Educator reveals early learning success tips to parents via

October 05, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA - A longtime educator has developed an instructional program to aid parents in fostering reading and learning success in their preschool-age children.

Elaine Engerdahl, who taught for 24 years with a specialty in reading instruction, is the author of the educational program Early Learning Solutions, based on kindergarten and preschool lesson plans. The program, developed for preschool and kindergarten-level teachers, is now available to the general public.

"A colleague suggested that I make these lesson plans readily available for proactive parents to use," explained Engerdahl.

The suggestion lead to the birth of Engerdahl's Web site,

While the program has a heavy focus on developing reading and writing skills, the lessons inspire creativity and draw from a wide variety of subject areas, touching on every area of the preschool and kindergarten curriculum.

"Many parents have asked me how they can help their young children to learn more, while having fun," Engerdahl said. "Reading to your children is a first step. I suggest incorporating a few simple strategies into the reading to ensure even greater success."

A highlight of the Early Learning Solutions program are books called Emergent Readers. According to Engerdahl, these books are short, with very few words on each page, with a story line that is predictable and repetitive.

For example, the story line of an Emergent Reader, accompanied by a lively illustration to engage the child's interest, could read:

John likes to run.

John likes to swing.

"The parent touches each word as they read to the child," Engerdahl explained. "This indirectly teaches the child that print moves left to right, from top to bottom. It also gives the child an understanding of words, as they appear on the page. Using these highly repetitive and predictable books allows the child to begin the reading process quickly and gives them a feeling of success. Even though the child is not necessarily decoding words yet, they are gaining valuable insight as to what is involved in the reading process."

Engerdahl recommends parents also support a child's attempt to read on their own. She recommends the following tips.

In echo reading, the parent reads and the child will echo the sentence after, attempting to touch the words as they read. This touching of words, called tracking, is a difficult skill for beginning readers. Holding the child's hand and providing assistance in tracking the words might be necessary at first. Only do one or two sentences to begin, eventually building upon the child's success.

In choral reading, the child reads at the same time as the parent.

Another tactic for parent is to leave a word out and encourage the child to fill it in. Engerdahl said this works great when using rhyming books in particular.

She wants parents to remember to applaud their child's efforts and to continue to read more difficult books for enjoyment. "These types of books provide a good vocabulary base," Engerdahl pointed out.

For more tips and strategies, visit and sign-up for Engerdahl's free newsletter and a free 76-page e-book that includes three repetitive and predictable stories. The Early Learning Solutions program and preschool and kindergarten lesson plans are available via the Web site.

Elaine Engerdahl

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