As people reach high school, many begin to question why they need to know all of those mathematical equations or scientific principles. They wonder if they will ever use square roots or need to know how to calculate velocity. Unless they end up becoming a mathematician or a scientist of some sort, the answer is probably no.
While these things are important to learn to some extent, the majority of us will never use anything more than division, for which we have a handy tool—the calculator. But one thing that is important to learn, year after year in school, is literacy. Reading and writing are things that we all will use throughout our entire lives.
In our last blog, we discussed the benefits of teaching children how to read at a young age. In this blog, we will give you tips to teaching your little ones how to learn to read. At Yellow Brick Road, we know that every child learns differently and at different paces.
There is no best way to teach your child to read. Depending on how they learn, you will want to try different methods. Since they are just beginning to learn, you will have to try a few ways to find out what works best for them.
Learn The Letters
The first thing you must do it teach your child the alphabet. They must know what makes up the words before they can understand the words. Teaching your child the alphabet can start as getting them to memorize the song. Sing to them starting at a young age, allow them to listen along, get used to the song, and eventually start singing along. While they may not understand just what they are singing yet, it will help them once you start showing them the alphabet.
When kids are young, they will best be able to recognize letters by seeing them on visual aids. Read them alphabet books, even before they sing the song along with you. This will help them begin to understand the letters and recognize the sounds that go along with each letter. Seeing the pictures are you read these books will also help them begin to connect the shape with the letter name and sound.
Once your child starts to recognize the letter shapes, sounds, and names, teach them how to write them, while this part is more important to teaching them to write, it will help them learn the letters and read better as well. Teach them both capital and lowercase letters, so they don’t get tripped up when they come across a capital “Q”.
Begin to point out letters and have your child tell you what letter it is, what the sound is, and a word that starts with that letter. Help them out and be patient if they get stuck. Have them tell you what letters are in their name, your name, and the name of your family pet. Once your child has mastered the alphabet, it is time to move on to reading!
Learn to Read
Teaching your child to read will be a slow and rigorous process. There are many different things you can do to get them reading throughout their everyday tasks.
Your kids encounters a lot of different items throughout the day, from attempting to dress themselves to playing with toys or finding a snack, they are constantly getting into something. You can help them learn to recognize different words and how the letters they previously learned can create different words. Add labels to anything that you child might come in contact with, it may make your home look like a kindergarten class for a while, but it will help them connect items to their names. Add labels to things like:
- Drawers- Identify the contents in each drawer (ex: sock drawer or silverware drawer).
- Furniture in each room- such as the refrigerator, toilet, bathtub, desk, table, lamp, etc.
- The parts of your home- these can include the walls, door, windows, light switch, fireplace, and so on.
- Categorized items- if their toys are split into stuffed animals, games, and blocks, label them as such. If your pantry is organized label it with things likes snack, cereal, dinner, and more.
You can label everything in your home if you truly feel like it, and obviously your children won’t be able to read every word, like silverware, but seeing the word repeatedly and you telling them what it says will help the recognize the word, the letters, and eventually be able to sound it out and know that it says “silverware” rather than being told.
These labels are the perfect way to get your kid constantly surrounded by reading material, they will start seeing the letters they understand put together and sound out what the word is saying. This will help them recognize words.
Once the labeling system begins to have an affect on your child’s reading ability, have them read other labels to you. Start at the grocery store and have them read the signs above each aisle. Ask them what words say in restaurants, on the sides of buildings, or at the doctor’s office. This will expose them to more words than the ones labeled in your home.
Read A Lot
Even if you are not a reader, read in front of your children and to your children. Reading with them for 20 minutes a day can help them develop their literacy skills. Practice makes perfect, and helping your child read will make them advance faster and help them learn more.
Read to your child daily. This should not start after they recognize letters, and begin to read different words. This should begin as early as possible. Read to your newborn, as they grow older, change the books to become more advanced so they can be challenged a little more. Read what they enjoy, incorporate different books with sounds, textures, rhymes, and whatever else you can find!
As you child begins to memorize the book, they can read it to you, or pretend to. But eventually they will begin to recognize the words on the page and be able to read them. So even if they are just reciting the book from memory, don’t stop them, they will eventually pay attention to the words and begin to actually read it.
Once your child begins to read the books you read to them, buy new books for them and ask them to read them to you. Getting a new book will get your child excited about reading and will challenge them to actually pay attention to the words and not just recite it from memory. It is also a great way to reward your kids for reading a book and mastering it. Each time they perfect a book, bring them to the bookstore and have them pick out a new one. This can also help them stay excited about reading long into adulthood.
Not only should you read to them and have them read to you, but you should read yourself. This sets a good example, and as we all know, kids learn many traits and habits from watching their parents. So if they catch you reading to yourself in your free time, they will begin reading to themselves as well and realize that it is a good way to spend time. You can even put time aside before their nap to read together to yourselves for 15 minutes.
Encourage Their Skills
As you child grows and begins to read harder and more advanced books, encourage them. Ask about their book, ask them to read out loud while you are making dinner. Offer to take them to the bookstore or library every few weeks to get them new books.
As they begin reading chapter books, teach them the different genres and encourage them to read a different one every time. They may find that they like a genre more than they thought they would. And never push them to read something if it doesn’t interest them. Many adults now hate reading because they were forced to read books that they had no interest in throughout all of school. Allowing them to read what they find entertaining will keep reading fun for them.
Help your child find a purpose in what they are reading. Get them excited to continue reading through their book by asking them what they think will happen next or what they want to happen, this will encourage them to continue turning the page.
In an Oprah.com article, a teacher, Amy Basinski-Long, noticed that her learning-disabled students improved their reading by more than three grade levels by reading Harry Potter. It challenged her students and relating it to their personal lives helped them find the informations relative. Her students enjoyed this series and learned to read better because of them. This shows the difference it makes when kids are reading what they enjoy rather than what they are being told to read.
If you want your children to grow up to enjoy reading, you need to allow them to read things they enjoy. While they will definitely have to read the books often taught in schools, allowing them to come home and read whatever they want will encourage them to keep reading and enjoying it.
Reading is an amazing thing. It allows you to travel into the past, to a different world, and learn the stories of people both real and fake. We read every single day of our lives. Teaching our kids to read at a young age will help them advance in their literacy skills and hopefully help them become lifelong readers.
Teaching your child to read at a young age has many different benefits. It takes time and patience, but helping them learn to read can help them advance in life and help them fall in love with the written word. If you want to teach your child to read, follow them tips. They may not all work for your child, so watch how your child learns and modify your teaching methods.
Yellow Brick Road Early Childhood Development Center knows that every child is different in their learning style and pace. We can help you child learn in the best way based on their style. Learn more about our center today and get started reading with your children!