11 Steps to get your child to read
Learning to read is one of the most important things a child will do in his or her life. That’s because we live in a society in which literacy skills are the key to success. When reading ability doesn’t develop overnight, some parents and educators worry they are on the wrong path to instruction.
But choosing the “right” books and the “best” way to teach reading depends on every child. No two individuals will master reading at the same time or pace, and patience and persistence is a must, particularly for kids who struggle with learning difficulties or differences.
Teaching a child to read begins at birth with the reinforcement of pre-literacy skills. Nonetheless, most kids will officially learn to read between the ages of 5 and 7.
One of the most common ways to teach reading is via the sounding out method in which kids are encouraged to read aloud, pronouncing each letter or group of letters until they recognize the word by sound.
At the same time, educators will teach sight words, or common vocabulary that children can memorize in order to reduce the cognitive burden of decoding sentences. The theory is the less words children need to sound out, the more attention they have to process a greater number of terms and understand vocabulary they have never encountered before.
As kids become strong readers, they do less and less reading out loud and recognize more and more vocabulary by sight. This makes them faster. They can also do more when it comes to interacting with the books they are reading, including following more complicated narratives, understanding specific details, gist and making inferences and predictions.
They grow their vocabulary because reading introduces them to new words they can understand from context. Moreover, reading impacts on writing ability. Kids develop familiarity with more complex sentence structures and begin to use and adapt them to express themselves. This is a crucial skill that will serve them in all areas of the curriculum, from English class to social studies.
How to teach reading
Pre Literacy skills
There are certain pre-literacy skills educators have identified as important in preparing kids for reading instruction.Children can speak their native language, but they may not always recognize the component phonemes that make up English vocabulary. Silly songs and rhymes can help call their attention to the “Sssss” or “shhh” sounds they’ll need to associate with letters in order to read their first words.They must learn the alphabet of course, but reading books also relies on grasping the concept of narrative. This is something parents can teach by asking kids to recall actions in the order in which they occurred or simply leading by example and rehearsing the day’s activities with them. Parents are also encouraged to read to their children because fostering a love of books begins at home. Very young children may not understand what you are reading but they will become familiar with how books work, including distinguishing print from pictures. Infants love to imitate adults and turning pages is a great way to practice their fine motor skills and pincer grasp. If reading becomes a routine, they’ll begin to expect fun and entertaining stories. Positive associations forged through ample quality time spent with their parents will help them be more interested in reading books on their own.
Reading requires bringing together a child’s knowledge of the sound system of his or her native language and the letters and letter combinations that represent different phonemes. For this reason, some phonics instruction is essential.
Because they are fluent speakers, kids have a base vocabulary to begin with. That’s why learning how to read words they are already familiar with is a good place to start. This might include their own name and other concrete nouns that can be prompted using pictures.
One word at a time
In the beginning, too much text can be overwhelming for a new reader. Make sure there are not too many words on a page and start by having them sound out single terms before progressing to phrases and sentences.
Ample exposure and lots of repetition
Reading words that contain the same letters and letter combinations and seeing those words multiple times helps kids practice early reading skills. Did you know that 50-75% of the words in most children’s books come from the Dolch list?
Illustrations and big print
Images can help a child in the beginning by prompting him or her to recognize the word they are reading. It helps if words are large enough and printed in bold, easy to read font.
High frequency vocabulary
Memorizing words that are likely to show up in most books for children helps reduce the cognitive load associated with sounding out phrases and simple sentences. Kids can use flashcards and practice spelling at the same time.
Books they want to read
Children are often more motivatedto read if they are interested in the material to begin with. Take kids to the library and let them select the books they want to start with. If the text proves too challenging, at least you have an idea of what topics they are interested in.
Taking on a challenge
Starting with books that are too hard can be discouraging for an early reader. Keep kids motivated by selecting a mix of easy material that is at their level, interspersed with challenging books that are one step beyond. A good way to tell how hard a book is by having the child read a page and lift a finger for every word they don’t recognize. If any page contains more than 5 words the child doesn’t know, save the book for later.
Many English novels and stories have been adapted for readers of different levels. Check out graded readers and try using several levels in progression to ensure familiar vocabulary and a consistent increase in difficulty.
Constructs and interaction
It’s a good idea to encourage active vs. passive reading by asking childrenabout what they have read. In the beginning they will be focused on recognizing words but later on they’ll need to get the gist of the text and be able to tell you more about the details too