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Helping Your Child Read

by Amelia on November 5, 2009
category: Uncategorized

DSC_0063 Learning how to read is a major milestone that children pass during their first years of school.  Reading doesn’t come easily for every child. Some children are eager and want to learn how to read.  They ask their parents to teach them.  Some are more interested in playing outside than taking time to sit down and learn all the letter sounds and sound blends.

I have 2 children who are beginning readers.  My 5 year old, Isaac, taught himslef how to read when he was 4.  As a 2 year old he was very interested in letters and would play with his Little Touch Leappad  everyday to learn all the letters because he enjoyed it. During preschool last year he got a stronger grip on the letter sounds and figured out on his own how to sound out and read consonant-vowel-consonant words.  He also remembered words and what they looked like and even skipped over having to sound out each sound in a word. He did all those things without much help from us.  He would often surprise us when he could read words like “dragon” or “think”.  His older brother, Ewan, wasn’t as interested in letter learning and preferred to spend his time doing other things.   During his preschool he learned all the letters and their sounds too but it didn’t excite him as much.  Now that our 6 year old is in public school and is learning how to read we are discovering that reading doesn’t come as easily for him as it did for his brother.  I think he is average for his age and that it will click with him in time.

Here are some tips I’ve discovered in our (short) journey in helping our children read:

1) Don’t force it.  Most children will start reading and showing interest when they are ready.  Putting pressure on them will only give them a distaste for trying.  When Isaac (the younger) started reading before Ewan (the oldest), I felt like Ewan should be catching up with him simply because Ewan is older.  It took me a while to relax and realize that children learn differently and at different paces.

2) Get some early reader books.  We have a set of books called BOB Books that we like a lot.  They are very short and when a beginning reader can read it they feel accomplished.  There are several “I Can Read” books available for more advanced early readers too.  Jack and Annie Magic Treehouse books are also good books for (more advanced) early readers.  The stories are interesting to keep kids engaged and reading on their own.

3) When teaching your kids the letters of the alphabet spend more time talking about the letter sounds than the letter names.  When it comes to reading the letter name doesn’t matter as much as the sounds it makes.

4)We’ve used the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  I like this book a lot and it has helped Ewan make progress in his reading skills.  We are only on lesson 26 now but I’ve noticed a difference.  Before school started we were doing daily lessons but since school is in session it is more difficult to do it everyday.

5) Practice reading everyday.  Even just 10 minutes a day.

6) Read to your children everyday.

7) Try an online program to teach phonics and early reading skills.  Starfall is a GREAT pre-reading website for kids.  Explode the Code has an online program that is interactive and fun for kids.  Explode the Code teaches phonics and reading.  A one year subscription costs $55 and is worth the investment.  Explode the Code also has workbooks that children love and the online program in based on the workbooks.  We bought a subscription for our homeschool this year and both boys spend time on it several times a week.  I have found that since Ewan is in public school he is more excited about coming home and doing some Explode the Code online than he would be at doing a workbook.  The online program monitors their successes and automatically adjusts the lessons to their difficulty level.  BBC also has several games and reading activities online that you can have your kids play.

8) Praise their efforts and willingness to try a new reading challenge.

What have you done to encourage your kids in their reading? What challenges have you overcome?

7 Responses to Helping Your Child Read

  • Comment by Sharon M
    November 5, 2009 @ 6:20 am

    I’ve been wanting to try the “Teach Your Child to Read” book. There’s a possibility that we might be in the US next year, and I don’t want our son to start first grade without any reading ability. He’s learning sounds and writing in Arabic, but that’s not going to do him any good in the US! :-) Maybe I’ll have my MIL bring it over next month.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Debbie P.
    November 5, 2009 @ 6:24 am

    We’re using “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” and so far it is going well. Our son is on lesson 13.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Melissa
    November 5, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

    Read, read, read everyday!! :)

    Read with your child, read to your child, read in front of your child; visit the library, watch television with the captions on, talk about letters on signs and packaging, etc…Find a subject that motivates your child and read books about those concepts! Phonics readers can be helpful, but great stories are important too!

    Amelia, I appreciate that you mentioned that all children are different…no “one” program or learning style works for all kids! :) Remember the “Hooked on Phonics” craze?

    And one more thing…just because a child can decode the words DOES NOT mean that they are understanding the meaning! (I can “read” a page of Spanish pretty convincingly, but I would not be able to translate it for you!) Be sure to talk about the story and picture clues to give your child some more scaffolding for comprehension.

    Here are few posts I’ve written about the subject:
    Starting Out Right
    Storytime

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    November 5, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

    My son will be entering kindergarten next year, and we’ve found a website that we really like to help him. It’s called http://www.qwizzysworld.com, and there is a section devoted just to early elementary children. They have online quizzes that help kids practice initial letter sounds, rhyming words, and other basic literacy skills. My son LOVES the computer, so it’s easy to motivate him to try the quizzes, and he loves the fact that he gets positive and immediate feedback. When your child gets a little older, you can also create reading comprehension quizzes that can help you determine whether he is just decoding or truly understanding what he reads.

    We do read together every single day. I am fortunate in that he has always enjoyed listening to stories and talking about what we’ve read. I am hoping that as long as I keep exposing him to high-interest stories and making it fun, the word recognition and decoding will come in time.

  • Comment by Amanda
    November 5, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

    It’s funny that you wrote about reading today. I almost wrote a post about it on Tuesday. I really like your first point! I was going to say how I am not in a hurry to teach Annabelle how to read. My sister-in-law is a reading teacher and her first daughter learned very early. My niece had a lot of problems when she got into first grade, because she was so far advanced and got bored very easily. Her second daughter learned a little later, but had a much better time in school. She is now in the third grade and still has a high reading ability.

    I do think my daughter will read early only because she LOVES books. We read them all the time. She “reads” all the time. But I am not going to force it.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Heidi
    November 10, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

    My son and I love the BOB books and I’m reading the Magic Treehouse series to my son right now. He and I are really enjoying the books! Starfall was recommended by my son’s teacher (he’s in kindergarten) as well the Literacy Center website to practice early emergent reading.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    November 13, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

    That’s fantastic that he taught himself to read at four- wow!
    My son constantly had us reading books to him, but he was never interested in learning to do it himself.
    So kinder and 1st grade have pushed him to do it.
    He’s turning out to be a great reader but would much rather have daddy or I read to him.
    We’re trying to think of ways to excite him about doing it himself…

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