10 Simple Steps to Teach Your Child to Read
We all know how hard it can be to get your kids reading. As a parent, you have the ability to have a major impact on your child’s education. That is why we have come up with 10 simple steps to help you ensure your kids are the best readers they can possibly be! Don’t worry; you do not need to be a professional teacher to use these techniques as they are all beginner-friendly. Check them out below!
1. Learn the Core Skills of Reading
Prior to teaching your child to read, you need to understand what the actual skills go into reading and how to develop them. These are the most important skills you should understand and focus on:
Decoding: Decoding is all about understanding sounds of different letters, stresses with the goal of pronouncing written words accurately.
Fluency: This refers to the ability to read quickly without making mistakes. Both silent and out loud reading fluency should be achieved.
Vocab: Vocab refers to how well your child can understand and use words.
Reading Comprehension: Reading comprehension is all about getting your child to instantly understand written phrases, paragraphs, and whole pieces.
Phonemic Awareness: Phonemic awareness refers to how well your child can make different sounds when pronouncing words. If you remember constantly practicing the “TH” sounds, that was phonemic awareness!
Phonics: Phonics refers to the knowledge of letter sounds within words and the ability to use it to understand unknown words.
2. Create Your Own Word Cards
One of the most effective ways to learn vocabulary and get children reading is to create word cards. You can write down different words on bright and colorful cards. Why not draw cool designs on them and include different stickers and maybe even glitter! If you want to increase the chance of your child recalling these different words and reading like a pro, get them to make the word cards with you. You could turn it into a fun Saturday activity!
After you have finished making your word cards, you should hang them around the house and randomly throughout the day ask your child to read them! Once your child has memorized those words, you can create new word cards and start the whole process again until your kid has a larger vocabulary than Shakespeare.
3. Make Your Home Filled With Writing
Don’t just hang up word cards all over your house! You also need to include a range of different writing material for your children to read. You can include weekly schedules, posters, quotes, to-do lists, and so much more.
Whenever your child walks past a piece of writing, you can ask them to read it to you and check their reading comprehension by asking them to describe what the writing means. When children constantly see written words, their brains start making connections, and they can process the words more quickly. Once your child makes a habit of reading, they quickly achieve fluency and will no longer need your help!
4. Read to Your Child
Reading to children is one of the most popular ways to teach them to read because it is simple and super effective. Children learning reading doesn’t have to be difficult or complex. Just pick up your child’s favorite book and start reading to them! You can get them involved by asking them to read some sentences or even whole pages when they get advanced enough. You can also check their understanding by asking them to summarize what happened and what certain words mean. The secret to this technique is consistency. You should make it a habit by reading to your child for 20 to 30 minutes before bed every night. Not only will your child improve their reading, but they will be calm before bed, ensuring they get a good night's sleep.
5. Set a Strong Reading Example
You do not just need to read for kids but should also read around kids. What we mean by this is you should be a good role model. If your child sees you regularly sitting around the house reading books or checking out the newspaper every morning with your coffee, they are more likely to copy your actions and start reading. Who doesn’t want to be like their dad or mum?
Your goal is to present reading as a healthy activity that everyone in your household is expected to do and enjoy. You can get your children involved in your own reading by explaining to them what you are reading and giving them the highlights. You should also always be excited when you talk about reading and tell your kids just how fun it can be to read an exciting novel or the latest comic book. Ideally, your child will become so curious that they will want to start reading without you having to force them.
6. Try Out Different Games
Children learn best when they are having fun and in a relaxed environment. Due to this, games are the perfect way to keep your child engaged and quickly boost their reading skills. Don’t worry, you don’t have to come with tricky games. Even the most simple ones can be a great way to show your kids how to read. For example, you can play “I Spy” or ask your child to see many animals they can name, or ask them to spell random words. You can turn it into a competition and give your kid a reward.
7. Listen to Audiobooks
Does your child quickly get tired of reading? Then audiobooks may be the perfect solution. You can easily pop on audiobooks on the drive to or from school, or just before bed. Audiobooks are highly effective at teaching children new words, learning how to pronounce different words and can really help them perfect tricky sounds and stresses. Nowadays, nearly every book has an easily accessible audiobook, so there is no excuse to simply play music when you are in the car! Instead, load up one of your child's favorite novels in audio format and enjoy it as a family. The Harry Potter series is ideal for listening to in an audiobook format and can make long car journeys go by in a flash.
8. Utilize a Range of Different Reading Material
Do you want your child to learn to read quickly? Then you can’t just rely on books! You need to get your kids exposed to as much written material as possible. Here are some sources you can use:
Magazines: The great thing about magazines is that they are on every topic imaginable, so you can easily find ones that your child will enjoy. Some great options include magazines on dinosaurs, toys, and cars. Magazines are also filled with pictures that help a child understand the context of the text.
Comic books: Did you know that millions of children read comic books around the world? With their amazing artwork, action-filled plots, and unforgettable characters, comic books are incredibly effective at getting your kid addicted to reading. With so many different choices your child is sure to find one superhero who they can relate to!
Newspapers: Why not keep your child informed about the local community, your city, and even the world by letting them check out different newspaper articles? While the language used in newspapers can be a bit complex, it is sometimes good to push your child and see just how much they can understand. Before you know it, your child will be debating you on different economic strategies and government legislation.
Poems: Reading poetry can really teach your child to appreciate the beauty of language. You should start with simple children’s poems, and then once they master those, you can start looking for more advanced poems. And then one day you will come home, and your child will be quoting T.S. Elliot!
If you use a variety of these different methods and play around with them until you find what works, your child won’t have any issues reading. When reading for kids, remember to get them involved and don’t just read to them.
9. Provide Positive Feedback
Are you still trying to figure out how to teach a child to read? Then don't hold back the positive feedback! Children respond exceptionally well to praise. Whenever your child pronounces a new word correctly, reads a sentence or paragraph well, or can recall the meaning of tricky words, let them know just how proud you are of them. Many children are shy about reading because they don’t want to make mistakes. To ensure your kid wants to read and is happy to take on different texts, reassure them and tell them how good they are at reading. You will be surprised what some simple praise can do to a child’s reading performance.
10. Create Your Own Reading Challenge
A great way to get kids reading is to turn reading into a game or challenge. For example, the challenge may be to read 20 pages of a book each night for a month. Or you could challenge your child to read a certain number of kid's books in a month. If your child completes the task, you can buy them that toy they have been begging you to get.
Competition is an awesome way to ensure your child is persistent with their reading and doesn’t get distracted. Competition can create a fire that your kid needs to take their reading seriously and make serious progress. These reading challenges work even better if your kid is competing with their siblings or one of their friends. It is not uncommon for kids to become obsessed with reading and start devouring lots of books to be the champion.
If you incorporate all of our methods into your reading teaching plan for your children, they will make huge and rapid progress. Remember that teaching your child to read takes time, but if you put in a bit of effort and are consistent, your kid will be an expert reader in no time!
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