Teaching Your Child To Read

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Parents may not be conscious of emphasizing the "b" sound in the word "ball" when their toddler brings them a ball, nor that the emphasis is a key to reading skills.

Understanding those subtleties of teaching your child is a key piece of the "Helping Kids Learn" class at the Parent Resource Center.

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Parent Resource Center workshop teacher Lori Martinez, explains to Shellen Padilla how reading to a child can be fun and enhances a child's learning ability throughout life.

"The act of reading is a complex, thinking, step-by-step process," said Lori Martinez, a counselor and certified Title I teacher.

The cognitive process of understanding a written linguistic message is the technical definition of reading.

The process begins with the ability to recognize a letter, then a word, a sentence, a paragraph and then a page of words.

Identifying and sounding out the "d" in "dog" or the "c" in "cat" is part of decoding or learning to recognize and recall letters, their sounds and their placement within words.

Parent enrichment programs

At Home Reading Fun (grades K through 5), 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 24

Discipline for the Young Child (birth to 6 years old), 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 7

Family Learning Activities (grades K through 12), 9 to 11 a.m. Feb. 28

Staying Connected With Your Teen (grades 6 through 12), 6 to 8 p.m. March 28

The Parent Resource Center is located at 514 W. Wade Lane.

For more information, contact Blanche Oakland or Christy Walton at (928) 472-5735.

"Talk to your child a lot," Martinez said. "Use picture books. Get excited and have fun reading with your child.

"Reading is one of the greatest gifts you can share with your child."

The speed with which an individual can decode and comprehend words is called fluency.

"You can't comprehend a sentence if you are spending too much time decoding words," Martinez said.

"When my son and I go for a walk he points at things and asks ‘What's that? What's that'," said Shellen Padilla, of his toddler.

"Children learn by repetition," Martinez said. "So, use words over and over."

Reading was not Padilla's favorite subject in school. Although he had trouble paying attention and concentrating, he is determined to read to his son.

Chaotic environments, poor motivation, poor nutrition, visual or auditory impairment and lack of interest in the subject are some causes of learning difficulties.

Difficulties are not the same as disabilities.

Sometimes students act up out of boredom or frustration when they cannot focus on the print material.

"It looks like a child is having an attention problem, when, in reality, it is a reading problem," Martinez said. "There is no reason to get mad at the child when all he or she really needs help with are reading skills."

Parents can help their children read better by allowing them to read books on topics that interest them.

"Use comic books to make reading fun, as long as they are appropriate and keep your family's values," Martinez said.

Their topics of interest will generalize to a wider range of interests as they practice reading, she said.

The next class at the Parent Resource Center, "At Home Reading Fun" will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24.

The class will be taught by Dawn Ashton-Proudfoot, a certified Title I teacher with Payson Schools.

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