10 Steps to Teaching Your Child to Read
Teaching children to read is not easy, but it can be a lot of fun. What is important in the beginning is to avoid making comparisons between one child and another, because each one accomplishes things in different time and speed. There are small children who at the age of three and a half already know how to read some words, while others of five years are at the same level, which causes the parents’ concern to believe that this delay could be very detrimental in their development.
It is not that the timing is critical, but we could improve the time in which the children learn basic words and start reading. It is important to mention that these tips have better results in children that show curiosity and desire to learn at an earlier age than the average. If the child is not curious about the letters, sounds or words that he hears and sees, maybe it is not the right moment yet. Or, if trying to introduce him to the subject feels indifferent, it would be better not to force his decisions and proceed to do different activities to gradually make him get interested and make the school a less challenging experience.
You do not want them to read as an obligation, where they have to do what we want, whenever we want and with a duration decide by us, because we will achieve the opposite effect: get them bored with reading or ending up rejecting books. Just as they are not forced to watch television, they should not be obliged to read.
1. The first step is lead by example.
Children learn a lot through observation. If there are few books at home or none of the members have a habit of reading, it is unlikely that they want to do so, because they will prefer to spend the time in the same activities that adults do every day. You should not insist that they do something that they do not see at home on a regular basis.
2. Have reading material of their interest.
If the father is fond of cars and wants his kids to read about cars when is not their favorite subject, they will not be interested in taking a book. The preference of children is evident at an early age, and you should work with that, whether they are dolls, animals, dinosaurs or some particular cartoon character. The amount of text in books for beginners is minimal, but you must start with something that catches their attention.
3. Keep the books at their disposal.
It is important that books away in a box, on the top of furniture or in a room where kids are not always allowed to enter. The living room or their room are perfect places to give them a chance to pick up a book whenever they like.
4. Know the alphabet
While the drawings and colors of the books captivate them, it is ideal that they gradually recognize the letters and their phoneme so that with time they understand that it is all about combining sounds to form words. The magnet letters (those that can stick to the refrigerator) can help them a lot to learn while playing.
Any time is ideal to induce a child to read because everything done like a game will captivate him. They can practice the sounds of letters with street signs or road signs that they know, such as stop, curve, speed, etc.
Just as they are not forced to watch television, they should not be obliged to read.
6. Ask questions
It is not a matter of testing them; the idea is to know their comprehension level in each reading and the meaning they get from the story. It could be the type questions: Do you think it was appropriate what the rabbit did this or that? Or which character did you like most? Followed with why? And with those brief questions, we will have more than enough.
7. Sort by genres
When your child is about five years old, he will be able to differentiate between fictional and real, so it will be possible to distinguish stories as children’s comedy or fantasy stories; this will allow him to remember the characteristics of each genre and possibly choose a favorite.
8. Show rhymes
Phonological activities are necessary to differentiate patterns of reading. So teaching him verses with rhymes and complementing them with songs where the child will hear words that he is already familiar with will be a fun experience.
9. Orthographic rules
It is important that he slowly learns the orthographic rules with the help of sounds to show him that a comma can make the difference when reading.” It is not necessary to dig deeper into explanations about the past, present or future tenses since they will learn that at school, but it will be helpful to get acquainted with such differences so that he does not start from scratch understanding the rules.
10. Always have fun.
Remember that at all times fun must be present, because when he starts regular school, he will learn about responsibility and schedules for activities. It does not matter if he had bad pronunciation or confuses similar words. The experience and a constant repetition will create lifelong learning in the language.
There is no magic or quick formula for children to learn reading. Also, there isn’t a time limit to make the children proficient readers. There are gifted kids with a natural inclination to studying since they are very young; There are also those who have to be motivated to take a book and others who are very interested but have some difficulties to learn. No child is better than another, and each one has a unique approach to learning. What counts a lot is the support, patience, and dedication of the parents.