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At what age should a child learn to read?
Children and reading
Teaching your child to read should be an enjoyable activity for children - not a chore. Some parents treat every reading session as a test. If their child does not know a word they see this as a sign that their child is failing and get even more stressed. One of the keys to successful reading is to start reading with your child from an early age and consequently you will find they soon become a competent reader.
When should you start teaching reading?
Start from when they are a baby. Talk about the pictures and read the text to them. Choose rhyming books, picture books, story books and sing along with nursery rhyme books. As your child gets older, if you struggle to find a book that they are interested in, try a catalogue, children love to look at toys in catalogues. Look at the catalogues together and discuss and read about the products listed and look at the pictures. Additionally, take your child to the library, there are an array of fiction and non-fiction books for them to select from the library.
How to read with your child
Teaching reading is an interactive activity between both adult and child. Talk about the pictures in books with them and encourage and promote a discussion about the book. Point to the words as you read and encourage them to join in whenever possible, repeating the words that you say. Before you read, look at the title, the blurb – if it has one-, talk about what they predict the book will be about and discuss the pictures on the front or back cover. Let your child open the book and again look at any pictures within the book. If your child is ready to read, first read the book to your child and then let them read it back to you so they can hear what the book and words should sound like. Read phrases together and encourage your child to read them with you, or back to you.
If they are not in the mood to read, do not force them. Instead read to them and ask them to join in when they are ready. Often you will find that their enthusiasm grows as the story progresses and they will want to participate. A great way to encourage this is to find a sentence that you know they can read and suggest that they join in to help you read it. If you find that your child lacks confidence, then try to read the same book several times as this is a fantastic way to boost their self-confidence and will help your child to enjoy reading.
Explain to young children that we read from left to right. Encourage your child to look at the first letter of each word, emphasising to them that they must pay attention to the first letters. Ask your child questions about the story likewhat they predict will happen next, to find a particular word that is the same, to count the number of people in a picture and to give the names of the characters in a picture.
Developing your child’s reading Skills
Children can do spot the difference, this will help them to learn to concentrate and pay attention to detail; use a list of high frequency words, this will them to recognise familiar words and speed up their reading of these words. You can improve your child’s concentration by playing concentration games such as Snap, Pairs or Spot the Difference games. Audio books are also excellent for listening skills and developing concentration skills. Lastly, practise reading everyday, even fifteen minutes a day is sufficient to develop good reading skills.
Here are some more tips to teach your child to read.