We all know the importance of reading to your child and the importance of giving your child the love of reading. Reading improves concentration and vocabulary. It also helps them to develop an imagination and do better in school.
With all the benefits of reading you know that teaching your child to read and helping them find a love of reading is an important task for you to complete. How do you do it?
Well, in today’s post, I’m telling you how I’m teaching my 4 year old to read by letting him lead the way in learning.
When to Teach Your Child To Read
Teaching your child a love for reading starts as young as birth. Read to your child often from birth – about 4 years old. Between 4-5 your child will start reading on their own but will need a lot of help from you.
Some things will be read out of memorization of you reading the same books to them over and over. This is fine. When you read chances are you are recalling memories of words and their meanings in a sort of rapid fire way.
There are times when we come across words where we just don’t know them. We have to recall our memories of sounding out and using the process of elimination to figure out the meaning of a word. We also learned how to look up a word to find its meaning.
How To Teach Your Child To Read
When teaching your child to read there are two things you are teaching them. First, the process of sounding out the word and understanding it’s meaning. Then, you are teaching them to recall words they already know.
Breaking down the process of reading to this actually makes it super easy on you in knowing how to teach your child. So there are a few things you should be doing before you start the process of teaching your child to read.
Read Often To Them
Set aside dedicated reading time with your child. This could be 15-45 minutes a day of sitting down and reading a small book or two that your child picks.
I know life is busy and hectic so spend just 15 minutes, Monday through Friday, reading to your kid before bed. Then give them an hour on both Saturday and Sunday to really encouraging reading every day.
Point To The Words You’re Saying
As you are reading to them point to the word you are saying. Take it a step further and point to a corresponding image with the word. So if your book has an owl in it, briefly point to the word owl and the image of the owl while you are saying the word.
By reinforcing the word with the image and sound, your child is more likely to learn the word. This helps them make the correct associations with that word when they start reading.
Ask Them To Mimic
Now, while you are reading to them stop at nouns and verbs to ask your child to repeat the words themselves. So, “Little owl flies across the night sky.” Would actually be, “Little Owl … can you say Little owl?” “Little Owl,” you child should respond. “Yea, Little owl flies across the night sky.”
If your child decides to not mimic you that’s ok too, encourage – don’t force it.
Tips To Teaching Your Child To Read
Once you have been doing these three things daily and your child is about 4 or 5 years old you can start teaching them to read on their own. This is going to be a long process over several months and even years as your child continues to grow.
Being needed to help them read will be less and less over time. It’ll move from daily reading to them to helping them with a word here or there pretty quickly.
Sound Out The Words
The first step in your child’s learning how to read is teaching them the process of sounding out words. This is the hardest part of your process.
On your easel, chalkboard, or notebook right out the letters and match sounds. Go through the process with your child by explaining, “A makes an ahh or aye sound. Aye for apple or ahh for awesome.”
The hardest part of the process will come when putting letters together. This is the “Ch,” “Th,” “Sh,” sounds.
Once your child memorizes these combinations though your child will catch on quickly to the rest of it.
Memorizing Sight Words
Sight words are words like:
There are more and this is just a short list as an example. Sight words are those commonly used words in children. We encourage them to memorize these words as they often come up in the books they read and the language they use.
Teaching sight words is about teaching the phonetics, matching it to an object or action if possible, practicing writing them, and asking them to point them out as they read them.
Match Words To Objects
The next step is matching words to objects. “S-I-N-K is this,” point to the sink. “It also means fall to the bottom, like this,” drop a spoon into a sink filled with water. Then match the sentence. “The spoon sinks to the bottom of the sink.”
I’m sure your head is spinning a bit and you’re cursing the English language right now, I have these moments a lot lately.
Making the connection between words and objects and actions really reinforces the meaning of that word in their mind. This memorization gets tapped later as they are re-reading that book or come across those words again later.
Use Surrounding Words To Find Meaning
Once your child is reading completely on their own – probably by age 6 – they will come across words they don’t know the meaning of. This is where comprehension comes into play in reading.
We can read and read all day long but comprehension is the skill that you really want to build in reading.
When your child comes to you and asks what a word means that they read, ask about the context around that word. “Can you read me two sentences before it and two sentences after the word?”
Once they read that, ask them if they think they know what the word means. Most of the time they are going to be dead on with the meaning. If they are off explain the meaning of the word or pull up google on your phone and get the actual meaning.
This is a skill they will need to learn to do over the course of their entire life and will help them in school and work later in life.
Ask Them To Read With You
As your child is really into learning to read flip the script on the bedtime routine. Instead of you reading to them alone, ask them to read with you. Reading with you helps to reinforce the different sounds from different letter associations, plus the image, plus the memorization of different words.
Ask Them To Read To You
Once they are reading comfortably with you, they are getting the words right, they aren’t having issues, then you can have them read to you instead. This is the final stage of teaching your child to read.
This encourages them to take a nightly reading routine into a daily thing. Reading in bed is one of the best ways to get your child to calm down and fall asleep at night. It also gets them into the habit of reading daily.
Teaching Your Child To Read At Home
Teaching your child to read isn’t hard it’s a long process that takes about a year for your kid to really get a handle on it. However, if you stick with the process, continue teaching, and do it for a little bit every single day, your child will love reading through most of childhood and even into adulthood.
Visit local resale book stores and let your child choose books they want to read often to encourage they keep reading throughout their life. Or you can get the kindle for kids and they can have access to thousands of kid friendly books.
Are you excited to teach your child to read? Let me know in the comments. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite parenting and kids boards.
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