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Parenting tips for 42 months girls

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My daughter is 42 months old. Below are my questions:

  1. She is able to name objects but was unable to read from words. How can I help to make her to recognize words.

  2. Is it appropriate to teach her phonics or send her for phonics lessons at this age?

  3. I've send her to " Shichida Methods" school.

  4. Her attention span is short and is easily distracted by the surroundings.

  5. How can I make her have more concentration and longer attention span?

  6. When reading stories to my daughter do I need to point at the words and read out to her or just by reading the story aloud?

A: Parents need to understand that all children grow and develop at their own pace and rate and according to their own "personal' time table. What parents should do is to understand the developmental level of each age group and how those children learn best. Learning activities that are planned must match a child's individual temperament and interests.

I believe that your daughter is growing well at her own pace and at this stage, it is very normal for a child to name objects but have problems reading from words. Give her some time and the best you can do is to keep reading with her and helping her recognize the words. Allow some time here.

It is perfectly fine to teach her phonics at this stage if you feel that she is ready to learn. In fact, once she has mastered her phonics, she would be able to recognize words better and at a faster pace.

(Note: Phonics defines the set of relationships between written letters and the spoken sounds that those letters represent. It is the standard method used to teach children to read and write in school that is by connecting the sounds of words with how they are written.)

A few recommendations on teaching of phonics: 

  • Teach every letter-sound correspondence explicitly. It if found that children who have been trained explicitly to decode words are far more likely to read successfully than children who have had limited or no training.

  • Teach high frequency letter-sound relationships early. Present them with stories that consist of words containing only the relationships that have already been taught to reinforce what has been learnt.

  • Teach sound-blending explicitly. Bear in mind that they may not necessarily understand how to connect the phonemes in unfamiliar words.

  • Make sure you correct every oral reading error. Corrective feedback is crucial for all reading errors, regardless of whether those errors influence the meaning of the passage. It is found that many meaning-emphasis programs encourage teachers to correct only errors affecting meaning but this should not be the case in the teaching phonics.

Any early leaning intervention, if found enjoyable for a child, is always better than none. You need to monitor her progress and interest level to determine if the instructional method you are using is appropriate. Some children may need a lot of intervention and assistance in learning, hence the various methods in the market; then again some children are able to bypass most methods and do just as well with simple methods. Therefore, if your daughter is progressing well with the "Shichida Methods", by all means continue.

A few suggestions to help your daughter concentrate better at reading.

  • Make sure you have first taught her the alphabets. Teach her the sounds of the letters. Teach her how to rhyme as well. Children learn to rhyme very quickly and love to make up nonsense rhymes. Encourage your girl to do so.

  • Make library visits. Starting this habit early will enhance her enjoyment in reading and change her reading environment which may improve concentration.

  • If there is a play school or library that has a story hour for young children, she would most likely enjoy and benefit greatly. She will need to develop listening skills and story hour is a great place to practice. If none is available, you may want to get a friend (who is good with kids) or yourself to do this, say once a week? Get a group of parents with young kids to be involved. You'd be surprised at the level of excitement and energy your child may demonstrate.

  • Allow your child to "read' her favorite story to you. Don't help her unless she asks for help. Don't be surprised at how well your child is able to memorize a favorite book!

  • Get storybooks with tapes that accompany them. Make sure the reading material you purchase caters to the promotion of reading readiness skills.

Depending on what you may want to achieve in reading, reading both by pointing out the words and reading aloud helps with different sets of skills which will help your child in her reading. Of course, reading aloud is seen as more enjoyable to children.

Hope these tips help. All the best!


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