Unlike most early milestones, your child will be conscious of his ability as he works towards reading fluency. Whereas before he may not have been concerned about his friends rolling over before him or that he took a few tumbles before his first steps, he now may seem self conscious of his reading performance when compared to his peers. It’s like toilet training all over again as your child weans himself from needing you to connect him to the written language to becoming a fully independent, confident reader.
Toilet training? Yep- stay with me here…
A few years ago I asked our Montessori and Orton-Gillingham certified Primary Director to identify some skills sets which helped her facilitate the reading program for our preschool and Kindergarten aged children. Her list includes: understanding of relationships (what goes together), motivation, focused attention span, visual ability and tracking, persistence, patience, delayed gratification, and normally developed spoken language skills.
These same skill sets were photo documented in a post relating to Diapering and Early Literacy. (Link to Diapering and Early Literacy post)
At the center, we’ve observed a correlation between how your chid approached toilet learning and how she approaches taking on the tasks towards reading mastery. In both, the greatest contributor to your child’s success and self esteem is the relationship she has with the primary adult guiding her in the process.
And in both, the adult can only serve as a guide. We can’t make your child read any faster than he is physically, socially and emotionally prepared to do. But we can do is support him in his understanding of his own capabilities, provide him the security to feel good about his progress, and continue to lay the foundation for his later independent capabilities.
Watch as this teacher helps guide her emerging reader develop the foundational skill set for later reading fluency. How is the child feeling about his capabilities? How are the children proximal to the lesson feeling? Do opportunities exist for other learners to acquire knowledge from the lesson? How about opportunities to learn from peers?
When scaffolding a child at any stage in their development relationships matter most. This child and his Guide have been together three years along with his peer group. They are all invested in his success. As renowned early childhood advocate Magda Gerber would say, “In his own time, in his own way” and with a little help from a friend or two, he is well on his way to mastery.