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Literacy: How Children Learn to Read and Write


The acquisition of reading and writing are processes that are learned dynamically and constructively. Both processes require having acquired certain basic psychological skills, as well as cognitive skills and an adequate construction of thought: such as reflective observation, identification, comparison, problem solving, analysis, generalization, specific motor skills, the formulation of hypotheses and rules, classification. This is how children learn to read and write.

Many boys and girls, from 3 or 4 years old, they can start in the curiosity for the letters, By knowing what you put on a poster, on a sign or on a label, they are even able to identify your name from the many times it has been shown to them in writing or seen on the labels of their school clothes or in their school supplies . At the same time they make an effort to write their name in the best way they know how.

It is because of that From the age of 3, work can begin on the construction of learning the processes of reading and writing, with pre-writing tasks. But, as I have stated on other occasions, this learning should not be forced, and it is possible that there are many children who are not prepared to start in it. Therefore, the age of onset is relative and will depend on the development of each child.

To motivate this process, you can stimulate the child with certain tasks and games that will promote greater skill when facing the reading-writing process, such as games of:

  • Spatial Orientation.
  • Laterality, visual-motor coordination.
  • Discrimination and auditory memory.
  • Fine psychomotor skills.
  • Spoken language,
  • Phonological awareness.

The child may be ready to read and write from the age of 5 or 6, but this age is not limiting, but approximate, since a certain maturity is necessary and not all children develop the same. It is important to be aware of the moment when the child is ready to start the process and always making sure that their communication through language is already optimal.

Our children, our students, they will discover that each letter has its own sound, what is called phoneme, which is the minimum phonological unit, and they will learn to decode, by association and adult repetition, that sound each time they see that letter and that spelling will be associated with the name of the letter. It is surprising when they see, for example, some mountains drawn and say it looks like the letter "M", or a rope on the ground with a meandering shape and they say it looks like an "S".

In general, start first in recognizing the letters that make up their name, and for them discovering them on other posters or signs is really satisfying.

It is also frequent that recognize written words without hardly knowing how to read, and is that visual memory plays a good role, since they have been able to memorize the spellings of a word and for that reason they identify them: such as HOME, MOM or DAD.

For boys and girls it is easier to start both in reading and writing with capital letters, since their spelling is simpler, both to memorize and to trace.

The curiosity that a child has to learn to read and write, when his maturity allows it, is the motor and sufficient motivation to promote this learning. Once you have identified all the spellings and the sound that each letter makes, will be able to decode those sounds to read the word, and will not lack the desire to transcribe them to paper almost simultaneously. In this part of the motor graph task, it is appropriate to teach the directionality of the letter, since there are children who incorrectly internalize a line in a letter or number, and later it is more difficult to correct, that is, you have to unlearn what we learned, what we say in education.

It is usual that, in the beginning, the girl or the boy, make certain mistakes as a result of their learning, such as omissions of letters, letters written in an inverted way, not to leave spaces between words, here the task of the adult is not so much to erase, but to show how it is done, always with calm and confidence.

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