If you want to know how to teach a child how to read, you’re not alone: many parents are choosing to address this issue before their kids start kindergarten in order to help them gain vital cognitive skills before they ever enter a classroom.
Reading is a fundamental life skill that all children will need to learn—and it’s a skill that will help them immensely in their cognitive development, mental development and their overall success in school and in life.
Some parents prefer to help their children who are learning how to read in school with supplemental materials and activities.
If you want to know some of the best things you can do for your child, consider the following tactics that will help improve your child’s ability to read and understand written text.
1. Put Words up Everywhere
Another relatively simple way that you can help a child learn how to read is to put up words everywhere around the home and other areas they will regularly encounter in their daily life. This will help develop your child’s reading skills and encourage them to make stronger connections between letters, the sounds the letters make, and the full blown words behind those sounds.
For instance, point out a sign in your home that says ‘CAT HOUSE.’ Ask them what sound the first letter of the word makes, then the second, and so on, until they are sounding the word out. You can also ask them to help you find words that rhyme with printed words in the home or words you find when you’re out and about.
Word cards are ways to help your children understand letters of the alphabet, the sounds they make, and how to combine those sounds to create words. Word cards for younger children should be made with words that have three sounds (for instance, “ram, sat, pig, sun, pot, and fin); as this is ideal for children who are just learning how to combine phonetic sounds into full words.
Word cards are useful both for children who aren’t yet learning how to read in school and children who are currently in the process of reading at school. For younger children who aren’t yet learning how to read in a school environment, you can focus on the sounds each letter makes more so than the letter itself.
3. Help your children memorize high frequency words
It is easy for children to become distracted when trying to frequently sound out words that are considered to be ‘high frequency’ words, or words that are commonly used in conversation.
Having to stop and analyze high frequency words can cause children to take longer when trying to sound out phrases or sentences, which can lead to frustration as your child feels they just aren’t “getting it.” For best results, help your child memorize these words on site—no more pesky security—and a much lessened risk for sticking around for me.
Here’s a video which provides a good example of what a reading session with your child should look like:
4. Know the 5 essential Components of Reading
It’s important for anyone who wants to know how to teach a child how to read that they understand the 5 essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency.
Phonemic awareness refers to a person’s ability to hear and then manipulate different sounds which occur in words. Phonics refers to the general connection between a letter and the sound it makes. Vocabulary refers to an understanding of what words mean, both in terms of a general definition and in terms of context.
Reading compression refers to being able to understand the meaning of various texts by examining them from multiple angles and taking important information into mind. Fluency refers to a person’s ability to read out loud with good accuracy, understanding and a relatively brisk pace.
When it comes to teaching a child how to read, one of the most important things to do is to make reading fun rather than a chore they ‘must’ do because they are in school. Letter magnets are a particularly popular method for teaching children to connect letters with the sounds they make and ultimately, what sounds the letters make when they are jumbled up together; the popularity of letter magnets lies in the fun, easygoing style of these sets which are a great option with younger children who prefer some fun mixed in with schooling.
6. Read regularly with your child
Reading regularly with your child is a vastly under-appreciated aspect of teaching children how to read. Reading a book (or two, or three!) to your child is beneficial for many reasons. Notably, reading books to children helps generate more interest in reading, especially if you select books that your child genuinely likes or if you let them pick out what they’d like to read.
Another benefit of regularly reading you’re your child is that children will learn how to understand and approach context within books in terms of the fate and motivation of various characters, learning how to handle sad moment or endings, and even increasing their ability to understand new and exciting woods.
If you do plan to read with your child, try not to cram it all in at bedtime—though there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a bedtime snack and listening while mom or dad reads a bedtime story, this type of sleepy reading isn’t always the best if you are looking for sets which are on sale.
Teaching a child how to learn to read can seem like a monumental task at first, but it is a task with an excellent goal: helping your child start on their path to becoming a better student and better all-around person in their life.
If you keep the above guide in mind when it comes time to teach your child how to read, you—and your future children—will have a much better experience learning how to read than simply throwing your child into kindergarten cold turkey.