I can improve my reading...

An E-book for parents to assist them to understand reading better –
Fun games and ideas included

COPYRIGHT RESERVED LECTORSA NO PART OF THIS BOOK MAY BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT – 2020

Table of Contents

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Dear Parent,

Our aim with this book is to resource every parent, who would like to help to improve their child’s reading, with the necessary information and exercises to use at home.

LectorSA specialises in developing visual skills, reading with comprehension and visual intelligence online. Our programmes are incorporated successfully in reading centres, at schools and at universities in and outside of South Africa.

Please note the following important aspects when using the information in this book:

1. Reading is the key to unlimited knowledge. Keep it enjoyable! Reading should never be used as punishment.

2. Start at your child’s current level. Ensure that he/she finds it easy and enjoys the development exercises to ensure that he/she is encouraged to learn more! If you are unsure of your child’s level, you can do a FREE placement online at https://webapp.eyebraingym.com/sign-up

3. Include a challenge in each session, but keep it fun and exciting!

4. Reading should progress from a place of ‘learning to read’, to a place of ‘reading to learn’.

5. In other words, reading skills should become learning skills.

6. You hold the opportunity to change your child’s future in your hands – use this opportunity
with great care and love.

With great appreciation from the LectorSA-team

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How do we learn to read?

Timeline of language development

From 0 to 4 years, a lot happens in the development of reading skill. Yes, these years are significant, and as a parent, you can play a critical role in the timely development of these skills.

Take time to play with your baby – and enjoy his/ her development in language skills! The human brain is naturally wired for language development, but not for reading. The latest research in neurological development clearly indicates that the structures of the brain are ‘set’ up within the first year of a baby’s life. This is a crucial time where the child should be exposed to clear language constructs. Keep You will notice your child picks up new words very quickly when learning how to speak – but there are fundamental listening skills that can and should also be developed in the growth phase.

Let’s take a look at the important areas of language development between 0 – 4 year.

0 – 12 months

* recognises basic speech sounds

* babbles by speaking all the sounds in human language by six months 

12 months

* at one year sounds are pruned to the ones heard every day

* attaches meaning to sounds

* expresses whole thoughts in one word

1 – 4 years

* Acquires 7 – 10 words a day

* Puts together 2-word sentences

* Recognizes difference between noun and verb at 18 months

* Between 3-4 years up to 1,500 speaking word
vocabulary is developed

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Vocabulary growth

Language development flourishes in environments that are rich in language interactions. ‘Hart and Risley’ followed the vocabulary growth of 42 children from age one year to three years old. The results of this study affirm the value of creating a language-rich environment in our homes. We need to enrich our children’s lives with as much background information as possible on every topic they are going to study in
school.

The development of vocabulary in children from lower-income families was almost half that of a middleincome family. High income or professional families doubled the vocabulary development of their children compared to that of middle-income families in the first three years of life. Between the age of one and three, our children are likened to a sponge that absorbs as much vocabulary as possible. We should speak to our children inaccurate terminology – affirming their correct pronunciation of words they hear, to assist them in acquiring excellent reading skills! Do not use ‘baby words’ to refer to certain items, but teach them the correct terminology as early as possible.

Fig 1. Significant milestones in the development of language that will enhance the development of reading skills

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It is during this phase of development that small children learn to discover the exciting big world that surrounds them. How do they learn? Through touching, tasting, seeing, hearing and also through asking questions non-stop when they learn how to speak. Use this opportunity. Don’t tell them to ‘keep quiet – I am busy’. If they can keep on asking questions – their minds will become wired to look for answers. This will be a very valuable tool in their education.

Reading preparation and reading readiness

The first phase of reading development can be called reading preparation or reading readiness. This is the phase pre-school, as well as during the beginning of nursery school education. The table below explains the essential aspects and the parental assistance you can give in the ‘getting ready to read phase’ of reading development. The table also contains hints and ways to help your child. Remember, your positive encouragement and assistance will play a major role.

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Extra resources for getting ready to read

1. You can access great resources on the FREE public library. Sign up at https://www.eyebraingym.com/login/?redirect_to=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eyebraingym.com%2Fpub lic-library%2F
2. Go to https://webapp.eyebraingym.com/sign-up and sign up for the Grade R level Eyebraingym course. It includes fun Eyegym exercises AND downloadable worksheets.

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The rapid development of reading skills

It usually commences during Gr. 2 and Gr. 3 and is a continuation, expansion and fine-tuning of the previous stage. Their ability to recognise words, analyse the sounds and letters that form the words and put it all together to form meaning (synthesis), as well as the ability to use the context to deduce meaning, develops rapidly. Extension of reading competence and fine-tuning of reading: usually takes place in the intermediate grades. Along with the necessary reading success and motivation, enthusiasm, and independent recreational reading can develop. Self-enrichment through reading leads to broader interests which results in extended reading. Reading for study purposes has also commenced.

Extra resources for the first years of reading development

1. You can access great resources on the FREE public library. Sign up at https://www.eyebraingym.com/login/?redirect_to=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eyebraingym.com%2Fpub lic-library%2FF
2. Go to https://webapp.eyebraingym.com/sign-up and sign your child up for an Eyebraingym course. It includes fun Eyegym, Readgym and Braingym exercises AND downloadable worksheets, including mind-activation, meta-cognition, language, visual skills, comprehension and study exercises.

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Further fine-tuning of reading attitudes and habits - the High School years

Developing reading skills is part of life-long learning. Every phase of education and life have different challenges that we have to face. With the incredible development in technology, it is essential to use new skills and develop new strategies to keep abreast of the times we live in. We all have to become visually intelligent. The skills and strategies your child learn now will go a long way to empower them towards future success.

Accurate development of foundational skills towards visual intelligence will become more critical in the future because training and education are faced with enormous challenges. If you consider the fact that 65% of today’s grade school kids will end up in jobs that haven’t been invented yet (United States Department of Labor: Futurework – Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century) you realise we have a great task to empower our children to be able to train themselves for the skills needed in workrelated situations of the future. Good reading skills are the key to knowledge.

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How do we read?

How do your eyes move when you read?

Explanation

Your eye hops across the reading line like a ball when you are reading a sentence. When your eye stops/ hops, it can see. Every eye stop, or fixation, takes time. How much you see and the duration

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of your eye stop influences your reading speed. At the end of each reading line, the eye has to swing back and find the new reading line first before we can continue reading. Thus we need to see faster and see more at a time if we want to improve our reading skills. Always practise seeing accurately. Your eye can see very fast. It is directly linked to your brain. In other words, learn to focus, to concentrate so that you can recall what you have seen. Sometimes we are not sure what we have seen – your eyes then reread. This is also called a regression. If rereading becomes a habit, it is almost like walking one step forward and two steps backwards. Your eyes are learning a wrong pattern in reading… and could keep on doing this as a habit. The secret lies in training your eyes to see faster, see more, and stay accurate. Your memory also needs to be exercised to increase what you can recall. With the correct attitude, reading and learning can be a great adventure. The choice is yours. Ensure that you take on this new opportunity with the right attitude of the heart.

Reading errors that could hold me back

Auditory problems

Before acquainting a child with any reading procedure, he/she needs to understand that the spoken language consists of individual and specific sound combinations. The child needs to master the majority of the sounds to master the graphic report of the sounds (the written alphabet as we
know it) as reading language. Success in this matter depends largely on the successful execution of
specific listening skills.

Children who struggle to hear sounds on a high and/or low frequency usually struggle to master the act of reading. If your child displays more than two of the habits listed below, you should consult a qualified audiologist for a hearing test. Another indicator to take your child for a proper
hearing test could be if your child often suffered from middle ear infections at an early age. It is vital to ensure that your child has adequately mastered the sounds of the language. Play sound games regularly. Look out for apparent symptoms in this regard

  • The child gives the impression of not paying attention and often asks you to repeat something.
  • Instructions are often carried out wrongly.
  • Turns his/her head so that an ear is directed towards the direction of the speaker.
  • Places a hand behind the ear to hear.
  • Reads in a monotonous voice.
  • A noticeably stressed attitude when listening.
  • Regular colds and/or drainage of the ears.
  • Regular poor pronunciation.

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Visual problems

There is a definite correlation between visual problems and reading problems. When more than one of the symptoms repeatedly occur, it is necessary to take your child to a skilled person for specialised optometric and/or ophthalmic tests.

Appearance of eyes 

  • Eyes turning inward or outward
  • Redness of eyes and eyelids
  • Excessive tearing
  • Frequent sties and/or festering eyelids 

 

Complaints regarding short-range visual assignments

  • Headaches
  • Eyes burning or itching
  • Nausea and/or dizziness
  • Letters and words become blurry after a while
  • The tendency to avoid close up tasks

 

Posture and physical onset during visual tasks

  • Faulty sitting posture (excessive forward slouching )
  • Neck and head strained when reading from a distance (board)
  • Stressed during visual assignments
  • Visibly tilts head
  • Frequently rubs eyes
  • Narrows eyes when looking at something
  • Closes one eye
  • Complains about double vision