We all need to feel successful - "I am getting better at this...I can do it!"
It's a rather obvious but sometimes forgotten idea that applies to any learning...we feel best about it when it feels like we are 'getting it'...this is something that I can do if I keep at it.
And we feel even better if it is FUN getting there!
This is just harkening back to a well worn piece of learning theory - Vogotsky's Zone of Proximal Development. If the learning is too easy and there is no challenge, the learner quickly gets bored. If the learning is too hard, the learner quickly gets overwhelmed, frustrated, switches off, even angry.
But in between these two is what we call the 'Hard Fun' zone...a place where there is a little bit of challenge perfectly balanced with success. The learner is able to use what he or she knows to solve the problem for themselves and the endorphins flow as a result of the 'aha' moment.
This is particularly relevant to the often excruciating process of learning to read. There is nothing worse that the grind of continual failure or knowing you are dependant on someone else to sort your errors out for you.
So how do you manage the Hard Fun Zone?
One of the keys is having a routine which is highly predicable, providing the learner with the expectation of success and the knowledge that they are not going to be blindsided by a deluge of teachable moments.
The stage has been set. The challenge is just right. The learner has the chance to utilise the skills that they have learnt to overcome appropriate difficulties and walk away feeling that "I can do this'.