Your child is displaying all the signs she is ready to learn to read- now what?
The next step, often to the parents’ surprise, is to go directly into reading and writing. Once a child knows how to scan and remember the visual sequences of letters, he or she is able to read actual words; once a child knows how to smoothly create all the letters of the alphabet, he or she is able to write actual words.
The key to effective teaching, however, is to have the material designed so that it offers steady success. Anyone who works with children knows how devastating it can be when errors begin to dominate the learning process.
I am not talking about occasional mistakes. In limited quantities, mistakes are a normal part of learning. But when mistakes become a major force, their meaning is different and pernicious. Then a child falls into the grip of feeling both helpless and anxious.
Yet no major instructional system gives any thought to this critical, and ubiquitous, problem. If you want to “see” just how invisible it is, simply open a book on teaching reading and search the index for entries such as “handling error,” “overcoming mistakes,” “dealing with wrong responses.” They are nowhere to be found. The entire focus is on the skills that the children need to learn. The very incorrect assumption is made that once the identified skills are “taught,” the children will acquire them. But real progress is not possible unless error is recognized, controlled and overcome.
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