5 Fantastic Tips For Teaching Any Child To Read

Here is a Guest post from Peter Hinkle.

One of the most valuable things a parent can teach their child is how to read. Well-developed reading skills are essential in modern day society. They enrich every area of an individual's life. Reading is a skill that begins early, but the education process continues throughout a child's life, so it’s best to get your kids reading as early as possible, so that they receive all the benefits possible!

1. Start Young
Children who enjoy books at an early age, as early as infancy, are statistically more likely to develop strong reading skills and enjoy books well into adulthood.  Books can be read at bedtime, right before a nap or during playtime. Books in infancy should be short and simple, with minimal words and colorful pictures. Parents should focus on the pictures, rather than concentrating on every word in the book. This is a great way to keep an infant interested, which helps to prevent frustration on the part of the parent and child.

2. Sing Songs
Fun songs and lullabies are wonderful tools, as they help children gain an understanding of basic phonetic sounds. Songs can incorporate the letters of the alphabet, or various sounds that these letters make. Encourage children to mimic the sounds within the songs. Since babies love to sing and listen to musical tones, this is a great way to make them comfortable with the English language early on.

3. Have them Read to You
As a child grows older, parents can turn reading activities over to them. Asking a child to sit down and read books out loud is a great activity. The child does not need to focus on the words. They can read what they have memorized, tell a story surrounding the pictures or describe how they relate to one or two pictures in the book. The key is to continue developing a child's love for books.

4. Sight Words
Once a child reaches the age of four or five, the use of sight words can begin. Sight words are simple, commonly used words in the English language. Examples of the earliest sight words include the, it, we, me, him, do and have. More comprehensive lists are available online and in educational books. Teaching a child to recognize sight words is a fundamental way to help any child gain reading comprehension skills. The sight word list can include more comprehensive words as the child ages, leading to the recognition and memorization of several hundred words by the time the child reaches the fourth grade.

5. Teach By Example
Children are always looking to their parents for inspiration. That is why it is important for parents to teach by example. When it comes to reading, parents who set a good example read themselves. When a child sees their parent reading, they become intrigued or inspired to to pick up their own reading materials. The type of reading material does not matter - it can be a book, magazine or even an interesting online article. The act of reading is the important factor. Parents can also encourage children to read by taking them to the library and encouraging their children to select reading materials that they love, while the parent selects a book to enjoy as well.

Teaching a child to read begins in the earliest days of life, but continues into the teenage years. Parents should embrace this opportunity to spend quality time with their children and provide them with one of life's most important skills.

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