Teaching child to read

The first step in teaching child to read is to read with your child often and create a sense of enjoyment, wonder, and even a passion for reading. Learning to read takes practice. Loving to read takes enthusiasm.

Here are some ways you can follow in teaching child to read and encourage the love for reading :

Have a special routine
Routines build stability and motivation. Give children something to look forward to by reading to them every day at the same time. It shows your child how important this is to you. When teaching child to read, turn off the phone, settle into your favourite spot, put on a storytelling light. Mark this as a very special time for a very special person.

Make it purposeful
Purposeful reading engages children. Have Reading Evenings during which children read aloud to an audience of family and friends. Choosing what to read and who reads which bits involve children in browsing, thinking and talking about books. Rehearsing motivates children to read expressively and accurately, especially if you perform too. Record or videotape them reading (or sharing reading with you) as a gift for relatives or friends far away.

Let your child lead
It’s not as important to finish reading the book as to enjoy it together. Children, especially those not reading yet, often get drawn into talking about the pictures rather than moving on with the story. And why not? Enjoy exploring the book together. If your child’s book experiences are positive and fun, she’ll want more. As she develops interest in the idea of a story, she’ll naturally want to get through the whole book.

Talk about the story and pictures
In teaching child to read, do NOT just read the words. You will miss a wealth of information and enrichment. The wonderful illustrations in children’s literature stimulate observation, thinking and imagination. Encourage conversations about pictures. When you read stories, stop and predict what’s going to happen next. This engages your child directly in the story, as well as stimulates sequencing and inferential thinking.

Using repetitions
Use books with repetitive words, phrases and sentences. Young children pick up repetitions easily and gain confidence when they can ‘read’. When you come to the repeated word or phrase, stop and let your child say it with you, or by herself. Children love this game of joining in and feel very accomplished in helping you read. Even more motivating and empowering is helping you read to a younger sibling.

Read aloud
Reading aloud is great for children who can read independently. Have your child read out loud to you. Listen carefully and make sure to praise your child's reading.

Take turns reading
Take turns to read alternate pages or sentences, or even (this is hard!) words. In fact once your child gets the idea, she’ll make her own choices: for example, " I’ll read the action words", or "words with a ‘c’ in them", or "the lines said by this character".

Even after the children can read on their own, keep reading to them so they can enjoy stories and books that interest them but are too hard for them to read by themselves.

Through all these methods of teaching child to read, not only does your child learn how to read, you are also building a strong bond of shared experiences and ideas. Your child is not just a reader but a friend, for life.

Other resources for teaching child to read

ClickN KIDS Teaching KIDS to READ and SPELL One Click at a Time