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NOTE: The following feedback from parents about the Early Reading Together® programme is being shared with the kind permission of Lyn Allan, Manager, Manukau Central Christian Preschool (Auckland, NZ).
Looking back over the workshops, what are the most important things you have learned about supporting your children's language and reading development?
The earlier you start reading to your child, the better.
That if the child has an interest in a particular topic or subject, then follow it up - keep at that topic until a time the child is ready to move on to another topic.
Using simple text. Modelling reading i.e. finger pointing words; direction of text etc.
Incorporating music/songs into "reading time".
To keep reading lots of different books to them.
Engaging them in the story - asking questions "What do you think will happen next?"
Slowing down to let child process the ideas or giving time for the child to answer questions.
Asking more questions.
Patience and time is very important to support children's language.
Also learning about how children see words when they start reading.
Encouraging lots of reading at any time and not only before bed time.
Expanding on books beyond simply reading the words to engage the child more in the book and increase their learning.
Boz book - an eye opener into how difficult it is for children to learn to read.
Great to have discussions.
Is there anything else you would like to find out about helping your children?
Reading out aloud.
Are there any other comments about Early Reading Together® you would like to make?
Starting this programme at kindergarten level is ideal.
Great programme to reiterate the importance of reading/exposure to books.
Excellent programme. Great talk from the librarian and lots of good ideas for stories/books to get.
This was a great programme.
It was a good opportunity to share ideas with other like-minded parents.
I've really enjoyed the sessions and think they should be introduced more throughout the year.
Appreciate chance to pick up techniques to further develop a love of books in children.
NOTE: The following evaluative comments from Lyn Allan, Manager, Manukau Central Christian Preschool, regarding their implementation of the Early Reading Together® programme are being shared with permission.
Course run over 3 Tuesday afternoons from 1.15pm-2.30pm on October 28 and November 4 and 11. Free childcare offered to participating parents during this time.
Both Debbie and I realised it would be very beneficial to observe a programme being run before you ran one yourself.
Our group of parents were conscientious, motivated people who already read to their children. However all of them benefited from the course and will be really good advocates for it, as they share their enthusiasm with other parents.
Michelle from Manurewa Library was excellent. She talked about visits to the Library being a "family event" and suggested visiting other libraries around Auckland - much the same way as you would a different playground.
Working with Debbie was excellent. We were able to share the discussions, bouncing off each other, confident in our shared knowledge and ideas.
We realised that some of what we assume is "obvious" and "everyone knows that"; is not necessarily so. Therefore it is important to follow the programme and not be tempted to miss something out.
Parents valued the time to share with each other and commented how positive their sharing was, especially in comparison to the usual parent conversations about children not sleeping, eating, misbehaving etc. They learnt from each other, shared openly and were encouraged to try something someone else had had success with.
Overall - very worthwhile and enjoyable for the parents and us as teachers. We felt we got to know them, their families and therefore their children a little better and they were more confident in what they could do to help their children's language development and love of books.