How to Help Encourage Your Child to Read
Help Your Child Learn to Read
I remember when my daughter came home from school one day and told me that she wanted to read "big books" like me. She had been in Kindergarten for only 3 weeks and I was impressed to see the kindergarten class was already working on their first couple of words.
When I was in school we were only learning the sounds of letters in kindergarten, we didn't touch upon reading until first or second grade. Schools have certainly moved up the pace and I wanted to be sure my daughter could not only keep up but thrive when it came to reading.
Reading to Your Child and More
I had always read to my daughter, a bedtime story was part of our routine and we had recently began to read chapter books. I knew how good that was for her but I wanted some creative ideas to encourage her to read as well. I did some research and asked other parents their advice.
Some Different Ideas
My daughter's second month in kindergarten she was awarded Star Reader for the month. I’m a proud parent, and I do attribute much of her reading success to the exercises I have listed below.
Label everything. I have labeled the refrigerator, the door, the table, the wall, the television, the computer, etc. You can label everything in the household. The practice of seeing the object and the word together is a great encouragement for kids to read and helps them to remember the words as well.
Touch Your Nose or Use Other Hand Gestures. This is a practice I actually learned from my daughter’s teacher. In order to help remember something she has the class tap their nose (it is a simple gesture for the kindergarten class but really any hand gesture will work) as they repeat the spelling of a word, or read the word several times while tapping their nose. My daughter uses this practice daily with new words that she learns.
Use Subtitles. When and if your child watches television, turn on the subtitles. Seeing the words as they are spoken is a wonderful way to help kids learn to read. I know that it is a common practice for people who are learning another language to subtitle in the language they are trying to learn, and it works just as well for early readers.
Use multi-sensory teaching methods. For years teachers have used multi-sensory teaching methods for children with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. This has been proven to work well for all kids that are learning to read. The idea is to have the child engage as many senses as he/she can at once while learning a letter or a word. One way to do this is to have a letter or a word cut out of sandpaper. The child can run his or her hands over the letter or word, touch, move and feel it. This can also be done with play dough and is a very effective practice to help children remember the shape and sound of a letter and/or word
Flashcards. Flashcards are an all time favorite of mine. It makes learning to read much like a game. The repetitive action of seeing and sounding out the words is an excellent practice for a beginning reader.
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The biggest advice I have for anyone teaching and encouraging a child to read is to be a reader. Kids are ultimately influenced by what they see. If your child is to have an interest in reading, they need to see that you have an interest as well. Reading to them everyday shows them your interest and gives you a great excuse to sit down and spend some time with your child. I am amazed at how quickly my daughter has been able to develop her reading ability. Kids want to learn and with a little time and encouragement teaching them to read can be a fun and exciting time.
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