Those of us with strong memories might be able to recall when we were first learning to read. The chances are also high that these recollections are far from exciting. On the contrary, we likely spent hours performing rote memorisation tasks and being presented with technical subject matter such as grammar, pronunciation and phonics.
While we managed to trudge through these doldrums, the experience was hardly fun. However, teaching children the fundamentals of reading is still considered one of the core components of a sound education. This is why you might be somewhat surprised to learn that a fair amount of doubt has recently been cast upon traditional techniques. What do the experts have to say and why has “active” learning gained popularity?
Active Learning at a Glance
The process of learning can be segmented into two categories:
- Passive learning
- Active learning
Passive learning is associated with the presentation of information to a child. He or she then internalises this data. As you might expect, classroom settings are often considered to represent passive learning scenarios.
Active learning instead involves hands-on activities and first-person experiences. Examples include playing games, imitating others, choosing what type of information to absorb, workshops, and group discussions.
Why Might Active Learning be Better?
One theory involves the observation that children are much more likely to retain information if they remain interested for longer periods of time. This is rather difficult to achieve within traditional settings; especially if the subject matter in question appears dull.
Active learning instead focuses upon the voluntary aspect of acquiring novel information. In other words, children will become passionate about the process as opposed to simply “going through the motions”. This should result in a steeper learning curve and the ability to recall more information over time.
Is There a Healthy Balance?
To be clear, this article is not encouraging parents to discard all traditional methods. Learning to read should instead involve what can only be called a
somewhat holistic approach in regard to the strategies employed. There are also plenty of ways in which you can monitor the progress of your child. One excellent solution is to leverage the utilities offered through EYFS tracking by Educater. This hands-off solution will enable you to take a step back while still being able to appreciate how your child is progressing.
Above all, reading should never be considered a laborious task. If children begin to associate this necessary skill with such a negative connotation, they may progress at a slower rate. In severe cases, they could even be turned off to the entire process. Parents should therefore begin to adopt a middle-of-the-road approach at an early stage.
Children who become engrossed within the reading process will be provided with powerful tools to last them an entire lifetime. As parents, we should seek to foster and reinforce such sentiments. There is no doubt that the associated skills offer a much-needed edge as your child continues to grow.