Teaching your children to read can feel like an overwhelming task. There are so many routes to take and a long list of potential difficulties that your children might face – take attention span and having a desire to read as just two examples! So, how can we teach kids to read?
We’re super excited to tell you that teaching reading is not only simple, but it can actually be incredibly fun! Taking the time to read with our children can foster a special bond whilst creating memories that last a lifetime. And when you practice reading outside of books, your child will barely even realize that they’re learning!
In this post, we’re going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to how to teach a child to read. We’ll also be guiding you through the best ways to teach kids to read as well as a few reading activities that the whole family can enjoy.
At what age should a child be able to read?
Most children are able to read between the ages of 6-7, whilst some children may be able to read as early as 4-5 years old. It’s important to remember that all children have different interests and will excel at different things – don’t worry if your child seems further behind than their peers!
We’ll be looking at some of the best ways to teach your kids to read so that you can help them to progress at home, stress-free.
How do children learn to read?
Children learn to read by getting familiar with letters and sounds, followed by words. This is why it’s so important to talk to and sing to babies! Although they may not respond, we’ll be helping them in the early stages of developing an understanding of language.
Once children are familiar with letters and the sounds they make, we can start making reading a more educational activity by pointing to the words and asking our kids to sound them out after us.
How to teach your child to read
How can I teach my child to read at home?
Teaching your child to read at home doesn’t have to be stressful! Here are a few simple ways that you can teach your child to read at home:
1. Sing songs to develop phonemic awareness
“I like to eat apples and bananas” is a great place to start!
2. The alphabet
Introduce the alphabet by asking your child to trace letters of the alphabet – Focus on two to three letters at a time and give them examples of words that begin with the letter.
3. Word cards
Word cards are a great way to help your child learn words by sight. Start with three-letter words such as ‘cat’, ‘dog’ and ‘bee’ as well as an image representing the word on the card.
4. Matching games
Use a set of cards and help your child to match images with the correct word.
5. Letter magnets
Use letter magnets to spell words together.
6. Word games
Play word games when you’re walking or driving – for example, take it in turns to find as many words as you can beginning with ‘B’.
(Tip: sound the letter phonetically when playing this game with younger children!).
How can I improve my child’s reading level at home?
Improving your child’s reading level at home is not only easy, but it can be really fun too! The most important thing to remember is to remove pressure from the learning process – enjoy it.
Here are a few ways that you can improve your child’s reading level at home – these are also great if you’re looking for ways to teach your toddler to read!
1. Creating a reading routine
Creating a reading routine will ensure that the practice is regular. Whether this involves you reading to your child or having them read to you, try to do it at the same time every day. If you’re finding it hard to keep them interested, start small! It doesn’t matter if you’re only reading together for 1 minute every day for the first week – try increasing the time by another minute when your child seems ready.
2. Let them choose their books/reading material
Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if someone told us what we could and couldn’t read?! Let your child choose their own books by taking them to a library or bookstore and giving them the freedom to select anything that piques their interest. Comics, magazines, toddler books – it’s all practice!
3. Practice reading outside of books
Practice reading outside of books by encouraging your kids to read from road signs, menus, manuals, and brochures.
4. Stay involved
Stay involved in their reading and the progress they’re making by asking questions about the story, talking about the books that you’ve been reading, and making reading time a special time for the both of you.
What are the main steps to teaching reading?
Source: The Classroom Key
3 important steps to teaching kids to read
1. Create a reading environment
Create a comfortable reading environment that you both enjoy spending time in. Remember to use an engaging tone to keep your child interested whilst also asking them questions about the story.
2.Teach the necessary reading skills
Before teaching your child to read and recognize words, take the time to ensure that:
- They’ve learned the alphabet
- They’re familiar with phonics
After this, you can begin teaching sight words and helping them to sound out different words.
3. Practice practice practice
Anything worth doing takes practice! Don’t give up, the skill of being able to read will serve your child for the rest of their lives and can bring them so much joy.
Dyslexia and reading ability
There are different types of dyslexia, but it mostly derives from a difficulty to understand and recognize phonological differences. Children with dyslexia will take longer to learn how to read, but it can be achieved by repeatedly learning the same sounds and practicing reading outside of books.
Follow a few of these reading tips for reading success!
- Reading is crucial to well-being – remember that and don’t give up!
- Find a school that values and prioritizes reading. You might like to ask which method they use to teach children how to read.
- Ask your child’s school for regular reports on their reading abilities and where they’re struggling so that you provide a supportive environment at home.
- Get involved by reading with your child and making it a special time that you share.
- Choose lower-level books if your child is having difficulty reading – this will help to take the pressure away and allow them to progress!
- Let them read anything that interests them – even if they’re mostly looking at the pictures.
- Be patient! It will happen.
- If you’re stressed about teaching your preschooler to read, know that they’ll be surrounded by the world of words at school and will soon catch up. But if their reading level concerns you, ask if you can spend some time speaking with their teacher.
10 best books to help children learn to read
With these books, you’ll even be teaching your baby to read! Here are 10 of the best books to help children learn to read.
1. Jungle Animals – DK
This highly visual book with fun facts about animals is a wonderful way to teach your children about the animals that live in the jungle.
2. Clara and Clem in Outer Space – Ethan Long
A wonderfully simple and sweet book about a mission to outer space! The perfect read for children that are interested in everything the night sky has to offer.
3. Ten Apples Up On Top – Dr. Seuss
Learn how to count and read with a fun tale about a dog, a tiger, and a lion. This is a wonderful book to use when teaching kindergarten to read.
4. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish – Dr. Seuss
Silly rhymes are just what children need when they’re learning how to read. With colorful characters and strange words, this is sure to become a favorite.
5. At the Beach – Roland Harvey
Help Roland to find the belongings that he keeps losing at the beach – but wait, what’s that dog collecting from around the beach?
6. Penguin Problems – Jory John
It’s not easy being a penguin! Little penguin has a cold beak, thinks the water smells salty, doesn’t like that there’s snow everywhere and he looks just like everybody else.
7. Shh! We Have A Plan – Chris Haughton
Four friends are desperate to catch the beautiful bird that they’ve spotted in the tree, but, try as they might, they keep ending up in a terrible muddle.
8. It’s Not Easy Being A Bunny – Marilyn Sadler
P.J. FunnyBunny is fed up with being a bunny – surely it would be more fun if he were another animal. In the end, he learns that all he wants to be is himself!
9. Llama Llama Loves to Read – Anna Dewdney & Reed Duncan
Here, your kids can learn to read with llama llama! There are so many ways to learn how to read, and llama llama loves them all.
10. Where Is Baby – Sally Rippin
Play hide and seek whilst learning to recognize simple words.
Here is a selection of the free printables available for download at Lion Story to help your little ones learn how to read.
My Phonics Kit
Connect The Dots
Learn the letters of the alphabet
Try not to let teaching your children how to read become a challenge – keep it fun, simple, and remember to go at their pace!
Get involved by reading to them, with them, and by providing them with reading activities outside of different books. The links to our free printables are a great place for beginners to start learning!
Have you got any tips for teaching children to read? We would love to hear them.