Reading is a fundamental skill that plays a crucial role in a child's education and overall development, but a long-standing debate known as the "Reading Wars" has created confusion among parents and teachers about the best way to teach children to read.
As a parent, understanding the reading wars and the different approaches to teaching reading is essential for supporting your child's literacy development. By being informed about the phonics-based and whole-language approaches, you can actively participate in your child's reading journey both at home and in the classroom.
At home, you can apply whole language tenets of having a literacy-rich environment and providing plenty of opportunities for a child to positively engage with books and texts. Numerous studies show that a parent’s own reading habits and involvement in reading at home have a big impact on literacy development in early elementary school. By embracing a balanced approach and creating a literacy-rich environment at home, you can play a vital role in nurturing your child's reading skills and setting them on a path to lifelong learning success.
Knowing how critical phonics skills are for a foundation of lifeline literacy, you can be on the lookout for resources that build those skills. Whether something like letter-sound flashcards or a monthly subscription to Read With Ello, providing your child with engaging ways to practice phonics will make at-home reading time all the more effective.
You can advocate for curriculum and instructional practices in your child’s school that incorporate direct, explicit, and sequential phonics instruction in their reading curriculum. Knowing the importance of strong, early phonics instruction empowers you to collaborate effectively with educators so your child receives instruction that fosters confident, motivated reading and gives them a strong foundation for the lifelong development of literacy skills.
At the end of the day, all parents and educators want to empower young readers to become confident, skilled, lifelong readers. The key to cutting through the noise of the reading wars is understanding the history behind them and research spurred by them to help us all make better-informed, evidence-based decisions and evaluations about our children’s reading instruction