How to Help Your Child Learn to Read
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 in the development of reading ability over time. 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 printed texts they see, and are eager to learn about the sounds made by those letters. You will likely notice that your young child 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.
Teaching a Child to read at an early Age
Did you know that 38% of grade four students have reading abilities below the lowest basic level as determined by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)? The NAEP is the only ongoing survey of what students known and tracks their performance in various academic subjects for the United States. In their report, the NAEP found that 38% of grade four students had reading achievement below basic levels, with a basic level reading score being 208.
To put things in perspective, the US reading scale has an upper limit score of 500, with average reading scores for grade 4 (217), grade 8 (264), and grade 12 (291). The grade 4 reading achievement levels are categorized by the NAEP as Advanced (268 score), Proficient (238 score), and Basic (208 score), and the basic reading achievement level is defined as follows by the NAEP:
Fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level should demonstrate an understanding of the overall meaning of what they read. When reading text appropriate for fourth graders, they should be able to make relatively obvious connections between the text and their own experiences and extend the ideas in the text by making simple inferences. 
Unfortunately, over a third of all grade four students read at levels even below basic. Is your child having reading difficulties? Research on Phonemic Awareness have found that early reading helps improves a child’s reading and spelling abilities. In fact, the National Reading Panel has concluded based on their massive review of over 1,900 studies that teaching phonics and phonemic awareness produces better reading results than whole language programs.
There are numerous documented benefits and advantages of teaching children to read early on, and teaching them to reading using phonics and phonemic awareness instructions. It is clear that early language and reading ability development passes great benefits to the child as they progress through school at all grades, and that early language and reading problems can lead to learning problems later on in school. For example, a Swedish study found that children with a history of reading problems at school entry scores significantly below average on reading in grade 4. As well, children that shows very low interest in books and story reading before age 5 also scored similarly low on sentence reading in grade 4.  This is just one of many studies which have similar findings, and this makes it an imperative for parents to begin exposing their children to books and reading at an early age.
So how early?
There’s no set guideline on when you should start teaching your children to read; however, you can start cultivating your child’s love for books and reading as soon as they’re born. Obviously, very young babies would not even know what books are, however, talking to your child and reading to your child will help them develop a keen liking for books and stories. As your child grows and gets older, avoid TV-sitting them, because as they develop a dependency on television as their main source of entertainment, it becomes very difficult to dislodge that need for TV entertainment, and get them to enjoy reading books. Instead, keep age appropriate books all around the house, and read to them often. You’ll find that they’ll start picking up books and pretend to read themselves, although at very early ages, they still cannot read.
People typically think that kindergarten or grade one would be an appropriate time for their children to start reading; however, this is not the best approach as studies have repeatedly found that children with good phonemic awareness before entering kindergarten continues to outperform, and achieve exceptional reading and spelling abilities as they progress through school. On the other hand, children who enter school with reading difficulties may continue to have reading and spelling difficulties.
What’s the best way to teach children to read? According to the National Reading Panel, “teaching children to manipulate phonemes in words was highly effective under a variety of teaching conditions with a variety of learners across a range of grade and age levels and that teaching phonemic awareness to children significantly improves their reading more than instruction that lacks any attention to Phonemic Awareness.”  This is a statement made by the National Reading Panel (NRP) in their report titled “TEACHING CHILDREN TO READ: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction.”
Phonemic Awareness instruction was selected for review by the NRP in their report because studies have identified phonemic awareness and letter knowledge as two of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read in their first 2 years of entering school. There is strong Scientific evidence to suggest that phonemic awareness instructions are an important part in helping children develop reading skills.
One study discussed the presence of phonemic awareness in Austrian children aged 6 to 7 that were unable to read when first entering school. This study found that many children had not one correct response in their test of a simple vowel substitution task. However, a few children who exhibited high phonemic awareness scored close to perfect on this same task. The study further stated that “there was a specific predictive relationship between initial phonemic awareness differences and success in learning to read and to spell.” Even more importantly, the study indicated that it was phonemic awareness abilities, and not IQ, that predicted the accuracy of reading and spelling at the end of grade one. Children with high phonemic awareness at the beginning of grade one had high reading and spelling achievements at the end of grade one, compared to some children with low phonemic awareness who had difficulties learning to read and spell. 
In the National Reading Panel report, they also determined that the beneficial effects of phonemic awareness on reading lasts well beyond the period of training. While phonemic awareness instructions are proven to significantly help children learn reading, it is not a complete reading program. What it does, is provide children with a foundational knowledge base of the alphabet language. The NRP analysis also showed that phonics instructions produces significant benefits for students from kindergarten through grade 6, and is also helpful for children with learning to read difficulties.
Children who are taught with phonics and phonemic awareness instructions are consistently able to decode, read, and spell, and even demonstrated significant improvement in their ability to comprehend text. Even older children who receive these similar teachings improved their ability to decode and spell. The NRP made a key statement saying that “conventional wisdom has suggested that kindergarten students might not be ready for phonics instruction, this assumption was not supported by the data. The effects of systematic early phonics instruction were significant and substantial in kindergarten and the 1st grade, indicating that systematic phonics programs should be implemented at those age and grade levels.“
However, I would like to further expand on that by saying that children as young as two years old can learn to read through phonics and phonemic awareness instructions. If a young child can speak, then they should be able to learn to read, even if they are as young as two years old. In fact, I have proven this with my own children. We started teaching our daughter at 2 years and 8months, and she was very capable at reading by the time she was just 2 years and 11 months old.
How to Teach Phonemic Awareness While Reading Bedtime Stories
Helping young children develop phonemic awareness early on is one of the keys for children to develop exceptional reading and writing skills once they begin attending schools. Did you know that studies have indicated that phonemic awareness is the single best predictor of reading success for young children once they begin school? In fact, studies have found that phonemic awareness is far better than IQ at predicting the reading and spelling abilities of young children.
Most people know about phonics, and what it is; however, far fewer people know what phonemic awareness is. In short, phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and work with the phonemes. For example, /d/, /o/, and /g/, are the individual sounds of the word “dog”. Please note, the letters enclosed in the slashes denotes the sound of the letter, and not the name of the letter. Phonemes are the smallest units of individual sounds that form a word.
Phonemic awareness is not something you’re born with, and it is an ability that’s gained through repeated exposure to listening, speaking, and reading. As parents, there are many different strategies you can use to help your children develop phonemic awareness such as playing simple word segmentation or oral blending games.
Like most parents, we (my wife and I) read bedtime stories before we put our children to sleep, and one of the best strategies that we like to use to teach phonemic awareness to our children, is to mix in word segmenting and oral blending when we read bedtime stories for our kids. This is an exceptional method, because it doesn’t take any extra time or effort, since reading bedtime stories is something you already do. So, here’s how to go about it.
Let’s say that you’re reading a nursery rhyme “Jack and Jill”:
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.
Instead of reading each word straight through the rhyme, you can randomly mix in oral blending on various words in the rhyme. Please note: instead of using slashes “/” to denote phonemes, we’ll simply use hyphens to make it easier to read. So, let’s assume that your child is very young, perhaps 2, 3, or 4 years old, and you want to start helping them develop some phonemic awareness. You can read Jack and Jill like so:
J-ack and J-ill went up the h-ill
To fetch a p-ail of water.
J-ack fell down and broke his crown
And J-ill came tumbling after.
As you can see, when you read the rhyme, you simply make an effort to separate several of the first letters sounds from the words, such as /J/ from “ack”, and /J/ from “ill”. As your child begins to grasp the concept of individual sounds making up words, you can slowly increase the difficulty by breaking down each word further. For example:
Repeated exposure of this type of word segmenting and oral blending will slowly help your child develop a sense and an understanding that each word is made up of individual sounds – in other words, you are teaching phonemic awareness to your children during bedtime stories without them even knowing that they are being taught to!
Phonemic Awareness is defined as the ability to identify, hear, and work with the smallest units of sound known as phonemes. It is NOT the same as phonological awareness, instead, it is a sub-category of phonological awareness. For example, phonemic awareness is narrow, and deals only with phonemes and manipulating the individual sounds of words – such as /c/, /a/, and /t/ are the individual sounds that make up to form the word “cat”. Phonological awareness on the other hand, includes the phonemic awareness ability, and it also includes the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate larger units of sound such as rimes and onsets.
Phonemic awareness can be taught very early on, and will play a critical role in helping children learn to read and spell. While it’s not set in stone on when a child can learn to read, however, I do believe that a child that can speak is a child that can learn to read. Children as young as two years old can learn to read by developing phonemic awareness, and they can learn to read fluently. Please see a video of a 2 year old (2yr11months) reading below.
Below are several of the most common phonemic awareness skills that are often practiced with students and young children:
- Phonemic identity – being able to recognize common sounds in different words such as /p/ is the common sound for “pat”, “pick”, and “play”.
- Phonemic isolation – being able to recognize the individual sounds of words such as /c/ is the beginning sound of “cat” and /t/ is the ending sound of “cat”.
- Phoneme substitution – being able to change one word to another by substituting one phoneme. For example changing the /t/ in “cat” to /p/ now makes “cap”.
- Word Segmenting – the parent says the word “lap”, and the child says the individual sounds: /l/, /a/, and /p/.
- Oral blending – the parent says the individual sounds such as /r/, /e/, and /d/, and the child forms the word from the sounds to say “red”.
Studies have found that phonemic awareness is the best predictor of reading success in young children. Research has also found that children with a high level of phonemic awareness progress with high reading and spelling achievements; however, some children with low phonemic awareness experience difficulties in learning to read and spell. Therefore, it is important for parents to help their young children develop good phonemic awareness. 
Being able to oral blend and segment words helps children to read and spell. According to the National Reading Panel, oral blending helps children develop reading skills where printed letters are turned into sounds which combine to form words. Additionally, word segmenting helps children breakdown words into their individual sounds (phonemes), and helps children learn to spell unfamiliar words.
As a young child begins to develop and master phonemic awareness skills, they will discover an entirely new world in print and reading. You will open up their world to a whole new dimension of fun and silliness. They will be able to read books that they enjoy, develop a better understanding of the world around them through printed materials, and have a whole lot of fun by making up new nonsense words through phonemic substitutions.
For example, we taught our daughter to read at a young age – when she was a little over 2 and a half years old. Before she turned three, she would run around the house saying all types of silly words using phonemic substitution. One of her favorite was substituting the letter sound /d/ in “daddy” with the letter sound /n/. So, she would run around me in circles and repeatedly say “nanny, nanny, come do this” or “nanny, nanny, come play with me” etc… Of course, she only did this when she wanted to be silly and to make me laugh, at other times, she would of course properly refer to me as “daddy”, and not “nanny”. She is well aware of the differences between these words and is fully capable of using phonemic substitution to change any of the letters in the words to make other words.
How To Bring The Best Out Of Your Child! You Will Be Surprised At How Easy To Motivate Yours Kids Without Spoiling Them! Choose The Best Methods To BOOST Your Child’s Development And See How Your Child Outsmart The Peers In No Time!
Have you ever had the thought that your child was brilliant? Every parent has thought this at some point or another. As our children grow from toddlers and begin learning very quickly, it amazes us at how fast they progress. But are they truly talented?
The fact of the matter is that every child is talented. Every child fills us with wonder as they learn and grow. Your child can easily become a smart, gifted and talented child. The difference between children considered to be talented and those who are not is simple.
Talented children have been encouraged and groomed to be so. Bringing out the best in your child is actually pretty easy to do. It takes some time and dedication. Most parents are already dedicated to spending a lot of time with their child, so this is an easy requirement to fulfill. Talking with your child candidly and allowing them to ask questions is the best way to help them grow into talented children.
Below are more information that you are about to learn:
- Chapter 1: How to Encourage Kids to Express Their Feelings
- Chapter 2: Don’t Overload Learning Process
- Chapter 3: How to Focus on Strengths to Talents
- Chapter 4: How to Turn Everyday Events Into Learning Opportunities
- Chapter 5: Celebrate Achievements, No Matter How Small
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