The task of teaching your kids to read can seem like an overwhelming responsibility. What age do you begin? Where do you even start? While methods of how to teach kids to read vary from child to child, these tips may give you someplace to start.
1. Read Out Loud
One of the best ways to teach your children to read doesn’t actually require them to read at all. Instead, it entails reading out loud to your kids. You can begin doing this from the very first time you hold them in your arms. Doing so will allow them to tune into the sound of your voice, which will establish a special bond between you and your baby. This practice helps children form a positive association with reading all the way into adulthood.
2. Choose Engaging Books
Kids have notoriously short attention spans, so reading them a book may present a bit of a challenge, especially if your children are very young. Thus, it’s best to read books that are age-appropriate and spark interest. If the storyline is difficult to follow or your little ones find it boring, they’ll likely disengage. Of course, if your children don’t love books, they won’t want to read. Instill in them a love for both books and reading by choosing stories they’ll enjoy.
3. Ask Questions
As you read, ask your kids questions about the plot and characters. This step will further encourage engagement and ensure they’re comprehending the story. While learning to pronounce words on a page is important, comprehension is even more vital. If a child can read perfectly and still can’t recall what they’ve read, they haven’t yet mastered the practice. Commit yourself to helping your kids interact with the book and better understand its meaning.
4. Be a Good Role Model
Your children’s interest books can wane if they don’t see reading as a common thing at home. Therefore, it’s a good idea to set an example for your kids. Pick up a cookbook, the Bible or your favorite fiction novel and settle in for a good read. Establish quiet time each night to allow yourself time to read — and the opportunity for your little ones to see it. Even just a few minutes a day can be effective.
5. Identify Letters and Sounds
Once you notice your children understand what they’re reading, you may begin to help them recognize letters within words. Most kids start to do this between ages two and three. They’re also capable of learning the alphabet before starting kindergarten. Thus, it’s best to encourage them to learn letters and their corresponding sounds beforehand. Practicing at an early age will create a solid foundation for more learning.
6. Play Word Games
When you have downtime in the car or at the grocery store, try playing word games with your children. Begin by asking questions like what a certain sound a letter makes or what words rhyme with cat. Keep it simple and praise your child anytime they correctly answer. Help them sound words out, too. This activity will make learning more of a fun game rather than a chore.
7. Use Technology
Nearly half of all children now have their own tablet and, if your kids fall into this category, it’s time to start using this technology to your advantage. Motivate them to learn how to read with fun virtual games. Search the app store for software with glowing reviews and test it out yourself before setting up an account for your children. Just like verbal word games, using technology to learn can make reading more enjoyable for little ones.
8. Sound It Out
Reading to your child is just the beginning. Once your children can match words with pictures and recognize letters and the sounds that go with them, they can begin reading out loud to you. Start with simple words with two or three letters. Then, increase the length as they progress. Throw in a few trickier words here and there to keep them on their toes — like hour, where the h is silent.
9. Modify Your Technique
What works best for your sister’s kid might not work for yours. Thus, the only way to effectively teach your children is to shape your technique to their learning styles. For example, if your daughter is a visual learner, try using more pictures instead of verbal word games. If your son learns by listening, you might have him read along with an audiobook. In the end, they’ll grow and learn just like other kids, even if the process looks different.
10. Practice Patience
Above all, it’s important to remember your children are learning a new language. It’s the first time they’re seeing letters, sounding out words and associating them with real objects. It’s only natural for your kids to struggle a bit along the way. Be patient and keep in mind that teaching and learning is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time and be encouraging, and your children will be avid readers before you know it.
Teach Your Kids to Read With These Tips
Do you want your child to become a wordsmith? Instill in them the love of reading with these great tips.