Teaching Your Child to Read

Reading opens up a whole new world to kids.  They can go to strange and BOB Booksexotic places through the pages of a book.  They can learn about history and what others think the future will hold.  And they have incentive to turn off the TV! Here are five tips for teaching your child how to read and have fun at the same time:

1.  Kids learn about reading with their ears.  Read to a child every day.  Use different tones for the voices of each character.  The more exciting the story, the more interested they will be.  My kids loved to hear me read books that were far above their reading level, although not their comprehension level.  They loved the way I make the story come to life. 

As you read, let your kids look over the pictures and the words.  They may not know what the words are at that moment but you are setting them up to learn.  The more you read to them, the more words they can recognize by sound.


2.  Teach them the alphabet.  After all, words are made up of letters.  When they learn the alphabet they will begin to recognize letters within the words.  Use magnetic letters and the refrigerator as your blackboard.  Show your child each letter and say the name.  For lower-case letters, flash cards that show the upper and lower-case letters are good for letter recognition.

3.  In the early days of school, they used to call the book for reading with the letters in it a “primer”.  The third way to teach children how to read is through phonics.  Phonics teaches how letters are supposed to sound.  Instead of using flashcards for this, why not get creative and use items around the house.  When studying the sound for the letter “A”, pull an apple out of the refrigerator.  Finding objects around the house with the sounds familiarizes your child with the names of everything around them.

4.  Now it’s time to learn words.  You can watch shows like “Sesame Street” or “The Electric Company”.  These shows used fun characters to sound out the letters in words and bring them together as words.  Another way is to involve the entire family.  Give each person a few pieces of poster board.  Attach each piece to a different object around the house. 

Since your child is beginning to read, these objects should be one syllable words like mom, dog, cat, and dad.  On the poster board, write them with dashes between each letter, like this:  d-a-d.  Call out each sound with your child repeating after you.  Now, try to get them to put the sounds together and say the word.

5.  Now it’s time to give your child a book.  The last way to teach reading is to let them read it for themselves.  Start with a simple book with one syllable words.  Pictures will help kids with the words if they get stuck on a sound.  The colors in the book should be vibrant and full of life.  If you can find a pop-up book, that will be even better.  After they read, they can pull the paper lever and see the picture rise to life.

Reading is not the easiest thing in the world to teach.  But when kids are young their minds absorb things like a sponge.  Teaching them at this age is fun and they retain more information.  More help teaching kids letters:


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