Start reading to child as soon as she enters the world and you will be amazed at how fast she learns. Turn off the television, computer, and phone. Enjoy spending time with your child and follow these 4 steps to get your child reading:
Step 1. YOUR CHILD IS READY FOR LISTENING (Newborn - Age 6)
- Read at least one book each day to your child. Select a time when the household is calm and quiet. Before bedtime is a great time.
- As your child gets older, point to the words as you read the book. Ask your child to repeat site words or funny words like choo, choo.
- Talk about the pictures in the book. Point to the images and ask your child to tell you what they are.
Step 2: YOUR CHILD IS READY TO LEARN HER LETTERS (Ages 2 - 4)
- Teach your child the alphabet song and the sound each letter makes.
- When your child can hold and maneuver a pencil comfortably, help her to write each letter (approx. one hour per day). It should be a time when the household is calm and quiet.
- Teach your child how to write one new letter each day. (For example: DAY 1 – Work on capital “A” and lowercase “a” – use paper with the appropriate 3-line format. Teach your child the stokes needed to create the letter. Talk about all the words that start with “A”. Also, go through one of their storybooks and find all the words that starts with “A”.)
Step 3: YOUR CHILD IS READY TO LEARN WORDS (Ages 3.5 and up)
When your child is proficient in writing the letters of the alphabet and she also knows the sound each letter makes, it’s time to start putting the sounds and letters together.
- Buy a set of durable letters or make your own out of cardboard, old cereal boxes, or construction paper.
- Use the letters to help your child spell her name.
- Use the letters to spell simple words (cat, sat, dog, etc.). Sound out each letter while you are creating the words.
- Play games with the letters
i.e. give her 3 letters a, t, c – then ask you child to spell cat.
i.e. give her 4 letters a, t, c, r – then ask your child to spell cat again.
i.e. ask your child to give you a set of letters to spell a word of her choosing
- Continuously point out new words. Read signs on the street and in stores.
Step 4: YOUR CHILD IS READY TO READ (Ages 3.5 and up)
Incorporate reading and writing at the same time. Buy a set of progressive reading books or select books from your local library.
- For every unfamiliar word the child reads, have her write the word on an index card after she finishes the book.
- Put the words in a basket.
- Have your child read each book until she can read it fluently.
- Have your child read the words on the index cards without the picture cues from the book. When your child can read the words, move on to the next book.
Gage your child's ability and adjust accordingly. Don't forget to praise your child when she attempts a new milestone and succeeds. This process should be fun and never forced. And play games to enhance the learning process (i.e. checker, Tic, tac, Toe, Scrabble, flash cards, dominos, or any dice game.)