Reading is an essential tool for life and the central skill for English learners, as it is the ability to understand the information properly. Let’s see then why we, as educators, need to improve this skill in our students.
It is true that pupils need a strong basis on listening and speaking aptitudes before they become readers and writers of any language. It means that any student of any language first has to listen, speak and understand a conversation and then he will read and write the language he is learning.
Examining the English reading in children
First of all, educators have to be consistent in phonetics: that is, children need clear instructions on each singular sound, how to link them and thus create words. This activity will help them ‘decoding’ and spelling words afterwards.
The second step will be the semantics: our pupils need to know that all of those symbols together that form a word have a specific meaning. The meaning that conveys this sequence of symbols taught before is what children have to find out in this stage.
Finally, at the moment they know the meaning of the isolated words, it is time to syntactics: the grammar and syntax of the English language, which would be better acquired within a specific context. Although this is a difficult step in children, from the age of 10 they already can differentiate nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, and so on.
How to develop literacy in pupils
It is as easy as using some techniques such as the ones below:
- Labels: identify everything in the classroom and school for them to read simple and concise words.
- Posters: this is a visual activity due to they are colourful and eye-catching, and they can include some rules for a good behaviour.
- Concise instructions from teachers.
- Reading aloud or dictation: for older children to feel challenged and motivated.
- Books: encourage them to share their stories with the rest of the students.
- Puppets: for the younger ones to learn a story, to get to know how to link the words and to have fun.
- Songs: by singing together, children learn a lot of useful English skills.
All in all, the experience of teaching reading skills to children has to become a rewarding process, and full of enjoyment in the classroom; your children will be happy of learning this way!