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116                                         HELPING  YOUR  CHILD IMPROVE HIS  READING

To ascertain which children need the readiness experiences and which do not, teachers often give a reading readiness test,2 near the beginning of the first grade. Sometimes, instead of testing, they systematically observe signs of readiness such as the following:

Readiness to learn: Ability to sit still long enough to learn to pay attention and listen, to resist being distracted or bothered by the other children.

Desire to learn to read: Most children come to school eager to learn to read. This desire can be fostered during the preschool years; it is basic to all further reading development.

Personal characteristics: Curiosity about signs and words, self-confi­dence, outgoingness, cooperation, independence, resourcefulness in find­ing work to do.

Physical readiness: Normal vision and hearing, good health and free­dom from cumulative fatigue and illness, good motor coordination—hands and eyes work together in bouncing a ball, and so on.

Mental maturity: Ability to follow several simple directions, use words appropriately, see relationships, remember a short poem, tell story in sequence, and predict what may happen next.

Language readiness: Ability to speak clearly in sentences; to understand relationship words such as up and down, big and little; to correct errors in speech when they are pointed out.

Auditory and visual discrimination: Ability to distinguish differences in sounds and forms; to interpret pictures.

Prereading skills: Ability to supply a missing word in a sentence if it is suggested by the context; to recognize words beginning with the same sound; to say and recognize the names of the letters; to start associating each letter with its sound in words; to look at a line of print from left to right.

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