TO LEARN TO
Clapping to learn to read?
That seems to fly in the face of traditional wisdom. We are used to teaching reading with our child sitting still with a book in front of him and systematically working our way through learning the words and phonics.
Reading uses many different processes in the brain and therefore reading
programmes that include whole-brain learning and encourage movement, rhythm and rhyme will make it easier for our child to learn to read.
Let’s have a look at some of the processes needed when we learn to read:
* We use both eyes and read across the page. We therefore need both sides of our brain to work together efficiently. This is called bilateral integration.
When we clap in rhythm with both hands, we are encouraging bilateral integration development which is a major foundation of reading.
* In reading, letters and words are codes for sounds, which in turn are
codes for objects, thoughts or ideas. We need to be able to recognise and
remember the different visual and auditory patterns and what they represent. You didn’t think you were training your child in the art of coding and de-coding like spies of the Cold War but reading is exactly that – deciphering a code.
* Memory, attention and thinking are all part of learning to read and all are stimulated by rhythm, rhyme and movement.
I give you more detail in my book but I think you can see that learning to read is not purely cognitive (just thinking) but actually reading needs other parts of the brain to join in and work as a well-oiled machine.
Occupational therapists have for a long time realised that movement has a strong influence on our ability to learn. It is important that the correct type of movement is used, so that we are stimulating the correct processes and helping your child to use whole-brain learning, be alert and ready to learn to read. Simply adding a random selection of movement to your reading programme will often have exactly the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.
In the example in my drawing, the little girl and boy are clapping with rhythm and saying rhymes that they have learnt. This helps develop bilateral integration, sequencing, rhythm and rhyme. All of these are important when learning reading. Later they can be shown the written text of the rhymes they’ve been saying and can read them. This will help them develop reading flow and give them a sense of confidence. They will learn that reading is fun!
Look for a reading programme that understands the value of movement and careful grading. Make sure that fun is a major component of the reading programme you choose. Fun and movement can improve focus, attention and memory and give your child the whole-brain learning that really lasts.
Click here to find more ideas and see an innovative programme to teach reading.