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Teaching Reading

Teaching reading to your wee ones can be a nerve-wracking endeavor, but it can also be an exciting adventure! Let me start by saying that it isn’t necessary to have your child reading by 4 years of age, or even 5 or 6. Did you know that in Finland the children don’t start formal education until the age of 7, and they have one of the highest literacy rates in the world! Let me help you take the pressure off for these beginning years and just enjoy the process of learning. I just recently read that if a child is ready, they only need about 60 hours to learn the skills to read. Can you believe that- 60 hours! Whew!

We worry so much about how to teach reading that we tend to forget to teach children to want to learn to read. Here are some tips for teaching them the “want to” part.

  • Read to them from the time they are born.

  • Make reading a special time-hold them on your lap and enjoy the book with them.

  • Read yourself.

  • Buy books for their birthday and give them a special place in your home.

  • Get excited when the Amazon truck comes with your new book order!

Read to them:

  • Books that repeat or have rhymes.

  • Books they can memorize and “read” with you.

  • Books that have quality pictures.

  • Books you love and enjoy.

Now they want to learn to read, so how do you actually get them reading? I love those magnetic plastic letters that you can put on the refrigerator. Begin by teaching them the sounds that the letters make. I know that wee ones can sing the alphabet song when they are two, but what is more important is that they know what each letter “says.” I like to start with the letters C, A, T. Teach them the sounds each of those letters makes, then teach them to put the sounds together and “say them fast.” They get so excited when they discover they have just “read” a word! This takes some practice but they will be reading in no time.

I get asked a lot about what curriculum a parent should purchase to teach the process of reading. Personally, I don’t think you need to spend money on one, but for those who would like more structure in the process, here are some that my friends have used and loved:

  • Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

  • All About Reading

  • Sing, Spell, Read, and Write

  • Hooked on Phonics

  • Explode the Code – phonics worksheets

  • Bob Books

Now go hit the library! Tell Grandma & Grandpa you want books for your birthday, and get reading. Let’s make this a fun and not a stressful experience.

I understand that some children have visual processing issues or struggle with dyslexia. In these cases there are other steps that need to be taken to help the child learn to read. If you feel your child needs extra attention, please seek help from a professional or email me and I will try to help point you in the right direction.

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