Reading skills are not only useful in school but also in life, generally speaking. The ability to read makes your child feel more confident and motivated throughout the learning journey. When your child possesses excellent reading skills, he/she becomes more perceptive and can understand well what happens around him/her.
More so, he/she gains a tool not only for entertainment but also for gathering information.
The process of learning how to read is very different from learning how to speak. Both happen in time, yes, but when we’re talking about reading abilities, the progress is steady. That is why it is best to teach your child to read at a very young age. Preferably, before he/she enters pre-school.
When Should Parents Start Teaching Their Children To Read?
How can you tell when a child is ready to learn how to read? Well, when you notice that he/she speaks more fluently, its time they grab some skills for themselves. By nature, children are curious little souls, and they want to absorb as much information as possible. They are living sponges, so to speak. Printed texts will always fascinate them. Most parents go through, “what does this say? And “what does that mean?” questions from time to time. That is when the child wants to learn about the letters and the sounds they make.
There are instances where you will notice your children pretending to read while looking at books. If your child does that and can speak, take advantage of his/her curiosity, and start the teaching process asap.
Of course, your child’s intention to learn how to read is not enough. It’s your responsibility as a parent or guardian to create a supportive environment. Your child will not start showing interest in books if there aren’t any around him/her. So, how do you come in?
• Provide your child with age-appropriate books.
• Read storiesaloud for them during the day, as well as before bedtime.
• Create a schedule that allows reading exciting stories to your child. That way, he/she will develop an interest in books and will soon want to be able to read by himself/herself.
You should realize that children cannot learn to read all by themselves. As long as you manage to make it a fun activity, children gain and sustain interest in books, which gives them the confidence to start learning to read.
Moreover, reading more and more enriches your child’s vocabulary as well as sharpen their reading skills even better.
Below are tips on how to help your child learn how to read.
Lay the Foundation for Reading through Conversation
As mentioned earlier, children must know how to speak first before they learn how to read. Talk to them often about anything and have them respond to you as well. At a young age, kids actually enjoy listening to you, and they will pay attention to anything you say. Of course, exceptions apply.
You can tell stories, think out loud about household chores and trivial things, play word games, ask questions, and even sing songs. The child will most likely join you.
Make Reading A Daily Activity
Routine is something that manages to instill habits. It works on adults, and it works on children as well. If you take the time to read to your child every day, he/she will consider it a regular thing. Make it a habit to read through an exciting storybook every night before bedtime. The benefits are threefold. One, your child will be interested in books. Two, this is the time to bond with your child. Three, it helps you build a strong and healthy relationship with your kid.
Make Sure That Your Child Understands What You’re Reading to him/her
While parents make an effort to read to their kids, they don’t emphasize reading comprehension. You have to make sure that your child understands what you are reading for him/her.
For instance, let’s say that your story includes, “The little girl took her basket and went to pick apples.” As you read, take a short break and question your child about what you’ve just read. Ask questions like, “What did the little girl take?” or “What is the little girl going to pick?”
Don’t expect your child to get this from the first few attempts. But in time, they begin to pay more attention as questions are expected. Questions will boost your children’s understanding. You don’t have to do this every time you read stories to them because it might become monotonous. I’d say though, the more you do it, the better.
Make Sure To Have Plenty Of Books
How many books have you read more than once? My guess is that not so many. Children also get bored when you keep reading the same book over and over. Fortunately, there are varieties of children’s books available in book stores. Make sure your bookshelf at home has plenty of them. Give your children the chance to choose for themselves what they want to read.
Make Reading Fun
Anything fun attracts kids’ attention, so reading should not be boring. Use different voices and tones for different characters. You can also dramatize and make sound effects to be more exciting.