I want to help parents learn how to teach their child to read
During the pandemic I saw firsthand how important parents are in teaching their child to read. As a teacher I could see the results of parental help in my young readers. Help from parents is most crucial for the youngest students who are just learning to read. There are some simple steps parents can take to help teach their child to read. Any parent can follow these steps and work them in to their daily family routine.
Wondering about homeschooling
I wanted to help my own children get ahead in reading and math and had always wondered about homeschooling. I didn’t think I was patient enough. In fact, I knew I wasn’t patient enough. So, during summer when they were off school I decided to do a pared-down version of it. I called it “home school lite.”
Parents can and should help their children learn to read. If your child attends school, teachers may do the heavy work. However, parents still should be helping from home to ensure their children are making the biggest reading gains possible. If you are teaching your child to read at home. I have some tips for you that may help.
Each child is different
Some children are sponges who just absorb words, vocabulary, and information. Other children are not sponges. Parents do not always know if their child will be a sponge or not. Each child is different. Really, EACH CHILD IS DIFFERENT.
Complex science surrounds reading instruction, but parents just need to know a few basics and do not need to know all of the education acronyms and lingo. Following are two steps to get started teaching your child to read.
Step 1: Teach your child that words are made up of sounds
Spend a lot of time speaking to your child and playing games with the spoken word. Point to objects and say the word and have them try to repeat it. Make up and play oral word games, sing silly songs that manipulate the sounds in words, say words that start with the same sound, end with the same sound, or have the same middle sound and rhyme.
Remember the song “I love to eat apples and bananas” where you change the vowel sounds with each verse? That is a fun type of thing you can do to get started.
Children do not have to know their alphabet letters to do this. At this point just saying sounds in words and listening to, hearing, or somehow identifying the sounds in words primes your child’s ear. This is a crucial step in reading. Sounds are the building blocks of words.
Step 2: Teach your child the names of alphabet letters and their sounds
Sing the alphabet song over and over. Skip while you sing it, jump while you sing it, punch pillows while you sing it. Use your imagination.
Once your child has a sense that there are such things as letters and that singing about letters is fun, introduce what the letters look like. Wooden letter puzzles, board books with flaps that open for each letter, and large magnet letters on the fridge are great for this. Spend a lot of time pointing to letters and saying their names.
Have your child handle and manipulate the letters. Play games identifying letters: “run to that pile of letters and see if you can find the h and bring it to me” or “which of these three letters is the letter s?”
Much repetition makes good work
Praise, praise, praise your child’s attempts and do not hold back on correcting them gently. Once, your child can identify some letters by name, introduce letter sounds. Some teachers and schools will teach all sounds a letter can make right from the start. Just do what you can.
Board books with letters and flaps with pictures that start with that letter sound or puzzles with pictures for each letter sound work well. Read ABC board books over and over and over and over and do the puzzles over and over, naming the letters and saying the sounds the letters make. Young children love repetition, so this is the time to repeat things over and over.
You can always make your own letter flash cards. Go ahead and make your own flash cards with index cards or paper and markers. Write each letter in a different color to help with recognition.
Not all children will be able to identify all letters. Some will take a long time with this. The sponges may absorb it all very quickly. Praise, praise regardless. Enjoyment is key here.