I have 5 children. I am happy to say that I taught all of them to read. While the approach I used is essentially the same - used textbooks, workbooks and online reading programs, the progress of reading of the kids vary.
It took a while before Kristel, our third child, learned to read. She was 5 when she really learned to read and that is after I've been homeschooling her for almost a year. Unlike her 2 older brothers who were already reading at age 4, Kristel learned to read a year later. I had to exercise patience because her attitude toward studying was quite different from that of her brothers. Let's just say that it is not her inclination. But I'm just so glad that my efforts paid off and she learned reading and voluntarily doing so.
Would you like to teach your child to read? Here are some of the things you can do to help your child learn to read:
1. Talk and listen to your child.
Hearing you talk is a baby’s very first step toward becoming a reader. It helps her to love language and to learn words. As your child grows older, engage her into talking and listen to her. By doing so, she is encouraged to think as she speaks.
2. Read together with her.
Children love stories. Try to spend at least 30 minutes each day reading to and with your child. At first, read for no more than a few minutes at a time, several times a day and choose books with many pictures. As your child grows older, you should be able to tell if he wants you to read for longer periods. Most of all, make sure that reading stays fun for both of you!
3. Show your child that you read.
When your child sees that reading is important to you, she may decide that it is important to her, too.
4. Help your child learn about books and print.
Reading together is a perfect time to help a late toddler or early preschooler learn what print is. As you read aloud, stop now and then and point to letters and words; then point to the pictures they stand for. Your child will begin to understand that the letters form words and that words name pictures. He will also start to learn that each letter has its own sound—one of the most important things your child can know when learning to read.
5. Encourage your child’s early writing efforts.
Writing and reading go hand in hand. As your child is learning one, he is learning the other. Take every opportunity for him to practice both.
Even at about age 2, he can be encouraged to draw and scribble using crayons and paper. He will have fun choosing which colors to use and which shapes to make. As he holds and moves the crayons, he will also develop muscle control.
When he is a late toddler or early preschooler, he will become as eager to write as he is to read. Using laminated wipe-clean pages were very helpful to my children in their first efforts to learn to draw, write letters and numbers.
Here are some web resources that were helpful in teaching my kids to read:
1. www.Starfall.com - Where children have fun to read because it is animated and uses interactive learning. Primarily designed for first grade, Starfall is also useful for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and second grade. It is perfect for homeschooling. Most of all, it's free to use.
2. www.Headsprout.com - This learning to read program is not free but highly recommended for K-2 or older struggling readers. It uses fun, online interactive lessons, offers printed stories and gives a progress report of your child's reading.
"As parents, the most important thing we can do is read to our children early and often. Reading is the path to success in school and life. When children learn to love books, they learn to love learning.”
- Laura Bush
Learn more about my Top 5 Tips for Teaching Kids How to Read