Are you looking for stress free tips to teach your child to read? Look no further! I am here to tell you that teaching your child to read can be incredibly easy if you let it be easy. I have been in a unique situation in that I have had 5 boys and I have had 2 learn to read through one method, one learned another method and my last two learned and are currently learning through the method I am about to share with you.
My first two boys were taught in the public school system with very little help from myself. Then came my 3rd child who has never been to public school ever. He was kindergarten age when I first began homeschooling my boys. Of course, I had no idea what I was doing so I taught the only way I knew….the public school way.
I thought that since kids were in school for 7 hours that we should be doing something for 7 hours as well. Gratefully, I am a fast learner and found that daily tears and frustrations was not the way to teach my boys. I wanted to inspire them with a love to learn and over the years I feel I am getting better at inspiring them.
Here are stress free tips to teach your child to read that I have found to be successful.
#1 – Wait until they are ready and come to you
One thing I have noticed with teaching my boys is that the amount of information they can learn when they are eager to learn is significantly more than when they are forced to learn. TRUST ME!!
With my fourth child, I probably spend 15 minutes a day (if that) in formal education. He is my smartest kid and can read better than my others boys did at his age. It is incredible! Henry David Thoreau wrote this, “The more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of human beings.”
I strongly believe this!
#2 – Help your child love books!!
To teach your child to read you need to provide lots of great, beautiful and inspiring books for your children. If you read a lot of books with your kids, they will naturally want to learn to read as they grow older. Kindle this love by being excited about reading to them. My boys know I value and love books especially as we have started to grow our library with fantastic picture books.
#3 – Read aloud to your kids
I can’t say this enough!! READ, READ, READ to your kids! To prepare to teach your child to read this is essential! You can do read aloud’s or picture books. Do read aloud books that are 2-3 levels harder than your kids reading level. Reading to your kids will not only expose them to new vocabulary but to great stories that will leave an impression in them forever. The quality time you spend together will also be priceless
Also, don’t underestimate the power of a picture book can have on all ages of kids. My older boys and younger boys LOVE me reading picture books to them. Here are some of our favorite picture books!
In Ainsley Arment’s book The Call of the Wild + Free she says, “Reading to young children fosters a deep love for books that will prepare them for reading in the future. Jim Trelease pointed out that, ‘the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.'”
There are lots of opportunities to read to your kids during the day. Here is why we stopped reading to my kids at night.
#4 – Teach them the ABC song along with sounds.
Songs are so powerful! The car is a great place to sing these songs. Start simple with the ABC song. Once that is mastered start learning the sounds. We used this song to help learn the sounds of each letter. My boys love this song. There are lots of options out there. Just search until you find one that your child loves!
#5 – Point out different letters in the books you are reading.
There are a couple ways you can do this. When you are reading picture books to your child you can say, “Alright buddy, I want you to find my a T on each page.” He then finds that letter on each page. You can change the letter with each page as well. Another way I have done this is pointing at the first letter of a sentence and asking, “What letter is this?”
Remember…if your child is not excited to do this, then don’t! Don’t force it. Instead point to the first letter of the sentence you are reading and say, “this is an P it says pah, pah, pah” and continue on reading the book. Slowly exposing your children to how letters work is fantastic!
You can also start introducing the easy words such as A, THE and I.
#6 – Play the what starts with letter (insert different letters) game.
We love to play this game in the car. My son asks me to play this game all of the time. All you do is ask, “What words start with the letter C?” If they don’t know the sound yet then help them with the sound and finding words with that sound. C-C-C-Car starts with C. What else starts with C-C-C? They will then think and start saying, C-C-C Cool, C-C-Cat.
#7 – Never force! Wait til they come to you!
I had to throw this one in again because yes it is that important! When I first started homeschooling my third was just starting kindergarten. As I mentioned above I basically brought school home and taught in the same way school does. I had him doing something all morning until lunchtime. There was lots of tears from both him and I.
#8 – Play and go out in nature daily!
This is one of the most magical ages you can have with your child and nature is where it all begins. Mud, leaves, sticks, bugs
Playing with letters and words is one of my favorite things to do. Write letters in the dirt with your finger or sticks. Create letters with sticks or other items outside. There is power is having your children build letters with their hands and learning the sound with it.
#9 – Scripture repeat
This is a great activity for everyone from your young toddler learning to talk to those who aren’t the best readers. We do this with scriptures which provide a wide variety of words. Read out loud one line at a time (or shorter if your child needs it) and have them repeat what you read.
#10 – Enjoy this age
This age is so fun and they are so eager to learn! Fuel that eagerness and get them excited about learning and reading! Have fun!!