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33 Simple Tips How to Help Your Child Learn to Read

how to help your child learn to read
(Last Updated On: July 22, 2023)

How to help your child learn to read in some easy steps? The dawn of a new school year arrives, ushering in the daunting yet thrilling task of helping your child learn to read. Reading, a skill that unlocks the gateway to boundless knowledge, magnificent minds, thrilling theories, practical explanations, and imaginative journeys, holds the promise of so much more.

Parents often find themselves pondering the best approach to instill the invaluable skill of reading in their children—and rightfully so, as reading plays a pivotal role in shaping future academic success. Fascinatingly, a study even uncovers the intriguing connection between the reading proficiency of 7-year-olds and their income levels decades later!

Transforming your beloved offspring into enthusiastic bookworms should be a joyous and rewarding journey. Seeking insights from esteemed experts and accomplished authors, we present a compendium of practical and highly effective recommendations to nurture a love for reading among preschoolers and school-age students.

The concept of teaching reading to children is a powerful and transformative endeavor. Yet, at times, parents may encounter skepticism regarding early literacy instruction, with some suggesting that it could be detrimental. However, rest assured that introducing literacy to your children at a young age holds no negative consequences. In fact, there is a wealth of evidence spanning over a century, which unequivocally demonstrates the absence of harm in early teaching. On the contrary, an abundance of research attests to the countless benefits of reading to your young ones.

How to Help Your Child Learn to Read

So, how can you effectively guide your child on this path of literacy? Here are a few tried and tested suggestions that, with good humor and perseverance, can unlock a world of knowledge and opportunity hidden within the realm of the written word.

1. Dive into Sounds, Not Names

While children may readily recite the alphabet’s names, focusing on the sounds of each letter proves more beneficial. Learn the sound each letter makes, not just its name. This approach will help your child smoothly transition into blending sounds when learning to read.

2. Cultivate a Reading Culture at Home

Integrate reading seamlessly into your daily family life to instill a genuine love for this art. I vividly recall a treasured memory from my childhood when my mother mandated that I dedicate half an hour after lunch solely to reading. She would accompany me to the library to procure an assortment of books, effectively heralding a new and enriching chapter in my life as a lifelong reader.

Devote specific moments when the entire family, in unison, switches off the TV and the web, dedicating their undivided attention to the pleasurable pursuit of reading. And don’t forget to make it enjoyable! As an example, after my children completed reading a book adapted into a film, we would celebrate by making popcorn and enjoying the movie together. The crux of the matter lies in forging a consistent and joyous reading routine, effectively endowing your child with a lifelong passion for the written word.

3. Deviate from the A-Z Order

Avoid following the conventional A-Z order when teaching sounds. Instead, begin with a combination of consonants and vowels, like s, a, t, i, p, n (Jolly Phonics). These core sounds form the foundation for crafting simple two and three-letter words once mastered.

4. Embrace the Lower Case

Opt for lowercase letters when using flash cards. Reserve upper case letters for later, after lower case letters and their corresponding sounds have been assimilated. (Children typically recognize capital letters in their own names.)

This newfound reading prowess not only unlocks a gateway to a boundless realm of knowledge but also instills within them an unwavering confidence and an undying passion for an extraordinary lifelong adventure in reading as well as applying how to help your child learn to read.

5. Engage in Heartfelt Conversations with Your Kids

Last year, I had the pleasure of spending abundant time with our newborn granddaughter, Emily. I inundated her with language, even though she was “just a baby.” I conversed and sang to her about everything – her sparkling eyes, button-like nose, delicate ears, tiny mouth, and dainty fingers. I introduced her to the intricacies of her family tree – her loving parents and adoring older brother.

Engaging in these dialogues, I recounted her daily activities – yawning, slumbering, feeding, and burping. While some might have deemed my verbosity futile, deeming it unlikely for her to comprehend at such a tender age, I remained resolute in my approach. Reading and language share a profound connection, and if one aspires to acquire language, hearing it, and eventually speaking it, is an indispensable step.

Although some parents may feel hesitant or foolish when conversing with a baby or young child, empirical evidence attests to the significant benefits of exposing children to an array of words, thereby enhancing their literacy development.

6. Enchant Your Kids through Reading

The timeless wisdom of reading to your children may sound like a cliché, but it is undoubtedly a profoundly sound idea, especially when dealing with preschoolers. Among my colleagues, we affectionately refer to this practice as the “chicken soup” of reading education – a panacea for all reading-related concerns. We prescribe it liberally, for it carries abundant virtues. (Does it work? At the very least, it couldn’t hurt.)

Should a parent or caregiver face challenges in reading or being proficient in English, alternative methods, such as audiobooks, can be employed. However, for those well-versed in reading, sharing a captivating book or an enthralling story with a child is a delightful and effortless way to bolster their literacy skills. Research corroborates the benefits of this practice even for children as young as nine months old, suggesting that its effectiveness might extend even earlier than that age.

Immersing children in the magical world of stories acquaints them with a richer vocabulary than they typically encounter in the everyday conversations of adults, exerting positive influences on their language acumen, cognitive capacities, and subsequent achievements in literacy. Curious about what to read? A wealth of wonderful children’s books awaits at your local library, where you can revel in a trove of adventures. Alternatively, seek recommendations from children themselves through the Children’s Book Council website or explore the International Literacy Association Children’s Choices site.

7. Encourage Storytelling and Dictation

A splendid means of inculcating children with literacy is to embark on a journey of storytelling, allowing them to share their experiences or weave tales of their own. Here, we need not delve into the complexities of “Moby Dick.” A typical first story might entail simple phrases like “I like fish. I like my sister. I like grandpa.” As you jot down their narrative during dictation, take pleasure in reading it aloud to your child.

Pointing at the words during the reading process or when your child endeavors to read the story fosters familiarity and recognition of frequently used words like “I” or “like.” Over time, as your child becomes acquainted with some of these words, consider creating word cards to form a “word bank,” which can be utilized later during review sessions.

8. All Reading Matters

Open the doors wide to diverse reading materials, encompassing an array of genres like non-fiction, comics, graphic novels, magazines, and leaflets. In the realm of reading, every form holds its own unique value and worth.

9. Embrace the Local Library

Introduce your child to the enchanting realm of the library by obtaining a library card for them. This seemingly simple card unlocks a treasure trove of fantastic books, alongside the latest video games, blu-rays, and DVDs. Allow your child the freedom to select their literary pursuits, as this nurtures a profound connection with their unique interests.

10. Inquire and Engage

Sustain your child’s engagement in the narrative by peppering the reading experience with thought-provoking inquiries. Pose questions such as “Where did we halt the last time?”, “Can you vividly recount the unfolding events?”, and “What intriguing twists and turns do you anticipate in the story?” This interactive approach amplifies their engagement and comprehension.

11. Listen to Your Child Read

When your child begins bringing books home from school, invite her to read to you. In the event of choppy or imperfect reading, gently encourage her to read it again. Alternatively, you can read it to her, and then encourage her to attempt reading it independently. Extensive research confirms that repeated oral reading, even when conducted at home, effectively enhances students’ reading proficiency.

12. Cultivate a Passion for Writing

Literacy is a multifaceted realm encompassing both reading and writing. While maintaining a collection of books and magazines accessible to your child is a commendable practice, providing her with pencils, crayons, markers, and paper is equally beneficial. Encourage your child to engage in writing endeavors. One approach involves composing notes or short letters to her, sparking her interest and prompting her to pen responses in kind.

13. Foster Inquiry and Comprehension

When your child reads, encourage her to recount the story or relay the presented information. In the context of a story, inquire about the characters and the unfolding events. In the case of informational texts, elicit her explanations regarding the subject matter, its mechanisms, or constituent parts.

Reading involves more than merely deciphering words; it necessitates the ability to contemplate, assimilate, and retain ideas and occurrences. Enhancing reading comprehension skills at an early age with how to help your child learn to read effectively prepares her for tackling more complex texts in the future.

14. Embrace Opportune Reading

Seize every chance to read by ensuring a book or magazine is always at hand, catering to moments of waiting, be it at the doctor’s or dentist’s office. These snippets of time transform into enchanting opportunities to delve into the enthralling world of reading.

15. Instill Phonemic Awareness

At a young age, children might hear complete words without distinguishing the individual sounds within them. For instance, they may comprehend “dog” as a whole but fail to grasp the distinct phonemes “duh,” “aw,” and “guh.” Acquiring the ability to identify these phonemes is pivotal for becoming proficient readers. Engaging in language games with your child is an enjoyable means of honing their phonemic awareness.

For instance, try saying her name and then altering it by one phoneme: “Jen-Pen,” “Jen-Hen,” “Jen-Men.” Alternatively, you can break a word apart and play with its components, as in “chair… ch-ch-ch-air.” To explore further developmental milestones in language skills for children, consider following this link.

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16. Revel in Favorites, Repeatedly

Encourage your child to revisit the treasured books and poetic marvels that have captured their hearts. The act of re-reading nurtures fluency and confidence, enabling them to bask in the familiarity of cherished words.

17. Introduce Phonics (Letter Names and Sounds)

Proficiency in phonics, involving the knowledge of letter names and their corresponding sounds, is indispensable for reading and writing words. Kindergartens often incorporate letter teaching into their curriculum, and parents can effectively undertake this role as well. While the toy store website presents an astounding array of 282 products centered on letter names and 88 on letter sounds, ranging from ABC books and charts to blocks and magnet letters, you need not feel overwhelmed by the plethora of choices.

A simple pencil and paper suffice, and ample support resources are available to assist parents in nurturing their children’s phonics skills. The key lies in maintaining lessons brief and enjoyable, lasting no more than 5-10 minutes for young learners. Moreover, a profound comprehension of the diverse developmental stages of reading and writing skills proves invaluable in guiding your lessons and shaping your expectations.

18. Power of Rhyme and Repetition

Embark on captivating literary journeys by selecting books and poems adorned with rhymes and repeating words or phrases. These captivating literary elements entice children to joyfully join in and effortlessly commit the words to memory since you have learned how to help your child learn to read.

19. Make Reading a Regular Activity in Your Home

Integrate reading seamlessly into your daily life, and your children will come to cherish it. Create designated times when everyone turns off the TV and the web, focusing solely on reading. Make it a fun experience, a time of enjoyment for the entire family. By incorporating reading into your family routine, you foster a lifelong love for the written word in your children, a gift that will accompany them on their journey through life.

20. Ignite Interest with Relevant Reads

Facilitate your child in discovering the perfect book tailored precisely to their burgeoning interests. Whether it’s captivating fiction, enthralling poetry, engrossing comic books, or enlightening non-fiction, the key is to kindle the flames of curiosity and passion for reading.

21. Only teaching reading will help

Embracing the endeavor of teaching reading to children bears immeasurable benefits. Although some may express concerns about early instruction, rest assured that you simply can’t introduce literacy too soon. In my personal experience, I began reading to my own children on the very days of their birth!

Debunking the notion of “dangers of early teaching” has been the focus of scholarly investigations spanning over a century, and the results unequivocally refute any claims of harm. On the contrary, an extensive body of research elucidates the myriad advantages of reading to your little ones during their formative years.

22. Immerse Books in Family Life

Craft a haven of literature within the confines of your home by ensuring an abundant supply of books at your fingertips. This thoughtful arrangement ensures that you and your children are always primed for delightful reading adventures, even if you can spare merely ten minutes by applying how to help your child learn to read.

23. Inquire and Engage

Keep your child wholly engrossed in the narrative by peppering the reading experience with thought-provoking inquiries. Pose questions like “Where did we halt the last time?”, “Can you vividly recount the unfolding events?”, and “What intriguing twists and turns do you anticipate in the story?” This interactive approach amplifies their engagement and comprehension.

24. Embrace Opportune Reading

Seize every chance to read by ensuring a book or magazine is always at hand, catering to moments of waiting, be it at the doctor’s or dentist’s office. These snippets of time transform into enchanting opportunities to delve into the enthralling world of reading.

25. Teaching Literacy: No Different from Other Skills

No doctoral degree is requisite to raise a happy, healthy, and intellectually astute child. Throughout the annals of time, parents have adeptly taught their offspring essential life skills such as dining with a spoon, potty training, practicing politeness, and refraining from nose-picking. These valuable lessons can be imparted with either gentility and warmth or transformed into onerous tasks marred by distress.

Regrettably, adopting an unpleasant approach – entailing yelling, punishing, or pressuring – proves unfruitful and engenders frustration for all parties involved. This principle pertains to teaching literacy as well. Should you present an 18-month-old with a book and find their interest waning, merely set it aside and revisit it later. Similarly, if your child endeavors to write her name, yielding a playful “D” that appears a tad askew, fret not. Relinquish any pressure, hassles, or burdens. Embrace the journey, savor it, and encourage your child to do the same.

26. Delight in Bedtime Stories

Devote cherished moments to reading with your little ones at bedtime, cherishing the magical ritual that bids adieu to the day. This heartwarming tradition offers a delightful way to foster cherished bonds with your children.

27. Harness the Enchanting Power of Rhyme and Repetition

Embark on captivating literary journeys by selecting books and poems adorned with rhymes and repeating words or phrases. These captivating literary elements entice children to joyfully join in and effortlessly commit the words to memory.

28. Articulate with Precision

When introducing a sound, articulate it clearly, exaggerate your mouth movements, and encourage your child to do the same. Some sounds, such as ‘m’ and ‘n’, may seem similar, but emphasizing distinct mouth and tongue movements will help your child differentiate between them.

29. No Tails for Sounds

Resist elongating the end of sounds; for instance, turning ‘t’ into ‘ter’ or ‘p’ into ‘per.’ Keeping each sound short with a stunted tail facilitates blending and enhances your child’s reading fluency.

By adhering to this invaluable insight, you will lay the firm groundwork for your child’s wondrous reading journey, forging a profound connection to the written word. Before long, you’ll bear witness to your child identifying letters and sounds in their surroundings, be it on signs, labels, or beyond.

30. Flash Cards Foster Fluency

Introduce one new sound per day, up to five days a week, while recapping those previously learned. Keeping these sessions brief and engaging will maintain your child’s motivation and eagerness to learn, with sessions not exceeding ten minutes a day.

28. Read without the Pressure of Writing

Remember, reading and writing are distinct skills. Your child need not write what they read during these short, sharp reading sessions. However, you may leave flashcards for them to play with or copy during their independent play.

31. Master the Art of Blending

Once your child has learned four or five sounds and can recognize and say them upon seeing a corresponding flash card, introduce blending. Lay two cards down and sound out the word they create. For example, “it” would be sounded separately as “i… t” and then blended together to form the word “it.” Engage in blending games where you robotically sound out a word and ask your child to identify it.

32. Embrace Nonsense for Fun

Venture into the realm of “nonsense” words, like those found in “Jabberwocky.” Reading such words tests your child’s grasp of individual sounds, stimulates imagination, and infuses an element of fun and humor into the reading process.

33. Revel in the Adventure of Reading

Reading is an enthralling journey, so make learning sounds enjoyable. Utilize different voices, tones, and pitches when enunciating sounds. Employ puppets to speak for you, and let imagination pave the way for an easier and more delightful reading journey.

Final thought

Following these tips will pave the way for your child’s reading adventure, heightening their awareness of the written word. In short, ten-minute sessions, you’ll observe your child identifying letters and sounds in the environment—on shop signs, road signs, and labels by learning how to help your child learn to read. This is the essence of reading for meaning, where the world around them will gradually make more sense as their confidence, motivation, and abilities blossom.

33 Simple Tips How to Help Your Child Learn to Read

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