So far, my kids have taught themselves how to read. They have help, of course. We borrow oodles of books from the library, and I read out loud to them every day. Mike also reads to them, when he is home. They learned basic phonics through the (affiliate link – links to books in this post are also affiliate links) LeapFrog: Letter Factory DVD, but everything else has been picked up through everyday reading, listening, and writing.
Get them writing
It doesn’t have to be writing real letters or words; the point is to have them thinking about storytelling. Journaling for littles can mean all sorts of different things, but it definitely promotes literacy development! Have them write thank you cards for gifts – even before they can write letters!
Read out loud – and listen to them read!
Sitting with your child reading pictures books is one of the easiest ways for them to learn sight words! It is also wonderful parent-child bonding time.
I find that using white boards helps my kids feel more relaxed about making mistakes. If your child has trouble with smudging white board pens, window markers will erase with water from most white boards. My kids also enjoy tracing letters in workbooks.
Follow their lead
When my oldest daughter Emma started getting interested in reading, I got a copy of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and we started going through it. She enjoyed the first several lessons, and then started getting frustrated. So we set the book aside, and next thing I knew she was reading on her own. The early lessons gave her a good foundation, and she was able to take it from there on her own – at her own pace.
Respect their opinions on books
My daughter Emma skipped early readers all together and went straight to chapter books – starting with the Ramona books. She didn’t enjoy the early readers, and forcing her to stick with them may have made her dislike reading all together. She couldn’t read all of the words in the Ramona books the first time through, but she understood enough to get the general idea – and she has gone back and read the books in a more typical page-by-page (as opposed to skipping around) manner now. Skipping around clearly didn’t hurt her – she won the language arts award in her first grade class this year! My five-year-old son LOVES Bob Books and other early readers; he is as competent a reader as Emma was when she started reading chapter books, but for him being given a chapter book at this point would be a frustrating experience as he wants to be able to read and understand most or all of the words in books.
Be aware of possible underlying issues
If your child isn’t learning to read as quickly as you think they should, don’t pressure them. They may have an underlying issue that is making reading hard for them, or they may not be developmentally ready. Children gain different skills at different ages, and educational and medical professionals can help you figure out if there is any area where your child needs additional help. Reading interesting stories with your pre-reader (and continuing to read to them once they can read themselves) will help your child continue to see books as a fun piece of their life, while also building wonderful childhood memories.
How did your kids to learn to read?
This post is the fifth of eight in the Get Ready for K Through Play series I am working on with Bernadette of Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Megan at Coffee Cups and Crayons, Vicky at Mess for Less, Cerys at Rainy Day Mum, and Kristina at Toddler Approved. Be sure to check out their posts as well!
- 10 Early Readers for Beginning Readers from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
- Sensory Sight Word Games from Mess for Less
- Blowing Down Sight Words from Toddler Approved
- How to Read Aloud to Your Child from Coffee Cups and Crayons
- Bringing Books Alive from Rainy Day Mum
Drop by our Get Ready for K Through Play Pinterest board for more ideas!