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Teach Your Child to Read

Reading is an essential part of all children’s education; it’s the only subject that each academic subject draws from to teach children. To understand and be able to complete all the tasks involved with math, science, social studies, health and writing your children must first know how to read. Learning to read is one of the first things taught in school. Therefore, teaching your child early on how to read you will be giving them a great start to a prolific educational experience.

Although many experts say the best age to teach children how to read is around the age of four, it is very important to read to your children as soon as they come out of the womb; of course age appropriate material should be incorporated. A baby’s mind is like a sponge so if you begin connecting the brains neurons early your child will have an increased perception of language and conceptual speaking. (For more information on reading to your baby please review the link *KIDS Health)

When you are reading to your children make it as exciting as you can. Take for instance a book that you always loved, instead of using your normal voice, assign a voice for each character in the book. You can practice this alone if you’d like until you feel comfortable, but your children will delight in the stories you tell if you are putting as much enthusiasm as you can into the story. When your character is sad, be sad when they are happy, be really, really happy and just have fun.

There are two wonderful methods for teaching young children to read, both (which are equally successful) should be incorporated while you are teaching your child to read.

Phonics Method
Educational professionals have used phonics for years to teach younger children how to read. It is a model program for most elementary schools worldwide. Phonics uses the basic sounds of letters as opposed to focusing on reading the entire word. Sound out the words to your child through alphabet flash cards, or you can always purchase a product called Hooked on Phonics, which uses music and repetition to teach your child the letter sounds. Have fun while you’re doing it, if you do purchase a product similar to this dance around the living room and be silly with your child as they are learning.

Sight Words Method
Sight words are commonly used elementary words, taught through repetition. The more often a child sees these words, the more likely they are to remember them. Reading books or using tools such as flash cards, your child can learn these words by “sight”, instead of by spelling them out. You can review and even print out a list from the Dolch words list web site. Flash cards, done once a day for ten minutes a day, will give your child a positive start with their reading adventure and will be ready to read by the time kindergarten comes around.

Most importantly, read as often as you can to children early on, this will encourage their love for stories and reading that couldn’t compare to any other teaching tool used in or out of school.

Main points to address:

  • Use both the sight word and Phonics methods to teach your child how to read.
  • Read often to your child.

Grades K-3rd
Children get stuck on words at this age and that’s okay, let your child know that’s okay. Learning is a process that takes time, commitment and practice. When your children brings home books from school, or a local library (if you and your family venture to the library) read them together. Take turns reading throughout the book, you read one page, your child reads the next and you the next. Allow the story to flow back and forth. If your child gets stuck on a word while you are reading encourage them to sound the word out, don’t just tell them the word. This will help tremendously with their phonics skills.

Once you are finished reading to your child talk about the story, what did you like best about this story? What didn’t you like? Who was your favorite character? Would you have done things that way if you were in that story?

Main points to address:

  • Take turns with your child reading a book, page by page.
  • Allow them to sound out a word that they are trying to read instead of telling them the word.

Grades 4th-6th
You can also have a nightly reading time for your children in this age group where the two of you read together out loud from a chapter book or a book that interests them, such as zoo animals or outer space. Then discus the subject you just read about, talk about the story or the subject. Set a good example for your child by being a super reader as well and talk to your child about what you just read (of course as long as it is an age appropriate discussion).

Have fun with a charades night about a recent book they just read or have them provide the family with an oral or written book report. This can be done on a monthly basis, so to not interfere with school and sport activities obligations.

Main points to address:

  • Read aloud with your child.
  • Provide a family book report night.

Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Education.

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