Category Archives: Blog

Training Wheels for New Readers

June 24,2019

If your child can’t reach the sink, you might provide a step stool. If your child can’t balance a big bike yet, you might install training wheels. Is there anything you can do to help your emergent reader experience success with early reading attempts? You bet.

Next time you are reading a book to your emergent reader, try these three simple reading techniques and see if they make learning to read easier and more fun:

  • Shared Reading: Select one simple word which appears frequently in the story. Have the child read that word every time it appears. You read the rest of the words. Gradually, increase the number of words the child reads. Be sure to point at each word as you read it so your child can follow along.
  • Echo Reading: You read an entire page of a story and then have the child read the same page to you.
  • Choral Reading: Both you and the child read the entire story aloud simultaneously.

For more helpful tips for working with new readers, consider downloading our free parent guide. It is free and easy to share with others, too. Enjoy!


Learning to Read Begins Earlier Than You Think

May 23,2019

When do children begin learning to read? First grade? Kindergarten? Preschool? Earlier? You may be surprised to discover that learning to read begins at birth – or quite possibly, even earlier.

Reading is understanding written language. Written language is based on spoken language. And according to recent research, it is very likely that babies begin to learn spoken language even before they are born.

Approximately 10 weeks before children are born, they begin to hear sounds outside the womb. Remarkably, as early as seven to 75 hours after birth, newborns are able to distinguish between vowel sounds used by their mothers and foreign vowel sounds.  The implication is that while they are still in the womb, children’s brains are being wired for language and key aspects of speech.

So as you can see, it is never too early to think of children as budding readers. It is never too early to read to them, talk to them, ask them questions, and teach them about the world around them — because, as you know now, they are listening.

Evaluating for Learning Disability

April 27,2019

Under the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), public schools are required to find and evaluate the needs of children with suspected learning disabilities (LD). Parents have the legal right to request such testing. Students with LD can qualify for additional educational support or accommodations.

Simply mentioning your concerns to your child’s teacher may be insufficient to secure testing for LD. Evaluations are expensive. Providing years of services to children with disabilities is even more so. To ensure the school system tests your child, your best bet is to put your request for an evaluation in writing.

Send a letter to your child’s teacher and copy the principal and the school district’s Director of Special Education. In your letter outline your specific concerns and why you believe there may be a learning disability. Mention any developmental delays and any family history of LD. Explicitly say you’d like your child to be evaluated and that you give your permission for testing. Finally, be sure to ask if there are any official forms you need to complete to initiate the evaluation.

You may want to mail your letter by certified mail with return receipt requested. That way you have date-verified proof that you’ve asked the school to test your child. If you haven’t heard back from the school after five business days, send an email to follow up. (It is good practice to have a written record of all communications with the school regarding LD.)

Early intervention is very important for supporting students with LD, so don’t delay in requesting an evaluation. If you suspect your child has a learning disability, put your request in writing today.