Why can't my child read yet?!

Hello and welcome to Time to Shine Teaching and Coaching!

Focusing solely on reading is often a mistake that educators and parents make. Reading and spelling are directly correlated. They are like two sides to the same coin and should be taught together and in support of each other. As well, proper letter formation plays an important role in the overall success kids experience.

While we measure reading levels, we don’t really have an assessment for spelling. In fact, many teachers don’t even do a spelling program with their students, even in the primary grades. Research has shown that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same knowledge — such as the relationships between letters and sounds and not surprisingly, that spelling instruction can be designed to help children better understand that key knowledge, which is going to result in better reading.

Because words are not very visually distinctive (for example words like: barn born burn – they’re all the same shape), it’s impossible for children to memorize a lot of words unless they’ve developed insights into how letters and sounds relate.

Learning to spell requires direct, explicit instruction and gradual integration of information about print, speech sounds, and meaning — this, in turn, supports the memorizing of whole words

, which is used in both spelling and sight reading. Sight reading is the ability to see a word and NOT have to sound it out to know what it is. This only happens either because you’ve memorized it, which is limiting, or when the reader has a good knowledge of the letter and sound association.

Knowing what a word is just by seeing it (or by its visual representation) makes it easily retrievable for fluent reading. Fluency is that ability to read with speed, accuracy and proper expression. We can develop reading fluency when we don’t have to work so hard to decode or sound out a word.

Time to Shine Teaching Research also shows a strong relationship between spelling and writing: When you need to think too hard about how to spell a word, you’re using up valuable cognitive or thinking resources that are needed for the higher level aspects of composition.

Even more than reading, writing is a mental juggling act that depends on the automatic deployment of basic skills such as handwriting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation so that the writer can keep track and focus on things like the topic, organization, and word choice.

Poor spellers are likely to restrict what they write to the words they can already spell to avoid interrupting the writing process when they get stuck trying to spell a word. Either way, the result will be less powerful writing.

It's also important to take the time to teach children how to form the letters the right way. Proper letter formation increases writing speed which allows students to get their thoughts down easier. As well, it transitions to handwriting beautifully as the formation for many letters is very similar in printing and handwriting. T

his means that handwriting won't be a "whole new skill" that needs to be learned.

So our job, is to make sure we are addressing all three skills of reading, spelling, and printing in every lesson.

Happy teaching!

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