in that they all want to become readers, eager to open that important
door to independent learning.
Children are different when it comes to the when, why, how, and what
works best when it comes to reading.
By understanding and knowing how to work with these differences,
parents can prepare the proper and most direct road to reading
proficiency and ensure that your child has a lifelong enjoyment of the
Your six month-old baby didn't show any signs of possessing the
preliminary skills necessary to put on their shoes, so you didn't waste
time and energy trying to teach them how.
Instead, you patiently helped
them gain the coordination and waited until they had a good chance to
succeed before showing them how to do this themselves, right?
Well, the same principle applies when determining if your child is ready
to start learning to read.
The age at which a child is ready to
read can vary dramatically.
Children can start from the age of three
years old on up to eleven years old and beyond, but generally reading
occurs between the age of four and ten years old.
The age of readiness or desire to read can be easily determined by
paying attention to the clues that children freely provide.
signs of reading readiness:
Your child pretends to read
Your child maintains phonemic awareness or knows the sounds that
You notice your child takes interest in the environments written words
on street signs, cereal boxes, TV, magazines, flyers, books, etc.
Your child looks at pictures and tells a story or repeats a known story
in her own words
If your child can add the missing word to an incomplete sentence
If they can define or give the meaning of simple words
If they use left to-right progression
If they can pronounce their own first and last names
If they can print their name
Child Want to Read?
As an adult, you most likely would not spend hours trying to learn
something that you have no interest in simply because someone told you
that you “have to” learn it, right?
Children are no
This is why it is very important that we help children find
reasons why they should learn to read.
Most children will quickly learn how to read once they find a good
reason to do so.
Maybe your child desires to hear more stories than you
could possibly find time to read to them.
Or maybe they want to learn
how to play a game, or use the computer.
What ever it is, helping your
child find reasons to read is just as important as the reading itself.
Be sure to provide daily examples of the many motivations to begin
Talk with your child about why you are reading and explain to
them the opportunities that await them when they can read.
To understand how to play a new game (learning how-to)
To learn more about the ocean (a way to get information and news)
To write a letter to Grandma (personal communication)
To be able to read great stories (enjoyment)
help them to read?
It has long been debated which approach is best to use when teaching a
child to read.
Some educator’s stand strongly by the Phonics
approach and others use the language approach.
“Battle” can be put to rest with the results of two
decades of research on the “Best Way to Learn How to
Read”, funded by the National Institute of Health.
Researchers at the National Institute of Health discovered that there
are three important aspects of reading.
Part 1: Phonemic awareness, or learning the individual sounds that
constitute a language, for example, "buh" as
the sound of
Part 2: Phonics, or the letter-sound relationships available in the
Part 3: Exposure to the meaning of the written word by reading to the
child as well as having the child begin to
All three of these parts are very important building blocks when teaching a child
to read as each piece is necessary to support the
With phonemic awareness as the first building block (Part 1), a
child can begin to piece together words in books. Add a helpful person
by their side and they will begin to ask questions, which lets you know
that they are at the "phonics phase” (Part 1).
Now is the
time to point out important clues, such as how letter sounds blend, how
an "e" at the end of a word changes a vowel sound from short to long,
or how some consonants have more than one sound.
You can also show them
upper and lower case letters.
It is also important at this time to show
them the eighteen frequently used words best learned by sight.
Remember, through it all keep reading to your child to include exposure
to meaning, the equally important (Part 3).
Here are some
tips to get your child
interested in reading:
Read aloud to your child from books, but also mail, instruction
booklets, grocery lists, etc. (and don't stop even when your child can
Take turns "drawing" a letter on each other's back with your fingers;
guess what it is, tell them what sound it makes
Encourage hands-on play with magnetic letters and sponge letters in
bath; sound out the nonsense words your child creates with them
Show them how fun it is to trace letters with crayons or colored
Cut out letters from different types of paper; make some
Play word games like Hangman, Junior Scrabble, Boggle, ABC Bingo, word
searches, or make up you own
game asking them: "What begins
‘buh?” or “What ends with ‘guh?"
Write a single letter on some Post-It notes and make it into a game
having your child stick them on everything beginning with that letter
Pick a "sight word of the day," then have your child call it out every
time you find it in a story
Leave fun engaging looking books around the house and car for your
child to find and pick up
Provide a quiet period when you both get you favorite book and go off
to read alone
Get cozy! Or make it an adventure for them.
Read to them at night under
a blanket with a flashlight, or read them a adventure story outside in
a play tent.
great products to get started with?
Maintaining interest and encouraging practice is very important, as
your child needs plenty of opportunity to read whatever captures their
attention, be it comic books, Dr. Seuss, or the newspaper's sports
Get your child their very own library card and visit the library
weekly, allowing them to choose their own books, supplemented by others
you pick out.
Order a kids magazine subscription or get them a reading
Make sure whatever they are reading is at the appropriate
level to ensure success and reduce frustration. Continue to read
to them, reading more difficult things as this will help to
progressively stretch their vocabulary.
Sustained practice allows your child to hone their reading skills, and
your interest in what they independently read provides encouragement.
Ask them about what's happening in the story or ask them to tell you
about their favorite part in the story.
Not only will this allow you to
gauge comprehension and answer questions that they may have, it gives
the child confidence knowing that you are interested and excited about
their new-found skill.
Help teach your child to read and spell
successfully. Enable your child to reach his or her full