Can parents change, or are they saddled with their present attitudes and habits? Does understanding of a child and his problems of growing up make any real difference in what parents actually do, or in how the child matures? Many people today take a negative, defeatist attitude toward those questions.
However, there is a positive way of thinking about child growth and development. We have sound psychological evidence that children learn under certain conditions, when they feel a need for learning, when the task is meaningful and appropriate to their ability, when they can see results, and when they experience satisfaction in the process and the product. Parents can consciously help to create these conditions. This is especially true in helping the child learn to read. Parents not only can avoid creating situations in which the child becomes bored, frustrated, or resentful about reading; they can also create situations in which the child can succeed with reasonable effort, whatever his ability may be; situations in which he can get some satisfaction from reading, whether he reads a book of riddles, an adventure story, or fascinating facts about history or science.In this book we have tried not to be prescriptive. We do not want to sound like the voice of authority telling parents what to do about their child's reading. Our aim is to give parents a background of understanding that will help them to determine their own role in the reading development of their child. Many specific suggestions will be given, as a reservoir of ideas from which parents may select any pattern or combination of patterns that seems appropriate to their child. Thus they will become more competent and confident in their rightful role as co-workers with teachers in the formal aspects of their child's education
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