We take it for granted that most children will have the necessary skills to develop their literacy skills. Some however do not, perhaps because there is a different way in which they think – a way that doesn’t fit in with conventional teaching methods. For others however, literacy is the last thing they would want to be focusing on. It’s not that they are incapable; it’s more the fact that they are disinterested.
Think about the thing you like to do. Perhaps for you, something that really gets you in that “flow” state of mind is going to the gym. Yet for others, they could think of nothing worse than being in a gym. If you put them in one, they’d find it difficult, boring or uncomfortable.
We all enjoy different things as adults, and the same principal applies to children. However we know that the benefits of mastering literacy, far outweigh the excuse of “It’s just not his/her thing.”
Somehow we need to find a way to engage all children (or certainly as many as possible) with literacy, regardless of whether it would be top of the list of their most loved subjects.
Slipping through the net…
Some children are simply slipping through the literacy net, because the methods of engagement do not fit in with their preferred style of learning.
Some children are naturally “do-ers” they need to be getting their hands dirty, or be up in a tree to be in their most natural learning state.
So it falls then to the educators to expand their own creativity to consider the best possibly ways to engage those children. Can stories be learned via scripts that can be acted out? Or letters learned by carving them onto everyday objects that begin with that letter?
Develop tricks and techniques
Are there cheats that you can use to help your child develop their literacy skills from an assessment perspective, to keep them on track with their grades and learning. For example, you can demonstrate a rich language in an exam simply by having 5 really unusual and lesser known words, that you weave into your literacy exam paper (in the right context of course.)
You can develop stories by considering the sensory experience of the reader. As a result of reading this scene, what would they see, hear, smell or taste if they were really in the story instead of just a reader of it?
Engage young people with literacy by asking them to read and write about the things that they love to read and write about. If your child is mad on Doctor Who but hates doing their English home work, consider how you can blend the two together. Can they come up with a Doctor Who based story of their own?
Set a good example
It’s much easier for a child to engage with a task if they have references for others around them doing the task too. If you want your child to be an avid reader, read to them, read yourself and let them see you doing it.
By Gemma Bailey www.NLP4Kids.org/gemma-bailey