9 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Read


Many parents do not have to worry about their kids’ learning process until they are grown and started going to school. A common misconception is that reading comes naturally with continued learning. However, sentence delivery is a complex skill and- for most children- often takes the right teaching skills and strategies to accomplish.

Even though learning how to read can be a daunting task, it becomes straightforward and simple when you follow the right steps.

If your kids have the slightest curiosity about reading, this guide will come in handy; it contains actionable tips to help you teach the kids how to read at home.

Focus on the Core Learning Skills

Learning to read is a process; unless the child gets the basics right, it will be challenging in the long-run. Usually, learning entails diverse skills, with the basic ones being phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency.

  • Fluency refers to the child’s capacity to read aloud accurately and at high speed and understand what they are reading.
  • Reading comprehension involves understanding what a given text, whether in information books or storybooks, means.
  • Vocabulary refers to the comprehension of words’ meanings, context, and definitions.
  • Phonics refers to the child’s capacity to recognize how different letters sound.
  • Phonemic awareness is the learner’s capacity to hear and manipulate diverse sounds within a word.

As you plan to teach your child how to read, your strategies and ideas should revolve around achieving these skills – fluency, reading comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, and phonemic awareness.

Create Phonemic Awareness Using Rhymes and Songs

Ever wondered why you were taught those nursery rhymes and songs? It wasn’t for fun – the rhymes and rhythm are part of the learning process. The importance of phonics when learning to read is understated. For instance, using songs and rhymes help the kids learn syllables and sounds through words.

A significant way to build phonemic awareness is by reciting songs together and clapping rhythmically. Although it appears playful, this bonding activity helps the children develop the necessary literacy skills,  setting them up for reading success.

Write Simple Words on Cards

Making simple word flashcards at home is another easy way to help kids learn how to read fast. Use a packet of flashcards from the store to write words with three sounds, at first. For example, you may write words such as pot, sun, or sit and ask the kids to pick one card at a time and then practice reading out loud.

The idea behind the use of simple words on cards is for the kids to master different sounds. The learners are required to identify the sounds they hear. This practice is essential because it helps the kids develop essential phonics and decoding skills, making it easy for them to master the sound and the words.

Incorporate Word Games in Your Teaching

As the sessions progress, introduce word games regularly. Adopt games that build on the kids’ listening abilities and their capacity to identify and manipulate sounds in words. This word-games approach helps capture the attention of the kids. Therefore, they won’t get distracted because you engage them in one of the favorite game activities.

When you know that the kids can identify words, your next step should be helping them learn how to identify sounds. Asking questions will help you accomplish this learning phase. For instance, ask questions like “what sound does the word pot start with?”

Use the answers you get to these questions to gauge the comprehension progress of the child. If it is not productive for your child, change the teaching approach.

Use Print-Rich Environment to Engage the Child

Teach your child how to read daily. Create a print-rich environment to develop your children’s reading abilities. Use printed words on labels, books, charts, and posters to help the child familiarize themselves with letters, symbols, and sounds.

Even when you are not on a learning session, perhaps you are out for lunch or dinner, show them letters on signs, billboards, and posters. With time, start modeling the sounds to help them learn about words. First, only engage the kid with the first letters in any words they see and try asking them to memorize that letter’s sound. Afterward, you can progress in whichever direction suits your child.

Create a Reading Routine

Reading to a child is also considered an effective way of instilling children’s ability to learn how to read. When you read to them, you are helping them learn how to pronounce words and at the same time build comprehension skills. Additionally, reading out to your child helps them grow their vocabulary.

When you adopt a reading schedule, the child becomes eager to learn. The curiosity to know more stories will fuel their determination to fluency.  Moreover, reading every night develops a reading culture in your kid, which is a step towards successful reading comprehension. Every time you are out shopping, get the kids something to read, and while reading out to them, ask questions – it is a proven way of strengthening the child’s comprehension skills.

Use Technology to Engage Your Child

Make the learning process a bit enjoyable so that the kid remains motivated to learn. Usually, kids are very eager and enthusiastic to learn. However,  they can easily give up when they start feeling overwhelmed. You may become demoralized in such cases, especially if you are unsure of the cause of their frustration.

Keeping your child within their ability level is one way to ensure that they are motivated. Embrace technology and follow self-paced lessons that offer rewards to the child whenever they complete certain activities or reach new levels. This approach keeps the learners motivated and eager for more.

Use Games to Help the Child in Memorizing Words

Children love games, so using them in the learning process can help them learn and comprehend quickly. Specifically, playing games can help the child in memorizing words that they often see each day.

Whereas it is not easy to sound out sight words, using games can help the child recognize such words on sight. Some of the high-frequency words include: had, we, I, you, have, do, was, were, and are- common in English sentences.

The gaming approach to learning sight words embraces the strategy, “you see the words and say the words.” Focus on guiding your child to learn how to identify sounds and read to increase their chances of attaining fluency. You can achieve this by playing with flashcards or using various reading programs to help the child learn more about sight words.

Exercise Patience

Teaching children how to read is different from teaching adults. Their comprehension ability is significantly low, so you should exercise some patience with them. Similarly, each child has their learning pace – however tempting it may be- do not compare your child with others.

Your first teaching objective should be to learn the child’s learning abilities so that you can employ the right skills.

Teaching a child how to read isn’t a simple task; it requires the right teaching skills and the understanding of the various core learning concepts. Take a significant amount of your time to evaluate and understand your child’s learning abilities and pace so that you can avoid going beyond their level. Finally, develop a reading schedule -mix reading with engaging outdoor activities– and use exciting reading materials and technology to keep the child engaged, motivated, and focused. Additionally, make the teaching sessions interactive.  Therefore, incorporate various learning skills, materials, and approaches to help your kids master phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, phonemic awareness, and attain fluency.

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