not subscribed to magazines and newspapers anymore, but we do get our news delivered to our e-mail addresses and we do read online blogs instead of magazines. Just because the medium has changed, does not mean that reading is any less important than it was twenty or fifty years ago.

Kobi_Dyslexia_Books

So what happens when a child has difficulties when learning to read? What if he hates reading because he is really bad at it?

In a worst-case scenario, this person will shy away from reading, which means he will hate the situations that involve learning, which will potentially lead to a menial job and a drastically lower quality of life.

Possible Solutions

Learning to read is a complex cognitive skill. A child often needs support, encouragement and a lot of motivation to master it. The educational system is not doing children any favors by making the child’s first reading experience boring through textbooks and other instructional materials. Giving a child an exciting reading experience may result in him taking interest in reading, which makes the process of learning to read much smoother.

Another possible solution is reading aloud. Using different voices for different characters in books helps. When your child is still learning to read, you can read stories to the child, playing all the characters in the book. With time, once the child has a basic understanding of the written word, you can divide the roles. You take the rabbit and let the child be the fox. Or the other way around. Let the child learn to read while having fun.

KOBI unique colouring method

Playing with colors probably has the best results with children who find learning to read difficult. You can color the letters in your books with different colors, find books that have words or letters already colored or use a mobile app that already comes preloaded with content and does the coloring for you.

Additionally, studies show children who are exposed to texts every day become more successful readers than those who read on a semi-regular basis.

Don’t forget. The child needs to practice, practice and practice some more in order to become a fluent and avid reader.

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