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How to Teach Your Child to Read

Updated on May 31, 2012
Studies show that reading with your children increases their understanding of how language works (structure) as well as what words mean (comprehension).
Studies show that reading with your children increases their understanding of how language works (structure) as well as what words mean (comprehension). | Source

How often do you feel a parent should read with his or her child?

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1. Read to your child

Reading with your children has been proven time and time again to increase reading enjoyment and understanding. By toddler age, reading nightly can become both a bonding and learning experience. Classics such as Dr. Seuss are great for the very young. Later (by 1st grade) reading chapter books will allow children to enjoy books they are not quite ready to read on their own. This really gets beginning readers excited about learning to read!

2. Talk to your child

Before children learn to read, they learn to talk. Listening for understanding and speaking are pre-reading skills. Even as children begin to read, conversing is vital to gaining new vocabulary and increasing comprehension.

3. Storytelling

Storytelling, as opposed to reading aloud, engages young children and inspires creativity. Try telling a story to your child and allowing them to tell you one. Many children begin to want their stories written and illustrated for a later date. This is a natural connection their own reading development. They will pick these homemade books up and feel like a reader since they know the story. This will allow a child to begin memorizing words, understanding sounds and developing story structure.

4. Engage and nurture your child’s interests

What does your child like? What makes them curious? Answering these questions are important components to reading. As you find their interests, you will begin to find books and even trips (museums and nature walks perhaps) that will intrigue and excite your child. The more they want to know and discover, the more self-motivated they will become about learning.

5. Play language games

Kids love games. They are fun simple and many are free. Try these with your child:

· Rhyme time: Practice rhyming by coming up with a word to go back and forth naming rhyming words with.

· Find the word: Next time you’re in the car, challenge your child to find a special word. Love, like, me, she, it or longer words such as animal can be great words to look for while you get where going. How many can your child find on the way home?

· Alphabet game: How many words can your child think of that starts with F? (or any other letter, of course)

· Letter switch: What word would I have if I changed the first letter in cat to an f? This can be played with many different words. As your child masters first letter switches, try last letters and later, vowel swaps.

Highly recommended games (I use these in the classroom):

6. Visit local libraries

Visiting your local libraries can be fun and if made a routine, exposes your child to new books. The quiet time of a library also gives your child time to sit with a book, exploring pictures and words. Try visiting for library events such as guest storytellers.

7. Find the right school for your child

Each child is unique and finding the right school is about matching your child to the right environment. Whether looking at public, private or charter schools, it is a good idea to visit the school and get a feel for how the day goes. Could you see your child here? Would they connect to peers? Teachers? Are their special activities that connect to your child’s interest?

8. Make school to home connections

Once your child begins school, is it important that you connect their home life to their school life beyond just homework. Find out about what they are learning and extend it at home with books, movies and trips. This sends the message that school and learning is important and also extends your child’s understanding. Also, find out what prompts your child’s teachers use for reading beyond “sound it out.” Most children are being taught many other valuable strategies such as “look at the pictures” or “what would make sense” (context clues). Using the same wording as their teachers will allow for consistency and understanding.

9. DON’T panic

Each child learns to read at his or her own pace. Do not worry if your child is not moving at the rate of what you think he or she should or even at the rate of other children. Most children are on the same reading level by 3rd grade no matter when they started reading prior to then. If your child is progressing at a rate his or her teacher is concerned about, be receptive to whatever interventions they suggest. Never push your child into reading or this may cause a phobia or just plan dislike for reading. Letting your child know that you are proud of whatever progress he or she is making is far more effective.

10. Be an example to your child

If your child never sees you reading, why would he or she think it is important or even enjoyable? Try having a reading time where you pick up something, anything, to read for 10 minutes every day. Newspapers, magazines and books all are great. Seeing you read speaks volumes to your child.


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    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Jpcmc, how wonderful! It sounds as if your daughter is well on her way. :)

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Several weeks back I wrote a hub about the speech and cognitive development of children. This new research shows that infants learn earlier than previously believed. Having a B.S. in family Life and child Development, It's fascinating to learn new advancements in the way we perceive child development. The more we know, the better we can help them.

      My daughter is just 1 year old but my wife and I read to her as early as several days after being born. What's great is that she can recognize words - not just CVC, but even those with digraphs and complex consonant blends. She is also exhibiting more interest in words and written language. every opportunity is turned into afun and enjoyable learning experiences.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks for stopping by, Shell. I love the simpicity of "How To." I have been staying busy myself both here on hubpages and beyond. It's funny how smoothly writing has fit into myself (at the right time).

      Sounds like your daughter is off to a great start and I hope you try some of these tips. Children really do love them :)

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image

      Shell Vera 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I love reading your hubs, especially your "How To" ones! Looks like I have some catching up to do, as you have been busy publishing and my emails still aren't coming through to tell me when everyone is posting. Glad I stopped by to see this one, as my 4 year old loves to read books and your suggestions here affirm I am on the right path with her. Additionally, I learned some new ideas, such as story telling and finding the right school. Thanks for sharing great quality content, Krystal!

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      michememe, I hope these help :) Thanks for reading.

    • michememe profile image

      Miche Wro 

      6 years ago

      My daughter hates reading! Thanks for the tips listed above, maybe they will help engage her more.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Lisa, your right about their being different kinds of learners. I too encounter many learning differences within children. This might make a great topic for a hub :)

    • Lisas-thoughts101 profile image


      6 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Krystal, I believe reading is so important to all aspects of a person's life. Thanks for this hub. There are those that simply need something different, of course. My son suffers with extreme dyslexia and his road to success looks very different. Reading to him was still so important, however. I believe all babies should be read to from birth. It is such an awesome learning tool and a great bonding experience. Voted up and useful.


    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks for reading and commenting teaches. I agree, absolutely :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      You post some great advice and helpful suggestions in boosting reading interest and skills. I love your language game ideas. Role modeling is the best example a parent can set for a child when it comes to learning to read. Voted up.

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks for reading :) I think parents should use the time they have with their children wisely. There is always an opportunity to bond and learn together.

    • LauraGSpeaks profile image


      6 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I like the language game ideas. These sound very useful for car rides. Good hub!

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      I love your suggestions, KrystalD. Reading with children and sharing the love of stories and histories is such a powerful gift we can give to them. Your tip of listening to your children's stories, too, is so true!!

    • KrystalD profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      My favorite things about bananagrams is how simple it is! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

    • chrissieklinger profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great information, reading to children from birth through the teenage years is important. I love the banagrams game, I have played that with low level adult learners too and it is so much fun!


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