Let them see you reading. You say it's fun and enjoyable and it's important for them to read, yet they don't see you read? You are their model of excellence. If you want them to read and enjoy it, you need to read as well....both parents.
Here's how to help them to read using all their senses: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Introduce the concept of visualising like this.
Ask your child “Would you recognise Granny if she walked into the room? How do you do that?” Somewhere in their memory they have stored an image, a visual picture of Granny (or whoever you mention) and when they see them they are able to match up what they see with their internal image and recognise the person. Visualising words is exactly the same. When you spell and read you want to be able to access your image or picture that fits with the word.
Once you have control over your visual memory you can experiment with all the things you can learn visually
- Visualising words
- Visualising numbers
- Improving reading
- Improving writing
- Improving short term memory
Practise until you form new habits and patterns. It takes about 10 minutes a day.
Good spellers look up as they imagine the word so encourage your child client to do this themselves.
Step 1. This exercise is aimed at getting them to practise playing with images. Ask them to think about a cat and get a picture of it in their head. Ask them about it now. How big is it? What colour is it? What is it doing? Where is it? Is it near you or in the distance?
Now ask them to imagine taking a photo of it and hanging the photo on the wall? Ask them the same questions again about what the cat looks like. We want to encourage them to be able to take a 3D image and make it still and 2D because those who have difficulties with reading often find the letters move about. Teaching them to control this will help them read.
Now let’s make a series of images taking four words. You can keep the focus on the cat if you like. You can ask them for the words. Make up a story about them and visualise the story in scenes linking the story together.
Visualise an object and play with it by moving it further away, closer, changing the colour, the brightness.
Step 2. Play them a story tape and stop it every so often to ask them what they are imagining, what pictures do they have in their head? Or read them a story stopping at each page but do not show them the illustration. Instead ask them what they think the illustration would be like. Show it to them and compare their imaginary pictures with the ones in the book.
Step 3. Ask them to look at their cat again and write c-a-t on the side of their body . Ask them to spell the word to you. Then ask them to spell it to you backwards. Remind them to read it from their image of the cat with the word on its side. If they do it straight away without any difficulty then they are visualising because without visualising, reading backwards is difficult.
Repeat this using other three letter words written on the side of the cat such as ‘old’ , ‘red’ , ‘one’ and so on. You can change the image and ask them to do the same thing. When you feel they are ready you can move onto four letter words like ‘bird’ and then 5 letter words ‘horse’ . It’s handy to have all these words on a piece of paper for reference for them to look at before they write them on the image.
Step 4. Progress to them simply writing the word on the wall in front of them and again reading it forwards and backwards. Break longer words into syllables to make it easier e.g. yog hurt . You could get them to write the word on a post it note first, stick it on the wall, then take the post it note away and ask them to read the word forwards and backwards. The backwards bit is really important because it shows you are visualising rather than remembering.
Enjoy yourselves. Reading is fun!