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How to Teach Kids to Read

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Mother teaching kid how to read.

It is never too early to start teaching your child to read. Finding the right method and approach that works for your family is key to success. While some children may be able to learn by sitting down with a book, others may require a more hands-on approach.

One of the most important things you can do is to create a print-rich environment at home. This means having books and other reading materials easily accessible to your child. Encourage them to explore these materials on their own, and show them how much fun reading can be.

There are a variety of different ways you can teach your child to read. Some methods may work better for some children than others. The most important thing is to find an approach that works for your child and stick with it.

Let’s take a look at some of the most tried and true methods to help encourage your child to read.

Note: None of the below information is meant to serve as diagnostic material. If you believe your child has a learning disability, please consult with a professional diagnostician to put together the best plan for helping your child learn to read.

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Why Reading Early and Frequently is Necessary

Mother teaching toddler how to read.

Reading early and frequently is key to teaching kids how to read. It’s especially important for kids to read aloud with an adult on a daily basis. Research has shown that reading aloud is the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills children need to become successful readers.

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When children are read to frequently, they begin to develop an understanding of how stories work and gain important exposure to vocabulary. Reading aloud also models proper pronunciation for young readers. As kids hear words spoken correctly, they can begin to mimic the sounds and patterns they hear.

In addition to reading with an adult, kids should also be encouraged to read independently as often as possible. Independent reading helps kids practice the skills they’re learning and allows them to apply what they’ve learned in their own way. As kids become more confident readers, they can begin to read more challenging material.

6 Benefits of Learning to Read Young

There are many benefits to giving your preschooler the building blocks they need to start reading. However, no matter when you start, know that it’s never too late to help your child improve their reading skills.

Some of the benefits of learning to read young include:

1. Giving Your Child a Head Start

Little boy in glasses reading a book.

Getting a head start is always an advantage. If you can give your child a leg up by teaching them to read earlier, then they’ll be that much ahead of their peers. This can help in school and later on in life.

For example, if your child can enter kindergarten knowing how to write their name and their numbers and read basic sentences, they’ll be much further along than other students. This puts them at an advantage, and they can build on their skills from there.

2. Improving Their Communication Skills

Communication is essential in life. The ability to read and write gives your child the power to communicate their thoughts and ideas clearly. This is a skill that will help them in school and later in their careers.

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Being able to communicate effectively is a skill that will always be useful. It’s one of the most important things you can teach your child.

3. Giving Them a Love of Learning

If you instill a love of learning in your child at an early age, they’ll be more likely to succeed in school and in life. Teaching your child to read is a great way to do this.

When children are exposed to reading at an early age, they develop a love for it. This passion can carry on with them throughout their lives. It’s one of the best gifts you can give your child.

4. Helping Them Develop Their Imagination

A schoolboy on the book flying through his imaginations.

Children who learn to read at an early age often have very vivid imaginations. This is because they’re constantly exposed to new and exciting worlds through books.

Allowing your child to explore their imagination is crucial for their development. It’s a skill that will help them in all areas of their life.

5. Building Their Confidence

Confidence is another important life skill that you can help your child develop by teaching them to read. When children are exposed to reading, they become more confident in themselves and their abilities.

This increased confidence can lead to success in all areas of their life. It’s an important skill that will help them reach their full potential.

6. Improve Their Social Skills

Reading also helps children develop their social skills. When they’re exposed to reading, they learn how to communicate with others and share their ideas. This is an important skill that will help them in all aspects of their life.

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Teaching your child to read is one of the best things you can do for them. It’s a gift that will keep on giving throughout their life.

There are many benefits of learning to read young. These are just a few of the most important ones. If you start teaching your child to read now, you’ll be giving them a leg up in life. It’s never too early or too late to start.

No matter when you start, know that you’re giving your child a great gift. One that will last them a lifetime.

How to Teach Preschoolers to Read

Teaching anything to small children can be a daunting task, but teaching preschoolers to read doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might think. By using a few simple techniques, you can help your child develop a love for reading that will last them a lifetime.

Here are some tips on how to teach preschoolers to read:

1. Read Together Every Day

Father and daughter reading on the floor.

Your first step to teaching your child how to read is a simple one, and it’s great for bonding too. Read together. Every day.

Set aside some time, even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes, to snuggle up with a book and read together.

This daily reading habit will help your child develop a love for books as well as the ability to focus and pay attention for longer periods of time. It’s the perfect foundation for learning how to read.

2. Start with Simple Books

When you’re first starting out, it’s important to choose books that are simple and easy for your child to follow along. Look for books with large pictures, few words, and a lot of repetition.

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Be sure to point at the words as you read them aloud. This will help your child begin to understand that words on a page carry meaning. You can also play the shadow game with them by encouraging them to repeat what you say and point at the words as they go.

Sometimes repeating one word at a time will help them to understand each individual word on the page. As your child begins to progress, you can start introducing more complicated books with longer sentences.

3. Use Props and Puppets

Using props and puppets is a great way to help bring stories to life for your child. It will also help them to understand that the words on the page represent people and things in the real world.

You can use anything from stuffed animals to everyday objects as props. Just be sure to point out the connection between the words and the props as you’re reading. For example, if you’re reading a book about a dog, be sure to point to the word ‘dog’ and say, “This is the word for dog. It’s a puppy.”

You can also use puppets to act out scenes from the book. This is a great way to help your child understand what they’re reading as well as have some fun too.

4. Encourage Them to Draw Pictures

Little girl hanging her drawings on the board.

After you’ve read a book together, encourage your child to draw pictures of their favorite scenes. This will help them to remember what they’ve read as well as begin to understand how stories are structured.

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You can also have them dictate their own stories to you. This is a great way to encourage their creativity and get them thinking about the different parts of a story, such as the beginning, middle, and end.

5. Teach Them the Alphabet

This one may seem obvious, but it’s so much more than just singing the ABCs. Learning the alphabet is the foundation for being able to read.

So, take some time to teach your child the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. Then, help them put those sounds together to form simple words. You can start with three-letter words and then move on to four and five-letter words.

You can use anything from flashcards to games to help your child learn the alphabet. Just be sure to make it fun and engaging so that they stay interested.

Teaching them how to write at the same time as teaching them the letters is a great way to help them connect the two. As they learn to write the letters, they’ll also begin to understand how those letters form words.

And, as important as legible penmanship is, if you’re working with a 3-year-old, in the beginning, it’s okay for them to write big, imperfect letters. The most important thing for them is to learn how to hold the crayon or pencil in their hands and try to mimic the shape as closely as possible.

Stencils are a great way to help kids with this. You can start with simple shapes like circles and squares and then move on to letters. Just be sure to help them understand that the letter they’re tracing is the same sound as the one they wrote on their own.

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6. Play Word Games

A family playing word board game on the floor.

Playing word games is a great way to teach your child about reading while also having some fun. There are tons of games you can play, both online and offline.

Some of our favorites include:

Memory Matching 

To play this game, you’ll need a deck of cards and some index cards. Write a different word or letter on each index card and then place them all face down in a pile. Then, have your child take turns flipping over two cards at a time to try to find a match.

If they find a match, they get to keep the pair of cards. If they don’t, they flip them back over, and it’s the next player’s turn. The game is over when all of the pairs have been found.

Word Ladder

This is a great game for helping kids learn how to spell words. To play, you’ll need a whiteboard or some paper and a pencil. Write a word at the top of the ladder, and then have your child try to come up with a new word that uses the last letter of the first word.

For example, if you start with the word ‘cat,’ they might come up with the word ‘tar.’ Then, you would write that word underneath ‘cat,’ and they would try to come up with a new word using the ‘r’ from ‘tar.’ This continues until you can’t come up with any more words.

Hangman

This classic game is a great way to practice spelling words. To play, you’ll need a whiteboard or some paper and a pencil. One player thinks of a word, and the other player tries to guess it by suggesting letters.

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For each letter that is not in the word, the player drawing gets to add a body part to the hangman sketch. If the player guesses correctly before the hangman is completed, they win. If not, the player drawing wins.

Word or Letter Scavenger Hunt

Using index cards (or maybe you have alphabet blocks), hide the different letters or words all over the house. Then, tell your child, “go find the letter A” or hand them a card that says “A” and instruct them to find the matching letter.

When they find the letter, you can either give them another instruction card or another command. If you’re feeling a little creative, you can even make a little story for them to follow.

As you can see, there are tons of different games you can play to help your child learn to read. And the best part is, they’re all pretty easy to set up and don’t require any special materials. So, get creative and have fun!

How to Help a Child Struggling with Reading

If you have an elementary-aged child who is struggling with reading, there are several methods out there that can help.

1. Find Out What’s Going On

Father consoling daughter that's struggling with reading.

Your first step is to talk to your child’s teacher to find out what they think is going on. They may have some insights that you don’t have, and they can give you some specific things to work on at home.

If your child is still in preschool or kindergarten, their teacher may not be too concerned just yet. But, if your child is in first grade or higher and is having trouble, it’s definitely something to look into.

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2. Talk to Your Child

Once you’ve talked to their teacher, it’s time to talk to your child. Find out what they think is going on and why they think they’re struggling.

It’s also important to ask them how they feel about reading. Do they enjoy it, or does it make them anxious? This will give you a better idea of how to approach things.

If your child is struggling because they’re anxious, you may want to try some relaxation techniques with them. If they’re struggling because they don’t enjoy it, you’ll need to find a way to make it more fun for them.

Remember, when talking with your child, that there is a possibility that this topic will frustrate them. So, try to be as understanding and supportive as possible.

3. Make a Plan

Once you’ve talked to your child and their teacher, it’s time to make a plan. This plan should involve both you and your child so that they feel like they’re a part of the solution.

Start by making a list of goals. These can be things like reading for 20 minutes every day or reading one new book each week.

Then, come up with a system of rewards. This could be something as simple as letting them pick out a new book after they’ve read 10 books or getting ice cream after they’ve read 100 pages.

Find what works best for your child and go with it. The important thing is to make sure that the goals are realistic and that the rewards are something they’ll actually enjoy.

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If you’re not sure where to start, there are a ton of reading programs out there that can help. Many libraries have summer reading programs that your child can participate in. And there are also a lot of great websites that offer reading games and activities.

4. Get a Professional Assessment

If you’re still not sure what’s going on, you may want to consider getting a professional assessment. This is especially important if you think your child may have a learning disability.

A professional assessment will usually involve a series of tests that will assess your child’s reading skills. Based on the results, the assessor will be able to give you some specific recommendations for how to help your child.

Some common learning disabilities that make reading difficult include:

Dyslexia

Little boy holding his head as he struggles with dyslexia.

This is a neurological disorder that makes it difficult to read. It can make words appear jumbled or reversed and can make it hard to sound out words.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

This condition makes it hard to focus, which can make reading and other activities more difficult.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

This disorder makes it hard to process what you hear, which can make it hard to understand what you read.

If your child does have a learning disability, don’t despair! There are several science-backed reading programs out there that are specifically designed to help people with learning disabilities get their reading on track!

Some of the most common include:

Orton-Gillingham

This program is specifically designed for people with dyslexia. It involves a lot of repetition and Drill-and-kill type activities to help people sound out words correctly.

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Wilson Reading System

This program is similar to Orton-Gillingham in that it involves a lot of repetition. However, it also teaches people how to break words down into smaller parts so that they can read them more easily.

Lindamood-Bell

This program takes a more holistic approach and focuses on helping people understand the meaning of what they’re reading. This can be especially helpful for people with ADHD or APD.

There are also a lot of great apps and websites that can help with reading. Some of our favorites include:

Raz-Kids

This website offers a ton of great leveled books that kids can read. It also has some fun games and activities to help kids practice their reading skills.

Reading Eggs

This website is geared towards younger children and helps them learn to read through a series of fun games and activities.

ReadingIQ

This app has a ton of great books for kids of all ages. It also offers articles, videos, and quizzes to help kids learn more about what they’re reading.

No matter what route you decide to go, the important thing is to get started. The sooner you start, the sooner your child will be on their way to reading success!

And remember, these programs can benefit readers who don’t have learning disabilities too. By driving home the most important reading principles, they can jumpstart your child’s reading journey!

5. Try a Different Approach

If you’ve been working with your child and they’re still struggling, it may be time to try a different approach. There are lots of different ways to teach reading, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find something that works.

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Some different approaches include:

Phonics

Little boy holding phonics flash card.

This is a method where children learn to read by sounding out words.

Whole Language

This is a method where children learn to read by understanding the meaning of words and phrases.

Sight words

This is a method where children learn to recognize words by sight rather than sounding them out.

Each of these methods has its own strengths and weaknesses, so you’ll need to decide which one will work best for your child. You may also want to talk to their teacher or a reading specialist to get their opinion.

6. Be Patient

One of the most important things to remember when helping your child with reading is to be patient. This is not going to be an overnight fix, and there will probably be some setbacks along the way.

So, take a deep breath and remember that you’re in this for the long haul. The more patient you are, the more likely it is that your child will eventually succeed.

And above all else, make sure to have fun! Learning to read can be a rewarding experience for both of you. So, enjoy the journey, and don’t forget to celebrate each and every accomplishment along the way.

5 Methods to Motivate Your Child to Read on Their Own

Finally, what do you do when you have a kid who just doesn’t want to read? Well, here are a few tips to help motivate them:

1. Find Books That Interest Them

Kids choosing books in the library.

One of the best ways to get your child interested in reading is to find books that they’re actually interested in. If they’re not into dinosaurs, don’t force them to read a dinosaur book.

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Instead, try to find books that align with their interests. Whether it’s sports, animals, or fashion, there’s bound to be a book out there that they’ll love.

You can also try looking for books that are based on their favorite movies or TV shows. This can be a great way to get them excited about reading.

2. Make It a Game

Another great way to motivate your child to read is to make it into a game. There are lots of great reading games out there that can make the experience a lot more fun.

You can also try creating your own games. For example, you could turn reading into a scavenger hunt or a competition. The possibilities are endless!

3. Set Some goals

One of the best ways to motivate your child is to set some goals. This could be anything from reading for 20 minutes every day to finishing a certain number of books in a month.

Whatever you decide, make sure the goals are realistic and achievable. This will help them stay motivated and on track.

4. Offer Incentives

Mother giving daughter a rainbow candy.

Sometimes, all it takes to motivate a child is a little bribery. If they’re not interested in reading, try offering them some incentives.

This could be anything from their favorite candy to a special privilege. Just make sure the incentive is something that they really want.

5. Take Them to the Library

Last but not least, one of the best ways to motivate your child to read is to take them to the library. This is a great place to find new and interesting books, and it’s also a great way to get them excited about reading.

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Libraries often host fun events, reading contests, and more. So, it’s definitely worth checking out!

Who knows, your kids might even make some new friends who love the same kinds of books!

So, there you have it! These are just a few tips to help motivate your child to read on their own. With a little patience and perseverance, you’ll be sure to see some progress in no time.

Final Thoughts

Little girl reading book outside with her teddy bear.

Teaching your child to read can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Just remember to be patient, have fun, and try different methods until you find one that works for your child.

And above all else, don’t give up! With a little hard work and determination, your child will be reading in no time. Thanks for reading!

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