How To Teach My Child How To Read
Before you landed on this page, you probably Googled “how to teach my child how to read.” Well, there are many things that you can do as a parent to facilitate the learning process.
Reading is a vital part of any child’s education, and it can often be one of the most frustrating skills to learn. However, with the proper surroundings and enough practice, any child can learn to read at a high level, even if some develop the skills a little bit later in life than others.
While their teachers are extremely important in their development, they will look to you for practice, advice, and motivation to continue to push them along in their journey towards becoming excellent readers.
If you are committed to helping your child reach their full potential as a reader, follow some of the steps below and you’ll notice surprising development and improvement.
1. Start with the alphabet early
The letters of the alphabet are the core building blocks of our language, so it’s important that your child gets acquainted with the alphabet from a young age.
You should use visual as well as aural cues, showing your child each letter of the alphabet as you sound out the noise that it makes when it is read.
Teach your child all of the sounds that each letter makes, and give them examples of words that start with the letters so that they can begin to develop an association for each sound.
Singing the alphabet song is a great way to familiarize your child with all of the letters of the alphabet, and it offers a fun and catchy way for them to learn.
While singing, you can stop and show your child the letters on a page, and even guide them in drawing the letters with a crayon. The more they repeat the alphabet and see the associated visual cues, the more it will become second nature for them to understand the sounds that each letter makes.
2. Start small and work your way up
When your child begins to understand the sounds of individual letters, you can start to introduce short, monosyllabic words and see if they can blend the sounds together.
Words like “on” and “in” are excellent starters because they use the basic sounds of the letters without adding some of the more difficult nuances that compound words bring with them.
Once they can identify these words and understand how the letters work together, you can introduce rhyming words with a few more letters to expand their vocabulary.
For example, for the word “in,” you can add single letters to the beginning to change the entire meaning. Bin, Tin, Win, and Pin are just some examples of creating an entirely new word by adding only a single letter and thus one extra noise that your child can blend with the previous sound.
As your child becomes more adept at reading the 3-letter words, you can slowly introduce 4 and 5-letter words, and even help them to learn some of the more compound sounds such as “ch” and “th,” although that may take some more time and is likely to happy further down the road.
For additional support, here’s a video which reveals how to teach your child to read properly:
3. Don’t neglect structure and format
Children do not inherently understand that reading (at least in standard English) happens from left to right and top to bottom.
It is up to you to inform them of this, and to start at the top left of the page and show them that they should read one line at a time, moving from left to right.
This may seem basic, but children need practice and repetition to pick up on this technique and to begin to do it naturally.
You can also place emphasis on the fact that books begin at the first page, just after the cover, and that they continue naturally by turning pages and reading the other sides.
Again, this is something that comes naturally to adults, but eager children may just start flipping through pages to find those that look interesting for them to read. It’s fine to learn random words to help with the basics, but it will be important for the child to understand the order of a book for more advanced reading in the future.
4. Use songs, rhymes, and entertainment to build interest
While children are often excited to learn to read, doing so straight out of a book can get dry and repetitive for them.
Kids love to sing and play games, so utilize additional, complementary songs to the ABCs as well as things like poems and nursery rhymes.
As they learn the words in the songs you can show them pictures and letters so that they begin build their associative skills.
Simple games are also a fantastic way to build up your child’s ability to understand letters and words. Pick out certain easy words and ask your child what letter they might start with.
Continue to encourage them, even when they make mistakes. This will help them to differentiate different letters that may have similar sounds (like b and p).
5. Keep words and letters around the house
The more exposure your child has to reading, the faster he or she will learn. Always have books available around the house, and put up artwork that has words.
You can even keep letter magnets on the fridge – these are a great tool for facilitating games and keeping your child engaged with world-building.
When your child sees letters and words at every turn, he will be more likely to associate them with their corresponding sounds, and this routine will help reading to come more naturally.
6. Stay Consistent
When it comes to education of any sort, consistency is key. Your child should be exposed to reading on a daily basis, even if only for a bedtime stories on certain days when life may get a little hectic.
When reading stories to your child, keep him or her engaged by asking questions about the book as well as helping them to sound out words and point out letters.
The more they build their comprehension skills and phonemic awareness, the more prepared they will be to tackle difficult books in the future.