Hullo! Congratulations, you’re almost there! Today we uncover the last step.
C is for Confidence. And take it from me, this is our most important step. Actually, we could have stopped with step B, because once you have found your child’s level, it’s all a matter of building, building, building… except that you never know how far you can go before the building collapses. To keep it from collapsing, we need one last thing: confidence in the child. Before you take his reading to the next level, always, always, always check for confidence.
You know what confidence is like in your own child. Sometimes it’s that sparkle of joy in his eye when he can tie his own shoelaces. Sometimes it’s that look of triumph when he manages (after multiple tries) to button his own shirt. Or when he can carry groceries he thought was too heavy for him.
You want that confidence in his reading. Watch for the day when the child who has always tripped up at letter G in the alphabet song, sings it all the way to the end without a glitch. At each level of teaching him to read, get him to that level of confidence with the subject before you move on. Sometimes my students grumble at me for practising blending for weeks on end. I tell them, “Okay, let’s make a deal. Once you can read one page of these blends (there are only five in a page!) without making more than two mistakes, I’ll teach you the next thing.”
And would you believe it, they take always me up on my suggestion! Immediately, the little head would bend over the page and the little finger trace the letters as they blend. And once they reach the last one, I wish you could see the flourish in their gestures and the triumph in their eyes. That is confidence.
So now, how do you spot confidence? You can look for this one big thing: when they tell you, “I know that already. Don’t tell me; let me try.” Or, when they grumble at you for reviewing something they think they know like the back of their hand. Also, when a child is eager to do something you ask of him, such as giving the sounds for the vowels.
Why do I specifically bring up confidence? Because it is the confidence in his ability to learn to read that will determine whether he likes reading or not. And it is confidence that will determine whether he enjoys learning or not. Yes! Confidence is that important. Do without it and your child will be swept down the drain of “hating school” and everything else. Why? Perhaps because the pace is too fast for him, or things are not explained to his level. Children enjoy what they feel they are in control of. If they can manage it, most of them will enjoy it.
So build up that confidence! You can’t do without it!
Thank you for reading! I wish you all the best success on your own journey with your child into literacy.
Does your child have next to illegible handwriting? Find out how to help that in our next article!