Teaching children to read is one of my favourite things to do and one of the most satisfying. Most children won’t start actually reading properly until around 5 or 6 years old, however it is never too early to start preparing your child. My little one is almost 3 and we are already doing little activities together to get him used to it. Here are a few ideas:
Read to your child
By reading together daily you can teach your child to love reading. Even from infancy when they don’t understand, it can create a strong bond between the two of you. From the day my boys were born I have read to them, I try to set aside some time each day to read a book or two together and they really enjoy it.
Learn the letter sounds
Instead of teaching your child the letter names, teach them the sounds. Of course eventually they will need to know the name of them however to read it is more important to know the sounds they make so then eventually they can put those sounds together to create a word.
Letters are everywhere you look, so when you can remember, point them out and ask your child what sound it makes.
Make learning fun
When we are doing arts and crafts at home I try to incorporate a learning activity such as colouring or decorating letters. I ask my son which animals start with that letter so it becomes like a game for him and he loves it. It helps the recognition of letters and what sounds they make by having to think of things that start with that letter.
Some words cannot be sounded out therefore they have to be memorised. These can be learned from an early age. Flashcards are good for this. You can play games such as word bingo, or snap to help with the recognition. They will learn the word the same way as they learn the letters or the names of certain things.
We haven’t yet got to this stage with my son, however with other children I have taught I have found that teaching similar words such as rhymes helps them see patterns when they read. That way when they learn one word, they then should remember it when they see another one similar. Eg. If they learn “cat” they will then know how to read “sat” or “hat” easily. Recognising rhyming words is a great language skill.
Be a good Example
One of the most important things is for yourself to be a good example. If your child sees you reading, then they will want to copy. Read together and show your child how enjoyable it is.
One thing I have learned over the years is that all children learn differently so what works for one child may not work for another. You may need to try a few different things and different methods. But like in all things, if you make learning fun then they will enjoy it and get the most out of it.
Written by Chontelle Bonfiglio