Year 1 High Frequency Words – the reluctant reader

February 6, 2017 by Jorn Krige in Speech Therapist

How do you get a restless and energetic Year 1 child to sit down and practice their reading?

A while ago we spoke about the different reasons a child might struggle to learn to read. The 2 main difficulties we see at Words First are phonological awareness and processing speed – difficulties decoding and difficulties accessing the right words. Now, in order to improve fluency and reading, children need exposure to words all the time, they need to see them, hear them and practice them. But how do you get a child, perhaps a reluctant reader, to sit down and practice doing something that isn’t very fun or engaging?

We came across an initiative in the US that uses ‘reading to dogs’ as a way to encourage children to read. We LOVE this idea and think it’s ticks a lot of boxes:

  1. The dog cannot judge or correct
  2. It doesn’t matter if the child misses a word, reads a word incorrectly or gets stuck
  3. The child tends to read with expression which engages the dog
  4. The child has a few minutes exposed to words in a ‘warm and fuzzy’ place

Here’s a picture of my daughter, Amy, reading The Gruffalo to our dog, Nala. I’d never heard her read with so much expression and eye contact, it was wonderful. I highly recommend this if you have a pet at home – even a goldfish or parrot!

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