Teaching Your Child to Read

Each child will learn to read at his/her own pace, but here are 5 key signs to look for that might indicate your little one is getting ready.

  1. Your child shows an interest in reading. One of the many ways children do this is to pretend they are reading the words of a book or they ask, “Mommy, what is this word?”

  2. He knows the alphabet. Once a child knows the alphabet they usually will make the connection between their ABC’s and words in print.

  3. She “reads” or recites a book she has memorized.

  4. He engages in conversation about a book. Children do this by asking questions, re-telling the story in their own words and have the capability of answering questions about a book that was just read to them.

  5. She asks, “Will you teach me to read?” or “When will I learn to read?” This usually happens when a child had been taught the love of books and reading, have been read to a lot by their caregivers.

Choosing a Curriculum. Again, there is no one size fits all curriculum. If you were to ask teachers or homeschooling parents what the best reading curriculum is, you would get as many different responses as there is curriculum. What you have to consider is how your child learns, what is his or her attention span, how much time do you have to devote to the curriculum? Once you have answered those questions, it will be easier to narrow down your choices.

It is very important that you choose a phonics based curriculum, not one that requires children to memorize all the words. Yes, there are sight words and words that do not follow phonics rules, but knowing phonics gives children the ability to sound out the majority of words in the English language.

Five popular reading curriculum among homeschoolers and public schools:

  1. Saxon Phonics.

  2. Teach Your Child How to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

  3. Hooked on Phonics.

  4. Sing, Spell, Read and Write.

  5. Abeka Reading Curriculum.

There are plenty more out there. These just seem to be the ones most talked about in a quick internet search.

Keeping a Schedule. Consistency is key when teaching your child to read. It helps them remember the sounds. It enables them to practice on a regular basis. Reading every day to your child and then doing their lessons is important to their developing reading skills. Just because your child is learning to read does not mean they are too big to be read to. Keeping to a schedule or routine also gets you into the habit of sitting down and practicing the lessons and sounds with your child. Without a schedule you are setting you and your child up for failure.

Knowing when to take a break. Children are children and can grow weary of a lot of sit down study time. Take a break if they are frustrated over sounding out a word or keep getting a sound mixed up with another. Cut a story in half if you find their attention waning. Give them time to get up and move around. Active children need this so they can go back to focusing on the task at hand. Know when either of you are tired so you can take a break for that reason too.

Knowing when to take a break if your child is not getting the reading concepts is just as important as taking a break during a lesson. Sometimes we can misread the signs of readiness and that is ok. It is completely acceptable to put the reading curriculum back on the shelf for a couple weeks or a couple months to give our child more time to grow into their readiness. This is not failure, this is giving your child a chance to become more ready. You do not want to squelch their desire to read and want them to LOVE reading. Better to take a break than do that, right?

If you love to read, then you will naturally desire that love of reading will be passed onto your children. Be a good example. Let them see you read. Have books and magazines in your home. Let your children have access to books and magazine they can pick up and look at. Read, read, read to your children and read some more. These are all things to do while your child is young so they have the chance to fall in love with books and the idea of reading. Teaching your child to read begins long before they are school age and curriculum has to be purchased. Be aware that you can be a part of teaching your children to read right from the beginning. After all, parents are a child’s first teacher.