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Learning to read

publication date: Oct 5, 2012
author/source: Julia Bairstow
volonteers reading

Learning to read
, as we know, is an essential life skill, which enables children to access education fully and to enter the adult world as confident and competent individuals.

Some factors involved in children learning including a healthy diet and access to books, obviously start in the home well before they reach school age and then continue throughout their formal education in partnership with the school.

Some significant factors for parents/carers to be aware of in terms of providing a healthy life style:
  • Ensure three regular meals a day are provided
  • Know what constitutes a well balanced diet so as to maintain a healthy weight and maximise concentration and subsequently learning. Children's food intake should include low energy-dense foods such as lean meat, fish (especially oily fish), vegetables, fruit and whole grains so as to provide necessary vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Ensure children get sufficient physical activity, which should supplement what they receive at school.
  • As an adult become a role model – parents/carers who eat healthily and exercise regularly will pass this on to their children.
How to support a child to read, with particular reference to the struggling reader:
  • Ensure there are sufficient books around the house from an early age.
  • Select a time for reading when the child is not overtired, as the level of concentration will be poor and may lead to frustration.
  • Don't make reading times too long, especially for the reluctant reader. Short sharp bursts will be more beneficial in the long run.
  • Choose suitable material: books, magazines, websites, recipes which interest the child. This is very important for children who have fallen behind with their reading, as they may have been completely "turned off" by traditional books, the content of which they may consider "boring".
  • Give children plenty of praise and encouragement whatever their reading ability.
  • Be aware that each child works at a different pace and therefore don't exert too much pressure.
Igennus Healthcare Nutrition, who have recently developed Vegepa E-EPA, a highly fatty acid supplement, are currently supporting Volunteer Reading Help (VRH), one of the UK's leading literacy charities. Research into EPA has proved it is a unique type of omega 3 fatty acid, essential for moderating cognitive function and has been beneficial in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), a condition which affects children's ability to learn.