Life, today, is moving faster than it did a few years ago. Children seem to be growing faster, too. Right from a very early age, there is a lot expected of them. Reading, classifying colors, and reciting numbers and poems are all a part of the kindergarten curriculum today.
This wasn’t really the case years ago. Then, children began reading at age 6. Until then, all they did in their playschools was sing songs, learn to socialize with their friends, and have fun. Today, though, the pressure is a lot—on them as well as on their parents. The one issue that seems to bother parents is how to teach kids to read.
The importance is laid more on the kid’s ability to read the book — instead of understanding and enjoying what they see in the book. There are ways by which parents can inculcate the love of reading in their kids, provided they give the kids the necessary time to appreciate the activity. That only happens when they see it around them, in the environment they live in. That makes it paramount for the parents to be avid readers themselves.
How To Teach Kids To Read?
1 Reading as an activity should begin when they are in their cradle. Consider it the special time you spend with your little ones. These will be the moments of enjoyment that the child will learn to look forward to. Reading to them a few books and communicating with them will be the best way to teach a child to read.
2 Increase the reading time as the child grows older. Let them hold the books that consist of brightly colored, pop-up pictures that are most attractive to kids.
3 Involve them in the story. As you read, ask them what they see in the book. It increases their attention span and their concentration as well as their keenness for learning new things.
4 Read aloud. Children learn faster at an early age. Enunciating every word slowly so that the child learns to reproduce it will help him speak better. Reading aloud is a good technique for all ages.
5 Apply the new vocabulary in day to day conversations. As they grow older, their speech develops at a faster rate. They love the feel of new words on their tongues and are eager to verbalize.
6 Ask them questions. As they grow older, say by 2-3 years of age, ask them what they think might happen in the story. Predict what will happen next. Draw connections to the real world. Give them a chance to think, imagine a scenario, and then express it in their own words. Doing so will help them use their building vocabulary. These critical reading skills will help them as they grow older.
7 Read in their presence. Children learn by example. If they see you engrossed in a book in your free time, they will do the same. This will show them how a person can enjoy reading. It could be anything — even the newspaper or a magazine. Encourage them to join you as you read.
8 Make it into a game. Make identifying letters a game. Try and pick out letters when outdoors, or while reading the papers with them. Ask them if they recognize those letters. This habit will help develop in them a curiosity about things they see around. It could, in turn, help them learn the words for the things they see, the letters those things begin with, and also their spellings.
9 Learning the sounds of letters is more important. Learning the sounds of letters is much more important than learning the actual letters. Stressing importance on phonics teaches the kid to verbalize faster and an easy way of how to help your kid to read.
10 After learning the sounds of letters, begin putting them together. Once the child learns the sounds of the different letters of the alphabet, begin putting two letters together, or three, depending upon the child’s comfort level. Introduce rhyming words. Once they learn c-a-t is cat, ask them if they can come up with more words with the a-t sound.
11 As they grow older, begin sight-reading. Slowly and steadily, encourage them to sight-read the words they see in front of them, especially those that don’t follow the rules of the phonics. It will be a slower process, but being patient and allowing the child to make mistakes will help him learn faster.
12. Bring variety to the reading. As the child grows, introduce him to the different genres—fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, adventure. This gives him a chance to enjoy and appreciate different kinds of reading.
Creating an environment conducive to reading is the best way to teach a child to read. It is what helps the child pick up the art sooner and develop it into a love for a lifetime. Set an example for the child to follow, and encourage them to not only read but also to make mistakes while trying it…That’s what will help them learn without fear.
However, it is important to not make reading a compulsion. Every child has a particular age at which he or she will start to enjoy reading. Therefore, desist from comparing children. Just because a child begins reading at a very early age does not mean he or she will turn out to be exceptional. Children change over a period of time. Those who begin reading later could very well develop reading into a lifelong passion, whilst those who began reading early could toss the books aside once they grow older.
Giving children ample time to develop an interest in reading is what will help them look forward to the activity. Read aloud to them every day. Make it a bonding time for you and your child. Encourage them to identify the letters they see around them. Read books from different genres. This will awaken an interest within them and allow them to experiment. But most of all, let it be an enjoyable activity, not a mundane chore.