7 Steps to teach your child to read
Did you know that most children don’t start actively reading until around 6 years old?
Does that make you feel better as your 3-year-old fails to grasp a sentence of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?
We love that. And whether we despise those diabolical child modelling reality shows or not, we are still running our own private reality show, albeit on a far healthier and less competitive level.
We want to be proud of our kids and that’s fine. How we harness that need is what defines us as overly obsessive for our sake or attentively conscious for our child’s sake.
We should all be the latter for obvious reasons. So here’s how to do all we can to foster interest and growth in one very core childhood skill: reading.
How to teach kids to read?
Inculcating the interest for the written word is key in teaching your child to read. Here are 7 steps on how to teach a child to read and make the learning interesting at the same time.
One: Read to your child
Let’s start with the bleeding obvious, but it’s actually not to most of us. We think if our kids are still pottering about in the A’s, Bs and Cs, reading anything other than the line under a picture of a hippopotamus saying ‘hippopotamus’ is about the extent of it.
Well, guess what; even if your child is too young to understand a word of anything from Roald Dahl to Charles Dickens, their minds start to gradually comprehend the flow of your words; the reassuring words of their mum and dad.
And it’s a different sound to them because you’re reading. And whether you’re a good reader or not, it’s a magical sound to a child. It’s also the basis for a love of the written word.
Two: Be a bookworm yourself
If you want your child to get the book bug, you have to set the tone yourself. Read often and read conspicuously. Make sure your child sees you reading and they’ll want to follow your lead.
Find out how to improve children's learning skills in our previous blog!
Three: Listen to audio books
Sit down with a nice, well-read kid’s story with a great narrator and enjoy it with your child. For one, it’s a nice bonding experience. And two, you have no choice but to stare into space and listen to the word pictures and the lilt of the voice; a nice way to build the reading habit.
Four: Read picture books
Early on, your child will enjoy reading more with some visual reference and there’s no shortage of picture books. Read the words; discuss how they relate to the pictures. Above all, take your time and make it an experience, not a chore.
Five: Start mixing up the genres
From the make-believe books of infancy to the fiction and non-fiction as they grow older, mix up their reading and explain what it is. Google for ‘interesting books to read’ and encourage them to start reading it. Tell them if it’s a real story or fiction and explain what that means.
Six: Teach your child to read faster
That means discouraging them from sticking a finger on each word as they read. If your child reads out loud often, their reading will naturally begin to flow and become more confident. But the more you encourage them to look at groups of words rather than single words, the faster their reading will become.
Seven: Ask questions about what your kids read
Reading is only beneficial if the words sink in. So to ensure your child isn’t just going through the motions, tell them you’re going to quiz them on what they read afterwards. That way they’ll make a bigger effort to understand what they read, not just recite it.