Thursday 2 February 2023

4 Tips for Teaching Your Child to Read

**Collaborative Post**

AD: Reading is one of the very first things that your child will work towards at school and it is such an important skill since it will open up a whole new world of possibilities for your child. Reading is a life skill that will not only help your child educationally but in many other ways too. Children who learn to read and enjoy reading often have fantastic imaginations and storytelling abilities too, opening up their minds to a whole new range of images that can be created in their minds from the words on a piece of paper. But before all of that, children will start by learning the different letters and the sounds they make before attempting to blend and make words. If your child is at this stage and you feel that they are struggling, these tips may help. 

The below were put together by an independent school in Surrey.

Lowercase and Not Uppercase

There are 26 letters in the alphabet with their own unique shapes and sounds. To make this as easy as possible, we recommend using only lowercase letters, to begin with, whilst your child’s still learning their phonetics. Capital letters may overcomplicate things at this stage and this is something to be mindful of when teaching children as we’re so used to writing with them. Let them master the basics first, and then move onto letter variations. 

Read with Your Child

Another tip is to read as much as you can. A child can never be too young to be read too, even as babies they may not be able to understand the words but will love the soothing calm tone of your voice whilst you read to them, this can quickly and easily become a calming part of a bedtime routine too. Whether they’re at the stage to read or not, by seeing and hearing letters and the words they make, they will develop a familiarity with them which will make learning to read easier as well. This means that when they come to read themselves they will have heard lots of the words used and may be more familiar with how they sound already. 

Look for Books They’re Interested In

Children want to read about things they are interested in, that's why many books aimed at children have fun, colourful and eye catching front covers. Let them take the lead in choosing books if you can, for example taking them to the library and letting them pick a few out on subjects they are interested in or covers that catch their eye. They are more likely to read books they have picked!  Reading can be fun and is a way in which they can explore their passions and interests. It can make the process exciting, and they will be incentivised to work their way through. Be sure to look out for the recommended reading ages as picking something complex will obviously be difficult for them to avoid frustration when reading if they pick something beyond their capabilities. If there is a book they really want that you think they may struggle to read, rather than shutting it down altogether you could offer to read it together or for you to read it to them. 

Be Patient

Lastly, be patient. Reading can take children a while to grasp and when they do, it will all be worth it but it takes time. Practice makes perfect so allow yourself some time to spend with your child, reading and helping them with their homework. It doesn't have to be books either, there are things to read all around us and everywhere we look. Street signs, road signs, maps, booklets etc. If you go for a day at the zoo, encourage your child to read the little snippets of information about the animals, if you are out walking, encourage them to sound out road and street names etc, it all counts and all helps! 

We hope that you find these tips helpful in teaching your child to read. More parenting resources like this can be found on my blog.


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