Teaching your child to read is undoubtedly one of the greatest passions that any parent can ever enjoy. This is because parents need to bring up their children in a literate environment so that the children can develop a positive attitude towards reading. Children who start reading right from a young age tend to have sharp minds and a very good mental comprehension. And below, you will find some really great tips on how to teach your child to read. (See other parenting resources)
1. Read stories and short write-ups to your child
Reading in children is a process that starts at infancy. As such, you should read stories to your child right from a young age. This not only makes her love reading books but also enables you to bond with your baby more. It is worth noting that enjoyment in reading and listening is one of the earliest predictors of successful reading in children. If your child does not seem to enjoy reading, then he/she might have a hard time adapting to learning in school.
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2. Ask questions
When reading a story to your child, you should ask him/her questions as a way of encouraging the child to interact and understand the book better. Asking questions also helps the child have a good comprehension of what you are reading to them. Additionally, asking questions also helps the child to develop great fluency when reading by themselves.
3. Be a good example
Irrespective of how much your child is into reading, their fascination and interest in reading will dwindle away quickly if they do not see you reading. Therefore, you need to lead by example by letting your child see you reading from time to time. There are a lot of useful and resourceful materials that you can read including but not limited to magazines, cookbooks, religious books like the bible, novels, and other materials. Ideally, you should only engage in constructive reading by sticking to materials that add value to you.
4. Use everyday resources
You can use day-to-day resources such as toys and educational games to teach your child how to read. These could include self-drawn posters, handmade index cards or video games and computer programs for young children. The most fascinating thing about using everyday resources is that children interact with these resources quite often and as such, the resources are able to strengthen the growing literacy of the child incredibly.
5.Let the child practice decoding
Decoding is the sounding out of words by child by reading a word while making/producing the sound of each of the individual letters in the word as opposed to reading the word at once. This form of reading is divided into two parts: reading/decoding the word and comprehending the word’s meaning.
You should not expect the child to comprehend and understand words instantly but focus on enabling them to decode and sound out the individual letters in the words. You need not be worried if your child seems rigid when decoding words as weak auditory skills and regional accents can affect how children sound out words.
6. Do not mind about grammar
Children, particularly those in pre-school, kindergarten, and first-grade seem to be very concrete in their thinking and are usually unable to handle complex concepts. However, as time progresses, the mastery of grammar and pronunciation improves gradually in children. In the first stages of reading, your main focus should be mostly on the general skill of reading which involves decoding new words and storing them in the memory for fluency purposes.
7. Using picture books
Picture books are very important in teaching children how to read, particularly for children with difficulties in decoding words. The illustrations in these books make it possible for children with reading difficulties to comprehend words easily. It is also worth noting that children tend to grasp and comprehend pictures better than words. Therefore, a child may be able to recognize words easily based on pictures than if they were reading the words plainly without the guidance of the pictures.
8. Increase the collection on children books at home
Let your children be exposed to as many books as possible. This increases their knowledge base by enabling them access different learning materials from a large collection of children books. However, before adding new books to your home library collection, you need to ensure that the child has understood the books well and is able to decode the books correctly.
Some children may take longer to learn how to read while others may take a shorter time. Whichever the case, you should only change your child’s library collection after he/she has fully understood the books they are reading at that time.
9. Use sight words
Sight words are used in teaching children to read words in the written language that are difficult to sound out phonetically as they do not follow phonics rules. As such, these words tend to be quite hard for children to read correctly and therefore need to be memorized. However, you need not encourage your child to memorize a lot of words as memorizing uses the least cognitive process level. With time, as the understanding and comprehension of difficult words improves, you can discourage the child from memorizing words.
10. Encourage your child
Encouragement goes a long way in motivating and influencing positivity in your child as he/she is learning to read especially if they are experiencing difficulties. Encourage your child to develop a reading habit and find fun in reading.
Make reading books easily accessible to your child and locate the books in a place he/she can easily retrieve even when you are not around. It is advisable to keep children books in play-areas for the child to associate reading with play activities. This helps in enhancing their interest in reading and makes them eager to learn how to pronounce words.
When teaching your child to read, you should do more than helping him to know how to read. You should introduce him/her to vocabularies and phrases that will help build their knowledge base. While teaching the child how to read, you can use the opportunity to instill organizational skills in the child by encouraging them to place the books back in the shelf/library after every reading session.
Further reading and great resources: