It’s not all that hard to teach your child to read. Dick and Jane basic readers can be fun, but they really aren’t needed. Throughout most of American history, the only book most children ever had access to was a Bible. And they learned to read.
Our society makes learning to read hard because we push our kids to read before they are ready. To be able to read well, there is a nerve between the eye and the brain that needs to mature. If it isn’t developed enough, teaching a child to read is very difficult and very frustrating. The normal time for this nerve to develop is between the ages of 4 and 12. If a child is potty trained at 18 months we are happy, but if she doesn’t get it down until she is 3 or 4, it’s not really a big deal. We recognize that each child develops differently in this area and no one can tell the difference when they are 30. We actually handicap many of our kids by insisting that they read before they are ready. Read to your child every day. Don’t get all uptight if he doesn’t seem interested in reading. If you wait, it will be much easier.
Signs your child is ready:
Knows what signs on the street or at a store mean.
Expresses an interest in letters
Asks to learn to read.
When he expresses an interest, follow these 8 steps and he will be reading in no time.
1st step – When reading to your child, always follow along with your finger.
2nd step – Show your child what a capital A looks like. Have your child find another one on that page. If that is too hard, narrow it down to a line or maybe even a word. When he can identify an A, work on identifying the lower case a. Then do B, b, C, c etc. until he is familiar with the entire alphabet. Play lots of games to help identify letters too.
3rd step – Tell your child what the letter “b” sounds like. Use the letter sound instead of the name and ask her to find that letter. Continue until your child knows all the consonants and short and long vowel sounds.
4th step – Work on diphthongs. “The ch says “ch”. Can you find the letters that say “ch”?
5th step – Work on 2 or 3 letter sight words. Show your child the word “is”. Can he find another “is”?
6th step – Explain basic vowel rules. If it is a vowel-consonant-vowel, the letter sounds like its name. If it is followed by 2 consonants it has a “short” sound. Show her some examples. Ask your child to find other examples. Continue until she can find examples when you ask for each sound.
7th step – Have your child sound out words. Help him whenever he forgets, but make sure he really tires before you tell him what the word is. If your child is reluctant or seems frustrated, have him sound out one word in every sentence with you reading the rest until he is more comfortable. Until your child demonstrates comprehension, always go back and read what they have sounded out.
8th step – Once your child is reading full sentences, stop her frequently and ask questions about what was just read.
Be sure to praise your child heartily every step of the way!
God Bless You All!
~ Grama Sue