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Catholic Activity: Elementary Parent Pedagogy: Difficulties in Reading


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When a child begins to have reading problems, it is important that we don't depend completely on the schools and teachers to solve all the problems. Reading is the most important building block of learning. The author gives parents advice on how to help in this area at home.


It has been discovered in the past few years that many children fail in school and get into serious difficulties with the teachers for no other reason than that they cannot read. All their work becomes difficult. They are ashamed of their own low marks and they begin to be bold and noisy, and before long they are known as bad children. Parents must then see to it that if their children are not easy readers, they should have plenty of practice until they are up to the level of their classmates. Ask the teacher in school about the child's reading ability, and if he is slow, have him read aloud to you every evening. Rapid reading is largely a matter of drill and practice. Do not let a child read one word at a time, but show him that words are used in groups. For instance, we do not read: "A — boy — lives — in — this — house," but "A boy lives — in this house."

If the eye grasps words in groups, the speed of reading is increased. Another help is to have the child read a paragraph, and then stop and tell you what he has read. Ask him, "What was the chief idea in that paragraph?"

From the moment that a child learns to read, he should get the habit of reading at least every week out of some book which is not a school book. If the habit of reading is not formed in childhood, it probably never will be formed, and the child will probably suffer in many ways.

Choice of Reading for Children

Suppose that our children read normally well for their ages, what shall they read? First of all, a life of Christ, as was mentioned in March, and as we suggested again at the beginning of this section. Then, of course, we hope parents will try to secure the books mentioned each month.

For general reading books, if parents have any money to spare, there has been founded an organization dealing only with children's books. It is called the "Pro Parvulis Book Club," which means "Book Club for the Little Ones." A lady, who gives her life to this work, selects books for children, under the guidance of a priest. The Club has lists of books suitable for all ages of children. The office of the Club is a little room in the Empire State Building, — the highest building in the world, Pro Parvulis Book Club situated at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, New York City. [Editor's Note: This Club is no longer in operation.]

Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Elementary School Children by Katherine Delmonica Byles, Paulist Press, 1938

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