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How to Teach Young Kids to Sight Read

Updated on March 10, 2015
Felisa Daskeo profile image

I am a certified teacher and have been tutoring young children for more than 30 years. I am sharing my experience in the tutorial business.

Catch the attention of the kids first, then you can teach them how to read.
Catch the attention of the kids first, then you can teach them how to read.

Present the Reading Book Properly

Young kids are often alarmed with new things because they think that they cannot do things on their own and they are afraid to commit mistake especially in school.

Because it is the first time of young kids to read a book, you have to present to them the book properly.

Say for example you are going to read a book about children. Show the book and let them see the book. Tell them something interesting about the book so that they will be curious and eager to hold the book and read it.


Catch the Kids' Attention

Teaching reading to beginners is fun and daunting. You have to be a very patient teacher. You have to learn to adapt to situations so that you can effectively teach the kids how to read.

When I first taught very young kids, I was stressed every day. The stress came from not having the full control of the class. Often times, the young kids were unruly because they were bored and they found other things to do instead of listen to me. I was just out from the university that time and just looking at the kids moving here and there was stressful since I didn’t know how to keep them quiet in their seats.

I almost gave up teaching but something stopped me while I was planning to quit and that was my love for the kids and my profession. If you love what you are doing, you will always find ways to make your work less stressful.

Sorry, if I have gone away from the topic about how to teach reading to young kids; it was just that I was carried away by emotion when I thought of how many years I have spent with the young kids.

The key when teaching young kids anything is to catch their interest and attention. It is very easy to teach reading because anybody can teach a five-year old child to read; but it is not the same when the children are still learning to read and they are all busy doing other things. If the kids have no interest in what you are saying; this means trouble. But if the kids sit down and become attentive, that means something.


Choose colorful pictures.
Choose colorful pictures.

First things first.

If you want the children’s attention, motivate them first to listen. You can tell them a story first using the book that you are going to read.

Say, “Children, today I am going to tell you a nice story about a man and his cat. Now listen and we will find out what happens to the man and his cat.”

I’m sure the children will all like to listen to you when you tell them that you are going to tell a nice story. The interest of the children depends upon how you introduce the story.

If you have introduced the story telling; go ahead and tell them a story. You can use the same book that you are going to read. After the story tell the kids, “Now that you know the story in the book, we are also going to read the story. Let me find out who is good in reading.”

As much as possible, choose a book that has colorful pictures so that the children will have more interest in what you are going to read.

Star of the Week

Show the “Star of the week” award. Tell the kids that the best reader will be given a star of the week award and the name will be written in the achiever chart. This is one of the motivating factors that work well with young kids. Young kids need praises, encouragements, and rewards. Think of other ideas that can inspire the kids to keep reading.



Open the Book for the Kids:

Give each child a book to read. Help the children to open their books. This is difficult at first because some children will flip on the pages and will not stay on the page you have opened. You can tell the kids to wait until you tell them to start reading with you.

Unlike phonics reading where you let the children sound out the letters and form words, in sight reading you teach them how to read the words and let them memorize the words so that the next time they see the words, they will be able to decipher them and read them. It is therefore important to keep reading the words again and again so that the kids will be able to retain the words in their memory and be able to read them.

The next thing to do is tell the kids to point to the words as you read. This is also hard for beginner readers. You have to guide everything they do from opening the book to pointing the words to reading the words; but this is fun. When the children finally start learning how to read, you will find out that they will be reading to themselves even without you telling them what to do.


Read with the Children:

Now, read the title of the story. Tell the children to follow after you as you read. Do this with the rest of the lines. For better result, read each line two or three times. Do not read too long because the children will get bored. After about ten minutes, stop reading and tell the kids to close their book and hand them to you.

The next day, repeat the same pages that you have read, and then proceed to the next page. Wait until the children have learned to read then you can read page by page without repeating them.

If you let the children read every day for at least ten minutes; their reading skills will be enhanced. After a few months the children can go on reading without getting bored. When children already know how to read; they will be excited to keep reading.



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