The ability to read is vital for success. It helps your child succeed in school, helps them build self-confidence, and helps to motivate your child. Being able to read will help your child learn more about the world, understand directions on signs and posters, allow them to find reading as an entertainment, and help them gather information.
Learning to read is very different from learning to speak, and it does not happen all at once. There is a steady progression of reading ability that over time, leads to independent reading ability. The best time for children to start learning to read is at a very young age – even before they enter pre-school. Once a child is able to speak, they can begin developing basic reading skills. Very young children have a natural curiosity to learn about everything, and they are naturally intrigued by the letter print they see, and are eager to learn about the sounds "made" by those letters. You will likely notice that your young children likes to look at books and thoroughly enjoys being read to. They will even pretend to behave like a reader by holding books and pretend to read them.
As parents, you're the most important first step in your children's journey into the wonderful world of reading. It is up to you to create the most supportive environment that turns your child on to reading – such as reading aloud to them often during the day and before bedtime, and placing age appropriate books for children around the house, so that the child will have access to plenty of books. Reading often to your child will help develop their interest in books and stories, and soon they will want to read stories on their own.
With the help of parents, children can learn how to read. Make reading into a family activity, and spend time playing words games and reading story books. This will not only help you child learn to read, but it'll also help them build a rich vocabulary, teach them language patterns, and help them fall in love with books and reading.
Below are some tips to help you teach your child to read.
Talk to your child – before a child can learn to read, he or she must first learn to speak. Talk to your child about everything and anything – whatever interests them. Tell them stories, ask your child lots of questions, play rhyme games, and sing songs with them.
Read to your child consistently everyday – we're all creatures of habit, and enjoy having a daily routine. Set time aside each day to read to your child. Read to your child every night. Make this their "cool down" period before they go to sleep. This not only helps your child develop an interest in books and reading, it also help the parent bond with the child, and develop a healthy relationship.
Help your child develop reading comprehension – typically, parents will take the time to read for their children; however, many parents do not put much emphasis or thought on whether their children understands what they've just been read to. Instead, occasionally, make an effort to question your child on what you've just read. For example, you read to your child:
"Jack and Jill went up the hill…"
You pause briefly and ask your child:
"So where did Jack and Jill go?" Or alternatively, "Who went up the hill?"
Young children may not catch on right away initially, and it may take a little practice, but they'll eventually catch on and begin to develop a deeper understanding of what they are reading. This is a very important step in helping your child develop reading comprehension. Of course, don't do this every single time you read, or your child will quickly get bored and lose interest. Do it at random times, and do not over do it.
Help your child to read with a wide variety of books and keep reading fun - There is no shortage of children books, and you should always have a wide variety of children books, stories, and rhymes available. Reading is a lot of fun, for both parents and children. Read to your child using drama and excitement, and use different voices. Give your child the option of choosing what book they want you to read, instead of picking the book you want to read to your child.
When reading to your child, read slowly, and point to the words that you are reading to help the child make a connection between the word your are saying and the word you are reading. Always remember that reading should be a fun and enjoyable activity for your children, and it should never feel like a "chore" for them.
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