Learning to read is a fundamental skill for everyone. Parental involvement is a must to help children succeed not only in the class room but beyond. According to the experts, here are five ways to help your child learn to read that will help them make the grade and more!
1. Focus on sounding out, not guessing
When children are learning to read, they need to match letters or combinations of letters to sounds, explained Liisa Freure, a former elementary teacher and reading expert who trains teachers in structured literacy, in an interview with Today’s Parent Magazine.
“If they sound out or decode a word successfully a few times, then that word transfers into their sight vocabulary, which means when they see that word, they can remember what that word is, rather than having to sound it out each time.”
According to Alicia Smith, president of the International Dyslexia Association Ontario, if your child is stuck on a word, don’t let them guess, says “If they have learned how to decode it, help them sound it out.
2. Don’t rush to books
“One of the biggest mistakes we can make is thrusting books at our kids and expecting them to read on their own before they’ve mastered letters and sounds—it’s putting the cart before the horse,” advised Smith. “Don’t get too worried about whether your child is reading books or even sentences in kindergarten; help them grasp that connection between sounds and print.”
You want your child to develop a love of reading, not frustration.
3. Teach them about suffixes and prefixes
“Every word has a base, and then we can add things to the base,” said Freure.
Make sure that your child knows what common suffixes and prefixes look like and what they mean. By doing this, when a child is faced with a long word that they have to sound out, they will be able to break it down and figure it out.
4. Peek their curiosity about words
English is very complicated to learn as it has words with roots in German, Greek, and Latin. With this said, don’t tell your children, “Oh, English is so confusing, it makes no sense,” get them curious about different spellings and letter sounds, suggests Freure. Encourage kids to find out the etymology of the word and why it is spelled the way that it is. Some words definitely have interesting beginnings.
5. Timing matters
If your child is struggling, keep sessions short and sweet. You don’t want to overwhelm them and regress with progress. Make reading fun. Practice reading the cereal box, a Pokémon card, or even the back of that new PlayStation game that they have.
Do you have some tips on how to help children learn to read? Sound-off and comment below. We want to hear from you!