How to Teach a Child to Read
Reading is a valuable life skill. It helps to improve your ability to communicate, expand your vocabulary and develop your social skills. And for a child, it is particularly valuable. Reading at an early age accelerates the development of these skills and can put your child one step ahead in the classroom.
Kids will develop most of their reading skills at school. However, as a parent there are plenty of things you can do to supplement their learning. Here are some simple, actionable tips you can follow to teach your child to read outside of the classroom.
Track words as you’re reading
Kids start developing their vocabulary from a young age – but it will take a little longer until they can connect spoken words to written words. To help them do this, read each word aloud whilst you’re reading with them and use your finger to track where you are on the page. That way they can start to see what words look like on a page and start to understand how they are pronounced.
Work on pronunciation
Reading aloud with your kids is also beneficial because it’s a chance for them to work on their pronunciation. This is even more valuable if your child can see the words on the page. It helps them to understand pronunciation patterns and letter sounds in words.
Develop their comprehension skills
Being able to process information and place it in a wider context is a big part of learning how to read. Your children will quickly develop their reading skills if they can, for example, understand a story as a series of connected events, rather than a jumble of words and images. To do this, encourage your child to explain what just happened in a story, and predict what they think will happen next. You could also ask them about specific characters and which ones they like or don’t like. All of this is helping your kids to place their reading in context and improve their comprehension skills.
Make learning fun
Whenever you do read with your kids, making it fun is ultra important. There’s no use in forcing them to read about things they’re not interested in, reading for long periods of time or trying to read together when they’re not in the mood. Follow their interests by letting them choose what to read, and try doing the activity in short, sharp, fun bursts. Look out to see if they’re starting to tire of reading and cut the activity short if necessary.
Help them out when they’re struggling
If you notice your kids struggling with particular words, help them out by spelling out the constituent parts of each word. Break each word down into digestible phonemes, and encourage them to repeat each one after you. This further reinforces the link between speaking and writing. It also eliminates any frustration your child may have at not being able to say a particular word.
Supplement their learning with non fiction books
Your kids will bring a lot of books home with them from school, but it’s a good idea to introduce some non-school books into the equation too. The My First Discoveries range of non fiction books for children teach them about a variety of topics using beautiful illustrations, interactive features and explanatory text. And because they’re not school books, it helps to draw a distinction between reading at home and reading at school. This will help them to see reading as a fun, family activity and disassociate it from schoolwork.