3 Steps to Teaching Your Child to Read

Published:  March 25, 2019 Updated: July 24, 2020

By  Cheryl Jerabek

Reading is essential for a child's development. Those who learn to read early have a head start to a wonderful world awaiting them. Reading opens all sorts of doors in education and entertainment too.

Children are empowered when they can gather valuable information through books. They are more able to thrive in everyday life, too, like ordering from a menu at a restaurant and reading signs on the street. They can read stories in books for fun, when they are lonely or bored, or to wind down to get to sleep at night.

Because children aren't all the same and some are quicker to develop reading skills while others are a little slower at it, it is up to you, the parent, to help gauge the maturity of your child. That way, you can begin training your little one to read when the time is right. And, you can help your child progress and improve his or her reading skills too.

As the parent, you hold the key. You are the closest, most important person in your child's life, so you are the perfect person to introduce them to reading and books. You may not feel like you are qualified, but by following the three simple steps below, you'll have your child reading in no time.

Step #1

The very first step is to teach your child the alphabet letters. Teach your child alphabet sounds when teaching the individual letters. Research proves children learn easier when they are taught the two simultaneously.

While you are teaching them the letter and the sound, also show them how to trace the letter as they are saying the letter's sound.

For the letter "C," you would tell your child, "This is the letter ‘C.' It makes the /C/ (cah) sound."

As you are saying that, prompt your child to say the sound while they trace the letter using their index finger. Once your child gets it down a time or two, you can move on to step two.

Step #2

Don't forget the basics! As adults, it is easy to take for granted things we just naturally do - like reading top to bottom and from the left to the right. While talking is an instinct, reading and writing are not. They are learned. So, when you are teaching your child to read, you'll need to start from scratch. Pointing the words out with them is a helpful way to emphasize this lesson.

Step #3

When you use the concept of teaching blending the final consonants first, your child will be able to make words simply by adding letters to the front. From the final constants "it," words like "kit," "sit," and "fit," can be formed.

Now the fun can begin. Start with a final constant combination, like "at," and see how many rhyming words your child can make from it. This game can be played during teaching time but also at other times like when riding in the car or waiting at the doctor's office. Rhyming words are entertaining for children, so they stay focused on the task longer and have a good time doing it. Ultimately, rhyming plays a massive role in helping children learn to read.

There's no need for your child to master all the sounds before jumping into this fun activity. You can begin teaching your child to blend words as soon as he or she has learned just a few short vowel and consonant sounds.

When it comes to reading, the process of learning doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. It is ongoing because your child's abilities will improve over time. When applying these steps to teaching children to read, even two years olds can begin to learn, and children who are older can continue to perfect their skills.

A Step-By-Step Reading Program For Kids

Learn how to teach reading to your child at home with our children learning reading review.

Cheryl Jerabek

Cheryl Jerabek lives in a tiny remote town in Southwestern Colorado. She writes full-time from her cabin nestled in the mountains. She often expresses how lucky she feels to be able to do what she loves from a setting that looks like a postcard. When she’s not writing, Cheryl loves hanging out with her husband and two grown children, her dog, Joe, and adores spending time with her three grandchildren.

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