Family, the first school for young children

Darius is teaching his nephew Ronnie to read English. Studies show that children who are read to learn language skills quickly

Darius is teaching his nephew Ronnie to read English. Studies show that children who are read to learn language skills quickly.
Photo by Nancy Carson

Adapted from The Vancouver Sun

Level 2

How does a child become a good reader?
How does a child become a good speaker?
The answer is simple.
The family is the first school for a child.
A child becomes a good reader because
people at home read to him. And read often.
A child learns to speak when family members talk with him.
Talk with him often. Young children learn language
from older members of the family.


English is not easy to learn
There are letters in English that sound different in different words.
So, trying to guess how words sound is not always easy.
“Gh” can sound like “ f ” in “cough”. “Ph” can sound like “f” in “phone”.
And vowels like “o” can have one sound in the word “hot”.
But the “o” in “women” has the sound of the letter “i” in “hit”.
Children need help to sound out English words.
Children learn these differences by listening to stories.
They learn by hearing the words and seeing the words.
They also learn about our world as they listen.

Language can be fun
Language can be learned by rhyming words, such as “hit” and “fit”.
Word games and songs help teach language.
Children can enjoy these activities at home before kindergarten.
Some children’s tv programs have language games and songs.
Libraries have story times for young children.
And staff at the library will help you choose
good books for young children.
Community centers have programs for parents and young children.
The children hear other adults talk.
And the children talk with their new friends.

Read, read; talk, talk
Many parents read to their children every night.
This is a happy activity with children before bedtime.
And it is a learning activity for them.
Start with simple stories with good pictures.
Read the short sentences, talk about the pictures.
Stories for young children repeat words and phrases.
The more you read, the more the child learns.

Children love stories
The child will begin to repeat what she hears.
She will begin to learn the words in the story.
Then she will pretend to “read” them on her own.
She will want to hear the same story over and over.
She will know if you left a part out!
The love of reading starts early in a child’s life.