How to Encourage Kids to Recognise the Alphabet
4 May 2011
By RUTH LIEW in ParenThots
By RUTH LIEW in ParenThots
MY three-and-a-half-year-old daughter started kindergarten this year after having been in a nursery. In the previous setting, she did not do much academic learning.
My girl is now facing difficulty recognising and remembering the entire alphabet. The teacher has given us cards with the alphabets she still doesn’t know and we are to help her learn them.
My husband and I try our best to go through the letters/words with our girl and have used many “props” like cards, books, etc in the process.
We are beginning to get worried about her lagging. We are also concerned about pushing our child before she’s really ready to learn all that’s required of her. I hope you can give us some insight and tips. – Worried mother, Sarawak
There is more to reading than just being able to recognise the alphabet or doing spelling. Children need reading readiness skills such as being able to speak the language, listening, experiential background, visual and auditory discrimination, perceptual motor skills and interest.
Parents can do more than just getting children to recognise the alphabet and rote-learn words. Children will learn the meaning in print through hands-on and fun-filled activities.
Reading aloud to your child is one of the best ways of getting your child interested in the printed word. When you read to your child, she will learn that every word is made of the blending of sounds and they stand for the names of things and people. She will also gain pleasure from interacting with you during story time. By reading, she understands how words fit into a phrase or sentence, and the beginning of that stage happens when the child understands the concept of nouns, verbs, pronouns, adverbs and other forms of speech.
As they mature emotionally and cognitively, children with an expansive range of vocabulary will develop a love for reading.
Learning a list of words will not make your daughter a better reader. She may memorise the list of words in their shapes and sounds. Sadly, this does not mean she is progressing in her reading skills.
Many children get turned off by the idea of reading and writing because the process of learning is just too frustrating when they are not ready. They get labelled a failure at a young age.
Read to your young child at home at all times. Start with simple storybooks with beautiful pictures. Engage her in conversations about the characters and the plots. Dramatise the tales you read in the books.
Write down her stories when she shares them with you. Have her dictate her story for you to write word for word. Later, she can illustrate her story. You may end up with several self-authored books that both parent and child can be proud of.
Research shows that a child’s sense of self is critical to his achieving success at work. Children who are confident and skilful are better at handling stress.
You can involve your daughter in all kinds of household activities that require reading and writing, like making a shopping list, doing up a menu for dinner, writing reminders and even making up greeting cards for relatives and friends.
To motivate your child to learn to read, she needs your encouragement and support. The kindergarten teacher may only require her to learn letters and words, but you can do more for your daughter. You will help her develop literacy competence through her love for books.