PARENTS who want their children to be good spellers should read to them at a young age and keep reading to them long after they can read by themselves, the UK Government’s communication expert said overnight.
Jean Gross – the government’s adviser on youth speech, language and communication problems – said that children can be taught to be good spellers from a young age by being read bedtime stories. She added that becoming a good speller “starts a lot sooner than we all might imagine.”
“Very early on, when little children are hearing speech, they are beginning to hear separate sounds within a word,” Ms Gross said. “That grows between the ages of zero and five, in the preschool years. It is on that ability that later written spelling is built. “
Ms Gross also said that parents should read to their children for as long as possible.
“By reading more complex things to them like the Narnia stories or The Lord of the Rings, then you are developing their vocabulary – as long as you can distract them from their PlayStations and the television,” she said.
Nine out of 10 parents are concerned about declining levels of literacy among children, according to a survey by Reader’s Digest. More than a third of the 2000 parents questioned also said that they did not do enough to encourage their children to read and write.