Reading is a crucial element of a child’s education, and it provides many benefits. Often taken for granted, one of the key advantages of being a keen reader is that it’s a chance to expand one’s general knowledge, learn about various historical and cultural events and traditions, as well as learn a wider range of vocabulary, and become better at spelling and grammar. What’s more, reading can be a source of entertainment and relaxation. Here are some top tips for parents from a prep school in North London on how to teach your child to read.
Talk to Your Child
Just because your child might not be able to have a cohesive conversation with you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to them. By engaging their listening skills, you will help them increase their vocabulary and help them learn how different words are used within sentences. This should make it easier for them when the time comes for them to start learning how to read.
Teach Your Child Different Sounds
Start by exploring the different sounds that each letter makes, as well as the sounds that a combination of letters make, such as “ee” or “ay”. Eventually, once they understand what sounds the letters make, they will be able to sound out short words.
Read with Your Child
You might already read your child to sleep each night but reading to them is different to reading with them. Reading together is not only a bonding experience but can help your child with their learning. When reading together, ask them to repeat words or sentences back to you and follow along with your finger across the page. Sound out the words phonetically and ask your child if they know what more challenging words mean.
Use Visual Cues
If your child has an image to go alongside a new word, it will be easier for them to remember the words. With that said, it’s a good idea to put up lots of posters around the house of different animals or objects, with the corresponding word beneath them. Every once in a while, encourage your child to look up at the poster and read the word aloud. Picture books work in much the same way.
Play Word Games
When teaching your child to read, you don’t have to rely solely on books. Word games are also great because they are a different way to engage your child so that they don’t get bored. Of course, these games should be age appropriate, as you won’t get very far trying to play scrabble with a four-year-old. Do some research online to help you come up with some ideas. Perhaps you could even consider making up your own game!
All children progress and learn at different speeds, so don’t be hard on your child if they don’t seem to be as advanced with their reading as another child you know. Take your time and practice little and often, praising your child when they reach certain milestones.