One of the best things that you can give your child is a good educational foundation. It will help create a pathway for them to explore the world with confidence and passion.
According to a study done by the Journal of Education and Developmental Psychology in 2017, about 85% say that early child reading is important to academic success.
They rated the importance “Excellent” or “Very Good”, this proved to be higher compared to the 12% who did not learn how to read until the age of 6.
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is a research organization that focuses on reading statistics.
Their recent research findings show how reading is the most essential foundation to a child’s holistic development.
Okay, before your start buying the whole Harry Potter set, here are ways to help you teach your child the basics of reading:
- Set a Reading Environment
Child learning is mostly effective by modeling. Yes, you read it right. Walk the talk!
Children between the ages of 3 and 7 years will learn things fast when they observe it. They copy and say things that they usually see.
That’s why you are sometimes surprised when you hear your child mutter new words that you haven’t taught them yet.
Maybe they heard it on TV, or it’s something that they caught from one of their cartoon’s videos during their ‘screen time’.
So, how do you create an environment that promotes reading?
Here are simple steps to get you started:
- Set up a dedicated space. Choose a free space in your house that will be a dedicated learning area. It should have visual cues that will condition your child that — “this is the reading place”.
- Include learning conducive materials. These tools will train your child’s brain that when he or she needs books, this is the place where one can be found.
- Use visually appealing materials. Make sure to include enjoyable books for your child; such as story books with huge images, pop-up books and children’s bed time story books.
- Install puzzle mats. This will add more comfort and fun to your child’s reading experience
- Use a table and a lamp in the reading space. You can use it as your own reading space as well.
Switch on the lamp before reading and switch it off to signal that you are done reading for the day.
This will help form an observable habit that your child can imitate as they learn to create their own reading routine.
- Use Play!
Remember that play is part of the child’s learning experience, it’s one way to start them in reading.
- Try Role-playing. It is one of the best teaching methods to model a behavior that you want to teach a child.
Notice how your child learned how to use the cooking play set without having to teach how it works. It’s the same for reading!
Play is one of the best ways to introduce a concept to a child. They learn in a fun and easy way.
You can play pretend library wherein you can be either the librarian or the library goer.
- Play nomination games. Take turns on who will choose the book that you will read together.
You can lay books on a table or on the mat. Show him or her the covers and have your child choose the book. Then, flip over the book and let your child guess what they chose earlier, like a memory game.
This will also build up the excitement to read!
In some days, you can also take turns on “who will flip the pages” it will involve the child in the physical and mental aspects of the learning process.
- Read with them and Read to them, regularly.
- Read with your child. Doing it together will not only help you get the job done, it will also create an atmosphere of trust for your child.
Teaching the basics of learning is only half the task. Make sure that you guide your child by reading with them so they can stay on track.
Reading with them as they navigate the principles of reading will make them feel that they can be comfortable in following instructions.
- Read at bed time. You don’t want to overwhelm your child with too much reading at a high pace.
A good interval of teaching how to read and reading stories to your child will help create a healthy balance of learning first-hand and passive learning.
- Read together. At ages 5 to 7, children are mostly basic readers already.
You can sit together and explore books and other reading materials individually.
(Make sure to screen the content of the materials that they will have access to.)
You can allow your child to self-read while you do the same.
It’s best to ask them to read aloud so you can help in correcting pronunciations and understanding new words.
- Learn and Use the Fundamental Techniques in Child Reading
After setting the environment and creating the reading routine, you can now do the proper techniques to teach it:
Pre-reading Behavioral Cues
Your child knew the Nickelodeon logo even before they’ve learned how to read it.
It’s the same for reading.
- Show them the whole book first. Make them appreciate the packaging, the front cover, the table of contents if there is any.
- Sound discrimination is also part of the phase. A line in a book that says Sky is sending Nikki a letter can be read as, Ssssssky is ssssending Nikki a letter… emphasizing the letter S sound.
This can be taught in different ways. You don’t need to teach them in alphabetical order.
- Recognizing letters and identifying the sounds. This is more important than the correct order.
- Use clay to build letters. Make them copy certain letters by using flash cards or by drawing them.
- Remember to incorporate many memorization techniques. Your child cannot memorize a letter and its sound by using one technique alone.
- You can use a three-letter word chart and start reading it with your child.
It will be best if the sample word will have an image on the side.
For example, the word C-A-T can be separated by dashes while an image of the cat sits on the side.
Slowly read the sounds CCC—AAAAA—TTTTT.
Point to the image and ask your child what that image is.
As you get the response, make sure to read the word again, slowly, and remember to point to the letters, slide it until you finish the word.
You can now move on to adding more words with similar sounds.
Create a list of words and make sure that you put in some fun by including images or colorful texts.
Now, you can include H-A-T, M-A-T and B-A-T, in the exercise that you used for C-A-T and use the same for different family words.
This is one of the most important parts of your child’s learning experience.
- After reading a sentence or a paragraph, make sure to do some pauses and ask your child what he or she thinks.
- Ask questions about the characters.
- Help them to understand the story by guiding them in reading the same sentence until it becomes clear.
- Give your own opinions about the topics and make sure to explain it.
- Always remember to emphasize the letter sounds as you read along.
- Make Sure That Your Child Can Keep Up
You need to keep in mind that there are a few things that you should be aware of as you get your child started in reading.
Be keen on observing how your child is responding to your reading activities.
- Can the child pick up the pace?
- Does the child get frustrated easily?
- Does the child lose interest quickly?
- Does your effort produce productive results?
If your answered YES to questions 1 to 3, and did not get productive results for over a month, you might want to consider consulting a professional.
These could be early signs of a reading disorder.
It may seem disheartening to keep on with the task. But don’t give up easily.
There are plenty of resources and reading centers that can help you and your child to cope.
You can find a reading tutorial center within your community or consult with a neuro-developmental specialist to know your options.
Remember that these disorders can be treated when diagnosed early.
Did you know that Jennifer Aniston, yes, Rachel Green from F.R.I.E.N.D.S had dyslexia and did not know it until she was 20?
She managed to have a great acting career with a ton of script to memorize.
If she can do it, your child can too! Just put in the work by educating yourself and knowing how to assist your child. Do it with the best care and love that your can give.
Your child will surely get through it and learn how to be an independent reader.
Once you’ve managed to get your child to read three to four letter words. You can help to advance their skills gradually by introducing Phonic Skills.
That way, they can start to read words with blends, diagraphs and other glued sounds with combined consonants and vowels.
Teaching a child how to read can help create an emotional bond between a parent and a child, as well as a bond between an educator and a student.
Young minds are elastic, they can download information easily.
That is, of course not a one-size-fits-all thing for every child.
Don’t get frustrated if the other kids learn reading faster. Even kids have different learning curves!
Reading will help your child to gain confidence in developing interpersonal relationships and psychological awareness of their surroundings.
You just have to be persevering and know that your child will eventually master the art of reading.
That’s how we all learned it anyway, right?