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How to succeed in teaching your children to read

Updated on February 29, 2020

Life as a parent is full of great milestones. From the baby’s first breath, first cry, when the newborn first rolls over, even the first step, a parent has a lot to be proud of. At the same time, parenting is a lot of work.

As our children grow, the amount they learn compounds upon itself. You teach your child with every action, every word, and that is why it is vital to teach them literacy from the very start.

With something so simple as a nightly bedtime story, you can instill a love of books and reading in your child. As time goes by, you will know what genres specifically interest your son or daughter. Remember this for later when it comes time to start the process of your young one reading their bedtime stories on their own!


The Montessori Method

Teaching a child to read begins at a basic level with words spoken and heard. This is why it is important to focus on a minimum of “baby talk” while the child is young. He or she is learning to speak and learning how each word is supposed to sound, from you.

A great appreciation for books and the written word cannot truly develop until we learn what the relationship is between these letters and the words we hear and what we see on paper.

An effective approach to building the foundation for literacy is called the Montessori method. This method begins with three basic steps:

  • Naming – Taking an object which is easily recognized (a figurine of an animal, for example) show the object to the child and speak the object’s name. Through repetition and positive reinforcement the child will recognize this object. Don’t describe the object, just name it.
  • Demonstrate – Your child should be able to, now that they can name the object, demonstrate which object is which when placed with other objects. If incorrect, remind the child what the object they demonstrated is. This will help to reinforce differences in objects.
  • Recognition – Now, by merely pointing to an object that you have been teaching, your child should be able to tell you what it is when asked.

With this concept in mind, you can set up your child for an easy avenue into reading. How you proceed from this basic point depends on your own preference, and what best captures your child’s attention.

Operate within Your Child's Limits

Reading should be undertaken with joy. If you turn reading into a punishment, the child will have difficulty separating the punished feeling from their reading. This can stunt their progress as their reading levels get progressively more difficult through elementary school.

Keep in mind your child's interests as you guide their reading growth, and use their interests to help them become assertive - let them pick out their own library books within their reading level and slightly above where they currently read.

Save the reading challenges for days where your child is in a good head space to be challenged - and believe me, they will be ready for challenges!


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