Being a literacy teacher first, and then a mom of 4 young kids, I thought teaching my kids to read would be easy. Boy was I wrong. As a literacy teacher, I know all about parents’ anxiety and their uncertainty. Over the years I have had many meetings with my students’ parents about how they can help teach their child to learn how to read. I was confident in my role (my abilities and more importantly, their child’s abilities) and I worked hard with the parents to help them fulfil their role. I knew we would get there and so I didn’t have any anxiety over the course of the journey. In this blog post I’m going to share some amazing tips on HOW TO TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO READ!
How to teach your child to read
So now, I’m on the other side of things. What I didn’t expect, though, was how it was going to feel to be on the other side! Once my kids started hitting Kindergarten the anxiety and uncertainty over “how am I going to teach my child to read” really hit me and I didn’t know where to begin. Even more scary, each kid is totally different! So, believe me, I get it.
Let’s get real for a minute!
Here’s how it starts: sometime during Kindergarten your child is sent home with a book from their teacher (a levelled reader) and the expectation (or hope) is that they read it to you at home. As a teacher I always tried to send home a little instruction sheet with some information on what to do with your child, but I realize now that it wasn’t enough. Now as a parent, not only is it hard to juggle work, keeping up a home, extra-curricular activities, subsequent children, and homework, but when you somehow make the time to sit down with your child to read that first book, you have no idea what you are supposed to be doing! And more often than not, it doesn’t go well. I so often hear, “My child doesn’t want to read!” ; “they memorizing the words! They’re not reading anything” ; OR “What happens when they get stuck.” And now the stress and anxiety (for parents & child (ren) begin to pile up and that definitely doesn’t help the situation.
How to teach reading
So, here’s where I come in. Not only can I relate as a parent, but I will also give you tons of hands-on, fun strategies that you can try with your child (ren) like Early reading strategies and follow-up activities like sentence mix and match. This is one of my favorite activities to do with kids after reading a text. It helps with phonemic awareness and making sure that kids aren’t memorizing patterned texts but learning proper techniques for sentence structure and sounding out words. Keep reading for some GREAT strategies on how to teach reading to your child(ren).
Early Reading Strategies
Step 1: Teaching early reading strategies is a must. This is a step-by-step guide on what strategies I like to use when reading with kids. I like to break it down into six different strategies that are bound to set the stage for strong readers. For kids that are just starting to learn how to read, it’s so important to break it up and give them strategies to use while they are reading. Using these as cues helps to build kids knowledge and understanding around phonics reading and developing strong literacy skills.
How to teach phonics, the KEY to STRONG readers:
Kids like routine, they like to know what’s coming. As such, I always start reading with my students in the same way. Having a routine with kids helps alleviate any anxiety around the unknown and gives kids the opportunity to relax and grow. To start, we play a fund game to ‘get their mouths read’ by moving around our mouths and making some noises. After that, we do a ‘picture walk’ and go through the story just looking at the pictures and making predictions. This helps to activate prior knowledge which helps with fluency and comprehension. Next, I make sure kids are ALWAYS pointing with their finger. This is SO important, even in more complicated texts.
This book will give you the tools to be confident in the process and enjoy the incredibly special time that will pass too fast (like all the other moments) as they learn to read books. What you will find in the following pages are very simple, incredibly effective, and powerful strategies for you to use as your child struggles through (and ultimately masters) one of the most foundational skills we all carry with us for the rest of our lives.
Phonological Awareness: I promise I won’t give you false hope like promising to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons. Teaching kids to read is a process, a process that doesn’t need anxiety – but instead can be filled with incredible moments if you take the time to learn the key strategies – like Pair Reading and writing: Pairing reading and writing is a must!
And judging by the google searches, ‘how to teach 4 year old read’, ‘how to reach my child to read’ and ‘how to teach kids to read’ parents are more than WILLING to get their hands dirty and join the process.