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Learning to read: Doing it two by two!

by Gisela Winkler

Do you remember those first steps your child took? Remember how tired you were, because you spent hours bending over, walking two by two?

And when your kids finally were ready, remember how good it felt to watch them walk on their own?

Learning to read is much the same. When you are just beginning to figure out the words on your own, reading is hard work. It is so much easier if you can learn to do it two by two.

Those of you who have little beginner readers on your hands, might find paired reading a powerful strategy to "hold their hand". This is how it works:

Step 1: You and your child make up a reading pair. Your child chooses the book and your job is to make sounds of expectation and excitement. ("Oh, great, wonderful and wow!" will do.)

Step 2: Settle in a quiet and comfortable place. Switch the TV off. (Yes. Switch it off now! And while you're at it, switch off the play station, the computer, the stove and the phone!)

Step 3: Look at the cover of the book and ask your child to tell you about it (What do you see? What do you think the book will be about?) Be expectant so that the magic has a chance!

Step 4: Read the book out loud together! Read it two by two - in chorus, at the same speed. If you notice your child struggles, slow down.

Step 5: Handle reading errors in this way: pause - point to the word - read the word - let the child repeat the word - and continue with the story.

Step 6: Remember you are having fun! Do not make your child feel bad by pointing out errors or commenting on how much they still have to learn.

Step 7: Give them a feeling of success by encouraging them to color in a picture about the story they have just read. Ask them to tell it to you all over again. This not only improves their story memory (Very important for school!), but also encourages them to sequence events.

Remember the magic? Now it is time to get the rhythm. Two by two. Simple.

About the Author

Gisela Winkler has written a number of educational books for children.

Visit Homeboundbooks


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