Keys to reading
When teaching children to read, it’s imperative that we give them the keys to unlock the written word for themselves. I believe that teaching phonics is a must! If your child can sound out a word, then chances are, he/she will be able to read it.
Keep your ears open
It’s not only important that we carve out time each day to read to our children, but it’s imperative that you spend time listening to them read to you. Do this several times a week to be aware of how your child’s reading is progressing. If you’re wondering whether your child is actually reading a book or has simply memorized the text, then its time to face this quandary head on.
Once you have read a book to/with your child several times, he/she will probably start to memorize the text. For a child that hasn’t learned to read yet, this is a great start! But, for the child that is already beginning to read independently it’s important to know if your child is actually reading the words, or simply memorizing them. Take some time to ask questions as your child reads to you, such as:
1) Where is the word __________?
Ask your child to point to a specific word that he/she has read. If he/she correctly identifies the word then give praise. If your child is unsure then help him/her find the correct word.
2) What is this word?
Point to a word on the page as you ask this. If your child names, or shows you the correct word, give praise. If he/she is unsure then help sound out the word with your child.
Take those steps further by asking him/her to:
3) Spell the same word.
4) Tell you the associated sound for one or two of the letters that make up that word.
Asking questions such as these will help you determine which areas your child has a firm understanding, and also see where he/she needs more instruction.
Make this an enjoyable time
Learning to read is a process that takes a long time and a lot of patience. Be sure to make this time with your child as relaxing as possible. Let this time of day be one that you both look forward to and enjoy. Your child will reap the rewards of this quality time spent with you, as he/she emerges into someone who not only learns to read, but also, one who loves to read.
*If you have difficulty finding time in your busy schedule to listen to your child read aloud, then follow this link for helpful advice.