You are teaching a child to read! How EXCITING...or nerve-wracking, depending on how it is going! Teaching a child to read is a roller coaster ride, with lots of ups and downs. If there seem to be more downs than ups, it might be the perfect time to take a step back and focus on developing a child's confidence as a reader! It is quite common for unmotivated readers to be struggling readers. One way to improve motivation and develop lifelong readers is to create a confident reader!
How You Can Create A Confident Reader
First and foremost, your encouragement will have a HUGE impact on growing a confident reader. Praise their achievements and acknowledge their hard work often. Once they believe they are readers, their confidence will soar!
Next, let your reader focus on easy skills they have already mastered or know well during lessons. Occasionally add in a new sound, word, or skill. You will want to avoid frustration and keep reading words or passages "easy" in the eyes of your learner.
There are a few more tips and tricks that can get your student on the right track. Take into account the level and age of your reader, and incorporate one or more of these strategies below as you are teaching reading.
5 Confidence Building Strategies for Readers
1. Don't rush into reading.
Start by building confidence in knowing letter sounds, short words, and high frequency words. A great way to practice this is through flashcards and games! Try these flashcards if you are using the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons Program. We have included hints below to make this practice FUN!
2. Introduce easy books early!
BOB Books, First Little Readers, and other similar books are perfect when your reader knows most of the letter sounds. These types of books integrate words that are easy to sound out as well as high-frequency sight words into their stories. Your child will be thrilled to be already reading "real" books!
3. Incorporate easy books on topics your reader is passionate about.
Check out the leveled book section in your library (or bookstore); leveled books will have both fiction and non-fiction options. Not sure if a book is a good fit? Try using the quick and easy 5-Finger Method to determine if a book is too hard. Here's how:
Open the book and have your child select a page to read
Each time they don't know a word, hold up a finger
If you get to 5 fingers before the end of the page, the book is likely too hard and will be frustrating to your reader. Try a different selection
If you have less than 5 fingers raised, add it to your check-out pile!
4. Find them a book series to get hooked on....and watch them take off!
Whether your reader chooses leveled books, picture books, or chapter books, books that are part of a series are perfect for building a new reader's confidence. Need ideas on where to start? Check out this teaching reading resource page. Why book series work for emerging readers:
they incorporate similar characters and vocabulary
they have a predictable pattern of text or plot
they are formatted similarly from book to book
5. Most Importantly, allow them to read a book over and over (and over)!
Read it to them, read it with them, let them read it to you, have them read it to a family member and/or pet, and let them read on their own. Then let them read it again and again...and again...and again, (and yes, again)! Emerging readers love repetition. You get the idea--this is where the real magic happens, and their confidence increases exponentially and their love of reading will flourish!
Flashcards Can Be FUN!
How do you make practicing flashcards a fun activity? There is so much more you can do besides just having your child read the words from flashcards! Use games, sidewalk chalk, toy cars, shaving cream, Legos, Nerf guns, and more to make practicing sounds, words, and skills lively and fun!
There are unlimited ideas out there, and the best part is you don't have to come up with them. We have done the legwork for you--check out our Teaching Reading Pinterest Board for some amazing ideas to continue reinforcing the skills they are learning!
Check out this Flashcard Bundle Set for all 100 Lessons! This resource contains the sounds and words introduced in each lesson. It is specifically designed to help your emerging reader practice and build confidence in their phonics skills. Over 450 flashcards are included! (Resource and organization ideas included too!)
Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty.
It should be offered as a gift.
- Kate DiCamillo
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