Jan 14
Queues and Colonels

Dear Parents of Sibylla Kiddle School,

Learning to read is not an easy task. For most of us, the process of reading is now intuitive. We have learned to read and we have forgotten how difficult that process was. Imagine, however, I gave you reading selection in a language that does not use the Latin alphabet. What do those symbols mean? How do they connect? Do you read the selection left to right or right to left? Top to bottom or bottom to top?

For our youngest students, they have already been on a multi-year journey of recognizing and learning symbols, blends, sounds and words. This is only the start of learning to read. What do those punctuation symbols mean? When do I take a breath? How do tonal inflections change the meaning? In English, we have the added complication of single words having double and sometimes contradictory meanings. The word ‘dust’ can mean both remove and add. We have words with multiple silent letters like ‘queue’ and words where the letters don’t match the sound like ‘colonel’. It is a wonder any of us learned to read the English language.

The big question, for many parents, is how do you support the process of learning to read at home? From my perspective, the number one thing you can do is to read daily to your child, no matter how old or young they are. In my house, we read to our kids when they were babies and we continue to take time for a ‘read aloud’ even though my oldest child is in middle school. Read. Read. Read.

For further tips and tricks on how to support the learning process of reading with your children, the Calgary Public Library is offering a session on January 25, from 7:30 – 8:30 PM entitled Kitchen Table Classroom: Helping Your Child Learn to Read, Grades K-2. The session promo suggests that educators and specialists will present “easy-to-implement and fun to use strategies for you and your child to do together”.

Brad Emery


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