Three Tips for Teaching Your Child How to Read

Learning to read at a young age is important for the development of your child. It helps him develop a better understanding of his surroundings, allows him to gather information from printed materials, and provides him with a wonderful source of entertainment when reading stories and rhymes. Children develop at different rates. It’s important that as the parent, you are keenly aware of your child’s maturity and reading level to provide her with appropriate books and activities to help her improve.

Parents, you are the most important teacher for your children. You will introduce your child to books and reading. Below are three tips to help you teach your child how to read.

Teaching Your Child How to Read Tip #1

Teach your child alphabet letters and sounds at the same time. Studies have shown that children learn best when they are taught the letter names and letter sounds at the same time. In one study, 58 preschool children were randomly assigned to receive instructions in letter names and sounds, letter sound only, or numbers (control group). The results of this study are consistent with past research results. It found that children receiving letter name and sound instruction were most likely to learn the sounds of letters whose names included clues to their sounds. [1]

When teaching your child the letter sounds, have him slowly trace the letter, while saying the sound of the letter at the same time. For example, if you were teaching your child the letter “A”, you would say:

“The letter A makes the /A/ (ah) sound.”

Then have your child say the /A/ sound while tracing the letter with his or her index finger.

Teaching Your Child How to Read Tip #2

When teaching your child to read, always emphasize with him that the proper reading order should be from left to right, and top to bottom. To adults, this may seem so basic that anyone should know it. However, children are not born with the knowledge that printed text should be read that way. This is why you’ll sometimes see children reading from right to left instead. When teaching your child how to read, always emphasize this point.

Teaching Your Child How to Read Tip #3

Teach final consonant blends first. Teaching words such “at” and “and” can lead your child directly to learn words that rhyme with these. For example, for “at”, you can have:
Lat, Pat, Mat, Cat, Sat, Bat, Spat, Chat, and so on…

For “and”, you can have these rhyming words:
Sand, Band, Land, Hand, Stand, Bland, Brand, Grand, and so on….

You can start teaching blends once your child has learned the sounds of some consonants and short vowel sounds. You don’t need to wait until your child has mastered the sounds of all the letters before teaching blends.

Learning to read is a long process. But it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Broken down into intuitive and logical steps, a child as young as two years old can learn to read, and older children can accomplish even more.

1. J Exp Child Psychol. 2010 Apr;105(4):324-44. Epub 2010 Jan 25.
Learning letter names and sounds: effects of instruction, letter type, and phonological processing skill.
Piasta SB, Wagner RK.
Preschool Language and Literacy Lab, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.