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.