We are very excited to be continuing this series of posts to give you the knowledge and confidence you need to embrace teaching your child to read! Last week we covered the basics of reading instruction. (If you missed it, be sure to take a few minutes to check out part 1 here!) This week we are giving you some strategies to help you both navigate this exciting time! We chose our top 4 to share with you today, so let’s get started!
1. Be patient.
Every student can learn, just not on the same day, or the same way. ~ George Evans
This first strategy is more for you than your kids. You need to realize there is no specific age a child should begin reading. Every child is unique and learns at their own pace. For instance, one of my daughters insisted that I start teaching her how to read the day she turned 4 while another one of my more active children wasn’t interested until well after her 6th birthday. And as a 3rd-grade teacher in the public schools, I had a few students every year who didn’t have everything come together until age 8 or 9. Guess what? They all learned how to be successful readers! Keep testing the waters to monitor when your child develops an interest in reading and when the time is right, use their enthusiasm to motivate their learning. So have patience and give them some time--they will become fluent readers in their own way and their own time!
2. Make it fun!
You can do so many things to make practicing skills fun, active, and tied to real-life experiences! Adding these activities to your program can make learning the many skills involved in reading enjoyable for you and your child.
Games and Activities: Use cereal, sidewalk chalk, toy cars, Legos, and nerf guns to make practicing skills amazingly fun! There are unlimited ideas out there, and the best part is you don’t have to come up with them. A few minutes of searching online, and you will have a whole list of quick and easy ideas. The best part is we have done the legwork for you--check out our Teaching Reading Pinterest board for endless ideas!
Real-Life Reading: Make reading part of your daily life and activities. There are organic reading opportunities that can be found in your everyday life once you start looking for them! For example, go out to lunch and have them read the menu to you, read signs as you are driving, let them read the shopping list when you are getting groceries, have them read labels, or let them open that junk mail and find words they know in the advertisements!
Technology: Use screen time to your advantage! They will find it fun (and you can steer them towards educational content). There are numerous videos, television shows, computer programs, and apps that you can incorporate. Some of our favorites include: Leapfrog DVDs, SuperWhy, Word Girl, Word World, Martha Speaks, Electric Company, (we know--they are “classic” but trust us, kids still enjoy them and so will you!). Also some great online programs and apps include: Reading Eggs, Starfall, and Teach Your Monster to Read! Again you can quickly get ideas by checking out our Teaching Reading Pinterest board!
3. Celebrate small successes!
Learning to read can take a few months to a few years--so celebrate those small successes! This is one of the hardest things to remember as a parent. Learning to become a fluent reader is actually hundreds of smaller skills that need to be woven together to accomplish that final result.
~Did your child write out their sight words with very few mistakes? Time for a freezy pop celebration!
~Were they able to rhyme words without any clues from you? Head to the library a special visit.
~Did they focus very intently while trying to learn new phonics blends? Dessert before lunch today!
~Did they read a book without your help? Head to the park for some playtime!
Taking this journey with your child will be one of the highlights of your homeschooling experience, but it will be filled with countless ups and downs. Know and remember this heading into this process, and your journey will be more joy-filled!
4. Have kids read every day!
Have your child read every day. Don’t discount the amount of time a child reads or is read to during their preschool and elementary years. If the child is not a fluent reader, still allot time to read every day and complete it together by taking turns reading. This small act will HUGE impact their future beyond what you can imagine!
Did you know that a child who reads 20 minutes a day during a school year will have read 3,600 minutes or 60 hours?! And they will have been exposed to 1.8 million words! If you tally up those numbers from Kindergarten through 5th grade, that student will have read 360 hours and have been exposed to almost 11 million words! Those are incredible numbers!
Give your child this advantage by incorporating a dedicated reading time every day. If your child is hesitant about reading, here are ways to integrate reading time during your day.
Fun ways to sneak in extra reading time:
let them stay up an extra 20 minutes later to read in bed before turning off the lights
already hit their screen time limit? Let them earn more for matching minutes with reading. 20 minutes of reading = 20 minutes of screen time
have them read to a sibling or a pet
have them call or facetime a relative to read them their favorite part of the story
keep an extra book in the car. Have them read while you are out of the house.
magazines, ebooks, and online articles all count as reading
Keeping these things in mind as you begin teaching your child to read will not only give you the confidence you need but also set a solid foundation for your child!
You’ve Got This!