Parents want to give their child the best start possible in life, and most realize that helping children learn to read is the best way to kick-start their learning and literacy skills. Studies have been done that demonstrate the connection between reading and success in life, but what can you do to help your child learn to read? Here are several ways you can help build reading skills in children and get them off and running to a life of happiness and success.
Reading is a Skill
Remember that reading is a skill that can be learned. As with any skill, some are naturally better at it than others, but anyone can become good at it. This means that teaching your child to read is the same as teaching them anything else. Children are sponges who naturally absorb new skills. Start early and keep at it!
Lead by example. Use the same techniques you’d use to teach them to use a spoon or have proper manners. Be patient, understanding and diligent, and you’ll find gradually that reading skills in children will become more apparent.
The more you talk to your kids, the better their vocabulary becomes, and the better they will be able to absorb the written word as they comprehend the spoken word. You don’t have to always have deep, meaningful conversations; idle chit-chat is just as good. Talk to them constantly about anything they happen to be doing at the time. The more words you expose them to, the better their reading skills will be.
Read to Your Child
This may be the most important thing you can do to teach your child to read. Everyone points this out, but that’s because it is true. The more you read to your child, and at a younger age, the better their skills will become. Kids who enjoy lots of reading time with their parents tend to develop a real love for stories and literature and are much more likely to pursue pleasure reading as they get older as a result.
Have Your Child Read to You
As children progress to being able to read themselves, have them start to read stories to you. Not only can you help them with words and phrases that might still be tricky, you’ll find that they love the thrill of swapping roles and getting to play the reader to entertain you.
The sounds of words are important. Teach your children to be aware of how sounds go together to create words. When they encounter a tricky word, have them sound it out letter by letter. Play letter games and work with them using A-B-C books, flash cards and other literacy and reading tools and games. Make the process of learning sounds fun and you may find they keep coming back for more.
Building reading skills in children requires diligence, patience and understanding but is no different from any other skill. Starting out with a free interactive eBook from our library can add fun and visual stimulation to the process. Take a look at the variety of early literacy tools we have available — there’s no time like the present!