Top tips for teaching your child to read

Learning how to read is one of the most vital skills a person can pick up. It is one of those things that many don’t consider the process of until it comes to them having to teach it to someone else. Majority of individuals believe that reading comes naturally and is something that can happen all on its own. This is far from the truth and is something that needs attention and proper teaching due to how complex it is. Reading is more than learning the alphabet and joining them together to make words and sentences. There are elements such as phonics which seem miniscule but play a huge role in how well a person learns to read. However, there is good news. As lengthy and tough this process can be, the journey to building these skills are fairly straightforward. If you are on the search for some top tips for teaching your child to read, then look no further. Here is some advice from a pre prep school in Mill Hill on how to get started.

Use songs and nursery rhymes. In order to develop reading skills, young children need to become aware of phonemics. Phonemic awareness is the ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. For example, the word yes has 3 phonemes: y/e/s. Nursery rhymes are a lot of fun for children and one of the best ways help them hear the sounds and syllables in words. A good way to help build their phonemic awareness is by clapping together whilst singing. It is fun, playful and will help your child develop the correct skills needed in order to start reading.

Word cards. You can either buy these online or make them yourself at home. Cut out pieces of card and write down words consisting of only three letters. The key is to start very simple and later make the words more complex. Ask your child to sit with you and attempt to sound out each letter in the word. It builds critical skills that are needed to break down words. If your child is very new to this, focus more on them sounding the letter out rather than the final pronunciation.

Ensure your child is able to recognise words around them. In classrooms, teachers will hang posters with words and phonics. The reason for this is more than just decorative purposes. Childrens learning improves when the opportunity to see printed words in books, posters and labels grow. You can do this in your own home too. Be consistent with pointing out words they’ll be familiar with or can sound out. This could even be whilst you’re standing in line to pay for shopping. Ask your child to sound out each letter. Don’t forget to praise them when they get it right as this will boost their confidence.

Play games. These can be easily incorporated into daily life. Whilst on a long car ride, ask your child to play games such as I spy. This will encourage them to think about words they already know and go on the hunt to find new ones too. You can even ask them to rhyme words or to help you find words that end in a certain way. There is no wrong way when it comes to this.

Play with letter magnets. The beginning and end of the word tend to be what’s focused on most when learning how to read which is why the middle vowel sounds can be tricky to pick up. Stick a bunch of letter magnets onto the fridge and help your child to form a new word every single day. You’ll find your child may start to put words together themselves when they feel confident with their words.

Don’t forget to be patient. At times it may feel like your child is making no progress but it is all part of the process. Every child learns at their own pace, just make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

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