Elementary reading is compulsory for children in elementary school, and as some children have little or no experience of reading until the age of 4 or 5, it is important that the basic ground work is covered well.
Can you imagine going through life unable to read? If you stop to think about it for a minute, you probably don’t even realize how many times during a day you use this reading skill. Reading is taken for granted. There are street signs to read, instructions at skytrain stations telling you how to get the right ticket for your journey, instructions at parking lots telling you how to pay for parking. Shopping uses your reading skills, especially if you are particular about what ingredients are in your packaged foods. There are special offers to read, newspapers to browse through, bills to read, and unfortunately pay. And the list goes on. Reading is so much a part of our lives, even if we never actually have the time to sit down to read a book these days!
And for children the ability to learn reading is so important. The earlier a child learns to read, the faster they can generally learn other skills. Yes, reading is one of the most important skills for a child to learn at an early age, but it is important that this skill be learned as easily as possible. This means that teachers of elementary school children may have to use a variety of different methods and tools to help every child learn this skill.
Because a child’s self esteem is fragile, educators need to make the experience of learning to read a fun project. The last thing you want is for a child to lack confidence and end up not trying to learn how to read. However, access to the internet comes with many advantages. Now it is possible to gain access to other people’s ideas and suggestions, so the internet is a great place to search for help with reading.
So, what is a teacher to do, when teaching elementary reading?
Fortunately, with the advances in science and computing, the problem is solved to a certain degree. There is so much information on the internet, with reading games and puzzles and ideas readily available for an interested teacher. These can make a reading class far more interesting to all, and of course there are now various reading aids available online for students too. Gone are the days of students being given pages and pages of subtractions to do in as short a time as possible, and thank goodness for that! Practice does make perfect, but the understanding has to be there first. This is the job of the elementary math teacher.
A teacher has to remember that every one learns differently, which means that the same math idea needs to be approached in different ways if at all possible, so that all the class understands the concept. If possible, use visuals to help, for example when dealing with fractions, you might talk about pizzas, and if a pizza is cut into 8 pieces and Johnny eats 4, how much of the pizza is left? Relate to something the children know about, and understanding will quickly follow.
So to summarize, elementary school teachers need to make the topic of reading fun and interesting for all the class. They need to encourage everyone to do their best, and not dwell on mistakes made. Confidence needs to be instilled and the courage to always try and not give up needs to be praised. Reading can be a very difficult subject to teach, but it can also be a very rewarding one, with patience and a willingness to help all. And teachers need to remember that the basic reading skills will be built on over time, but those basics have to be in place as soon as possible. With a good foundation in basic reading, children will be able to build and develop their communication skills, and it is well worth while learning these skills at as early an age as possible.