from a teacher’s perspective
Written by Jennifer Rennie for Reading Out of Poverty Foundation.
‘Reading Aloud’ is the road to being literate, construction of language for a child begins from a very early age and exposure is key. Children have a natural interest in books and this needs to be developed at every opportunity. No matter what age, in any classroom, you will find that children love listening to a story being read.
Can you imagine a child entering school without words?
When my daughter was in creche, a new child commenced at the centre. This child had only ever been spoken to in Spanish since the day she was born. Imagine a young child being placed in that situation. This is what it can feel like for children who enter school and cannot read or understand instructions.
Too many children enter school with low literacy skills. This equates to a low or underperformance in all curriculum areas, throughout their entire school life. Why? Numeracy, for example, is more than a process. It involves both reading and comprehension skills, along with the ability to use the correct algorithm. In assessment situations, teachers are permitted to read the instructions, but they cannot interpret the question or provide hints as to how it might be solved.
Being literate is vital to accessing, understanding and interpreting information.
‘Reading Aloud’ is important to the development of literacy and communication skills in children. Picture story books expose children to the very basic foundations of being literate. By simply being read to, children will quickly identify or name objects that start with a particular letter, for example the letter “S”. Children will use this initial sound to work out unfamiliar words when beginning to read. Initial learned sounds are typically correct.
Picture story books are filled with rich descriptive language. The more language a child hears, the wider their vocabulary becomes, and their ability to communicate and express themselves increases. Being read to teaches children about fluency in speech patterns. It teaches them that sounds make words, words make sentences and sentences make stories. It demonstrates how to structure their own stories. All this leads them to eventually understand and interpret what they are reading.
Literacy can break the poverty cycle.
We understand that reading and writing are fundamental skills required in every stage of life, all children regardless of their socio-economic condition should have access to books and literacy activities to develop these skills.
Reading out of Poverty is a charitable organisation that promotes the importance of literacy in the early years and provide literacy resources and services to families and children from low socio-economic backgrounds; including migrants, refugees, and indigenous individuals in Victoria. Learn more about their work at www.roop.org.au and follow them on social media Facebook and Instagram.
Remember, the earlier children can be supported in literacy development, and ‘Read-Aloud’ to, the more chance they have of ‘Reading out of Poverty.’
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