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Tips for Learning to Read

Updated on January 1, 2013
Children reading together
Children reading together | Source

Easy Reading Tips For Parents

I've been a book nerd for as long as I can remember. Before I even started Kindergarten, my dad taught me how to read my first book, Winnie the Pooh All Year Long, which I still have today as a memento. For children, learning to read comes first and foremost from their parents efforts. I'm lucky to have had a father patient enough to sit with me every night until I could finally read that little book to him all by myself. The following are tips for parents to help their child learn to read.

Did your parents read to you?

Did your parents read to you regularly when you were a child?

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Teaching Children to Read

1. Talk to your Child

Learning oral language skills is a key tip for parents for teaching a child to learn to read. Talk to your child, sing to them, ask questions, and listen to them. My father always let me tell him stories at night, supposedly to help him sleep even though I'm sure I was the one who fell asleep first.

Other examples of ways that you can help your child hone their oral language skills are:

  • Tell stories
  • Talk to your child about what you're doing or thinking
  • Ask your child questions. For example, ask them what they did that day.
  • Encourage them to tell you what they are thinking or feeling
  • Play rhyme and riddle games and sing songs that you can do together

2. Make it fun

Making reading a fun activity can help your child be more willing to put in the time and effort it takes to get that skill down. Reading stories aloud is always a good idea, especially if you do it with a little more drama and excitement by using different voices for each character, acting it out, or even just using your child's name in place of the main character's name.

Here are a few more tips to help parents make reading fun:

  • Reread the story as many times as your child wants
  • Choose books or authors they enjoy the most
  • Read stories with repetitive parts that your child can join in on

3. Read Everyday

One of the best things for children is routine. If your reading time is fun, it may just be the part of their day they look forward to the most so don't forget to set aside time for it. This activity isn't just great for learning, it is also a way for you two to bond and spend quality time together.

There are a few things to continue to keep in mind when following this routine:

  • Start doing this at a very young age.
  • Read slow. Rushing through the story might prevent the child from actually keeping up with with picturing what is going on.
  • Choose a comfy spot to read.
  • Take books along with you to read even when you are travelling or away from home for any other reason.
  • Keep reading to them even after they've learned how to do it themselves. This keeps up their interest for reading.

4. Be an Example

Your child looks to you as a role model for many things in their life. Showing them that reading is important for other things like information is also key. Let them read recipes with you, emails from friends or relatives, or even menus in restaurants. I remember on road trips my dad helped me learn how to read signs on the road.

5. Talk about Books

Letting your child talk to you about what they read helps them to understand it and connect it with their own life. It also can help with their vocabulary as they ask clarification questions about words or phrases.

This particular point is one I remember well. I always told my dad what I'd been reading and still do sometimes today. He would let me go into detail for hours as he did whatever project around the house he was working on. Thanks to him, I was unafraid to go up to the nearest adult, like my teachers at school, and ask questions or pick up a dictionary and look up a word. I've also had a natural knack for examining what I read, which lead me to pursue literature once I reached college. I always wanted to keep reading books just so I could tell him all about them once he got home from work after school.

While your child may not go into nearly as much detail as I did or go on to be a literature major, there are still plenty of ways to get your child talking about books so that they keep on reading. Here are some examples of how you can talk to your child about books:

  • Ask them what they're reading and what it's about.
  • Recommend books for your child to read that you enjoyed at their age. Like I mention in my profile page, my dad recommended The Hobbit when I was in fifth grade because his friend said it was a great read, which lead me to read any J.R.R. Tolkien novel I could get my hands on for the next couple years afterwards.
  • Encourage your child to think critically about the story. Do they agree with the author? Why or why not?
  • Give them time to think about the story or read further, then ask them about it again a couple of days later.

6. Listen to your child read

My father always had me read what I felt were my essays out loud the day I got them back from the teacher. Reading out loud helps your child improve their reading skills. Just make sure to listen and react when appropriate with praise. Be specific about what they are doing well and don't interrupt while they read.

There are a few other simple tips and ideas for things that you can do while you listen to your child read:

  • Be patient as they work their way through tricky words.
  • Let them read when you know you won't be interrupted.
  • Take turns with the reading.
  • Talk about what they read or ask questions to show that you were listening and to help your child understand what they just read.

7. Recognize their efforts

Remember that your support is essential to helping your child learn to read. Make sure that they know that you value their efforts by being patient, flexible, aware of their reading level, and just giving praise for their hard work.

© 2012 Lisa


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    • Mellyunplugged profile image

      Melvin Augustine 

      7 years ago from India

      Great Article ! Made me to remember the first book I read. A book in my mother tongue 'malayalam'. Also reminded me about the support that my grandmother provided to develop a reading habit in me. She made it compulsory to read newspaper daily and explain 5 headlines to her daily. loved reading this article and Voted up ! :)

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      7 years ago from Taos, NM

      Excellent article that all parents should read! Teaching your child to read or at least reading with them is essential for them to do well in school - even pre-school. This is a wonderful article full of great ideas and advice. As a retired teacher, I can't thank you enough for writing such a common sense article. My parents taught my sister and I to read and read to us every night. The best times I remember are sitting on my Dad's lap as he read Mother Goose nursery rhymes to us. Those are moments I have treasured all my life especially since he has passed on. I am glad to see you mention singing to children and telling them stories and having children tell stories to you. That is also so important to their learning development. I love this article! Thanks for sharing you knowledge with us today. Voted up and shared!

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      7 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      It's so important to develop a love of reading in children. My mother always read to me, and I became an avid reader. I always read to my three sons, and they developed a love of reading as well. Now they have passed it on to their children as well by reading to them as they grew up. Great hub - voted up, interesting and useful!

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 

      7 years ago

      Great suggestions!! I love the one about taking turns reading--the younger the child, the more the adult can read, and as the years pass and the child's skill develops, the child can read more. Keep the story going, and enjoy it together. It is such a great time to bond.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wonderful and very useful article!!! I am committed to helping Aa'Liyah develop a love of reading and thankfully, she loves our reading time :-) What a nice tribute to your dad that his actions left you with all these great memories...

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very informative. Voted up!!


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