Five Tips on How to Teach a Kid to Read
If you want to teach a kid to read, there are a few things you need to know. It’s a long and complicated process, and it may take several years before a child can really understand what they’re reading. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five tips to help you make it easier on yourself and your child.
The Best Way to Learn English
The easiest way for children to learn to read is through the phonics method. That is, teaching them to sound out words in sequences like “salt” and “sno-cap.” This works great for kids who come from book-lined homes where print is part of the home culture. But it’s not a good fit for children who have dyslexia, explains Laura Phillips, PsyD, a clinical neuropsychologist at the Child Mind Institute in Washington, D.C.
Another way to teach a kid to read is to expose them to lots of different topics, she says. Having variety is important, because kids need to hear a word several times in many different contexts before they begin to understand it.
She also recommends getting them interested in nonfiction books, as these often have plenty of pictures to show what they’re talking about. For example, there are many on-level books about cars, dinosaurs and dogs that are perfect for preschoolers.
Tip #4: Flashcards are Not the Answer
A popular strategy to teach children to read is to use flashcards, but it doesn’t work as well as teachers would hope. One reason is that children don’t really remember new words when they see them on a flashcard. Rather, they remember them when they hear them in everyday conversation or when they play with you.
That’s why some teachers and administrators call their reading programs a “balanced literacy” approach, in which children learn a lot of information about their environment. That may work for some kids, but it doesn’t do much to help children who are struggling with phonics and decoding.
For children who need to memorize words, they can look at a list of sight words and try to repeat them aloud. Then, they can practice writing them on a sheet of paper. Or they can color them, stamp them, write them in a book, or draw them in their play.
This helps them to remember the word, and it also gets them thinking about how they’re using the word. Once they have a sense of how to use it, they’ll begin to read it on their own.
Tip #5: Dialogic Reading is a Great Way to Teach Your Child to Read
It’s not easy for infants and toddlers to understand the language of books, but reading with them at home and hearing them read to you helps them develop their motor skills and pincer grasp. They also become familiar with how pages turn, which is a skill they’ll need when they’re ready to start learning to read on their own.