Reading is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. As child development specialists would tell you, it must be developed and maintained over time. Thus, there’s a prime age range that’s appropriate to teach your child to read, and the suggested number is between three and five years of age. If they are taught younger, they’ll be better off in the future. However, experts also say that teaching your kid how to read won’t be that easy. It’s a lot like teaching them how to ride a bike or swim. It would indeed be difficult for them at first. But once they have a grasp on the concept, they can begin to learn on their own.
Fortunately, when it comes to your child’s development, there are several age-appropriate programs available that could help them with skills like reading, writing, math skills, and other topics. When it comes to reading, you can explore various offerings such as the Reading Headstart program and others like it. These programs are designed to not only teach your child valuable skills, but you will also learn something regarding how to approach reading development with your child.
Meanwhile, you can also test several approaches of your own and execute them at home. Here are a few ideas to help your child get started:
Utilize Letter Magnets
Colorful and attractive letter magnets are easy to access, and there’s no clean-up required. It’s possible to create a game that will keep your child engaged in the activity. It can be as simple as sitting in front of the fridge where the magnets are placed and ask, ‘How do you spell pot?’ or ‘Can you spell dog?’ Granted, they will likely need some assistance during this process, so remain patient with your child. Keep in mind that they might need help with vowel sounds association, too.
Play Word Games
Playing word games can also teach your child the fun of learning something new, like reading. These games can be done at home while watching TV or even in the car while on a trip or running errands. It can be as simple as pointing to a word on a billboard or a building and asking, ‘What letter does that start with?’ or ‘What rhymes with that word?’ This process will not only teach them how to pronounce certain words or improve their word association, but it will teach them critical thinking like rhyming.
Reading together will not only help your child develop their reading skills, but it will also give you both valuable time together. When reading them a book at night before bed, sit where they can see the pages. Engage them by asking questions or ask about things they see on the pages. Eventually, they will be able to read whole words and sentences by themselves, which will be incredibly rewarding for you both.
This strategy can also be utilized while watching a show together by pointing out an object or a word and asking them if they recognize it. It also helps to make them accustomed to receiving word-rich games, books, or educational-related toys as gifts during the holiday season or their birthdays.
Talk To Your Child
Aside from playing games and helping them develop reading skills, talking is a good way to practice. If your child could hold a conversation, even using just a few words, that would familiarize them with specific words and letter sounds. It’s okay if they might not understand everything you’re saying. Listening to you speak will not only introduce them to phonemic awareness regarding how certain words or letter combinations are pronounced, but this will also help expand their vocabulary and affirm words they already know.
When you do sit down with them, use your voice to your advantage. As you speak, they will hear different afflictions in your voice, like when you are excited or happy. Use such changes and nuances to create a positive connection between being happy and learning to read. Your voice is one of your greatest tools when teaching your child how to read.
Teaching your child how to read doesn’t have to be frustrating or feel like a chore. If you make it fun for them, it would likely be fun for you, too. Keep it interesting by asking questions about different things. Gauge their understanding and coach them along the way.
Before long, you’ll see a difference in their understanding as they grow older and use this skill in their own way. Thus, it’s essential to encourage them as they learn, and teach them what they need to know to better their future.