Saturday, January 12, 2013

Guest Post: Helping Your Child Learn to Read

Helping Your Child Learn to Read
Most of us are aware of the importance of reading in our lives. We all want the best for our children and by teaching them to read we are giving them the very foundation of the ability to learn new things and to grow. There are many ways to encourage your child to read from the time they are very small and on through their young lives. I’m just going to give you some suggestions for ways you can help your children to learn to love to read.
  1. Read Every Day - First of all it is important to start out by reading to your child. Read to them everyday. I remember when my children were young I would read them stories every night before bed. We would read at other times as well but we always made a point of reading a book before bed. It was a bedtime ritual and they loved it. Some children are more interested than others and all books are not created equal when it comes to kids.
I have a daughter and a son, my daughter is the oldest and would listen to anything you read, even the dictionary! My son on the other hand did not have the patience my daughter had with sitting and listening. But if you brought out a book about the different kinds of construction equipment, scary or creepy kinds of animals or insects, or interactive books like hidden pictures he was in. He loved it when we got the new Highlights magazine when he got older.
  1. Make it Interactive - What’s important is reading, whatever it is. My son required more interactive reading, making the sounds of the trucks or machines helped, making animal sounds, or looking for hidden pictures. Find out what interests your child has, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as they are reading.
  1. Ask Questions - While they are reading it is important that you ask them questions and discuss what you are reading. Ask them what sounds things make or what they think the person was thinking when they did something. Point out things that may make it more interesting to them and talk about the things going on in the story. It is important that you find out what your child thinks about the story and what is going on. You can help them to develop imagination and understanding by talking about the stories.
  1. Read Yourself - Something that will really encourage your children to read is to see mom and dad reading. When a child sees a parent reading it will become a part of their lives and they will emulate what they see. Often this is the catalyst for children that love reading. And being able to read well is so important in learning, every aspect of learning comes from the ability to read and understand what you are reading.
  1. Teach As You Go - Teach them the letters of the alphabet to begin with. Point them out to them as they are reading. As you go about doing your errands during the day point out the letters to them on signs or buildings. Learning the alphabet and the names of the letters is the first step to reading words.
Along with teaching them the letters it is important to teach them the sounds that the letters make. I grew up with a deaf brother who actually helped me in reading and pronouncing words correctly. We were taught at an early age how to make the sounds of the letters and where the sounds came from when we made them. For instance, we were taught to make the sounds of letters like P or T and put our hand in front of our mouth to feel the feeling the air made as it came out or make the sounds that the letter G makes when you say “Good” and feel our throats so that we could help my brother learn to talk. It is important when teaching young children to incorporate as many senses as possible to learn the sounds of letters. Make your children aware of the phonemic differences.
  1. Offer a Variety - Offer different kinds of books to your children on many different subjects and genres. Give them a wide selection of choices when reading and open up their minds to different possibilities and cultures. You are not only teaching your child to read but you are helping them use their imaginations and be creative as well. All these things will help your child to be able to learn easier and faster when they do get into school. You should not worry about what choices your child makes for reading materials: anything is a good reading experience. Children can learn better reading skills from even comic books. The important thing is that they are reading and enjoying themselves. If a child enjoys reading they are more likely to continue reading throughout their lives.
  1. Use Labels - As I have already shared with you I have a deaf brother. Another thing we did at home that would help any child to learn to read was to label things we used everyday. Sink, table, cup, chair, bed, and so on. We had labels all over the house on everything and were not only helping my deaf brother to learn the words of everyday items but for the other two siblings it was supporting learning our words by sight.
I was reading another blog where a mother was using games to help her children with the sight words. She had made up bingo cards and had words like and, but, the, etc. and they were playing bingo with these words. I thought this was a very creative idea for learning the sight words.
  1. Use Rhymes - My kids loved to make up rhymes when they were small. Give them a word and have them think of other words that rhyme with that word. It will help them later on seeing the similarities in words and how they sound as well as to notice that not all words that sound alike are spelled alike. As they come up with the words you can write them down and show them the similarities and the differences.
  1. Sound it Out - Begin to work on having your children sound out short words. Teach them about consonant, vowel, consonant sounds. Make a game out of the vowel sounds or a song. Show them what sounds the consonants make and let them feel where the sounds come from. If you make it fun it will not seem like work to them. For some children it is much more fun to learn from mom and dad than it is when they get into school. You are more in tune with your children and their likes and dislikes and what helps them to learn.
  1. Make it Fun - Making learning fun for your children is a key factor in how they learn. When they are small mom and dad are the most important people in their lives. They can learn so much from you before they enter school if you spend just a little time everyday in reading and recognizing letters, words, and the sounds that bring the words together.
  2. Reading is one of the most important gifts you can give to your children. It is one way that you can insure that they will be successful in school because they will have the skill to read and understand what they are reading. Every subject they take will require the ability to read and to understanding the subject matter. A little help from mom and dad will go a long way in helping your child to be successful and remember to make it fun!
   Author Byline:
 Ken Myers as an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many Organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance.  He is a regular contributor of “”.  You can get in touch with him at

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