I am a homeschooling mother of two, and it was a very different process to help each child read.
My first child was an amazingly fast learner and was reading chapter books by the age of 4! Today, she is 20 and still an avid reader. My second child is the complete opposite. While she loves to read, learning does not come as easy for her, and reading had a bit of a slow start. She has to strive and work hard to make good grades that were so easy for my oldest.
When it came to teaching my youngest to read, it was so hard to keep my perspective and not blame myself for her slow start. However, I never gave up, and today, my sweet third grader has improved by leaps and bounds and is reading chapter books. She still has some room for improvement that will come with our diligent pursuit of good reading skills.
I want to share my methods with you in hopes that you can save yourself mental anguish, self-loathing, and that “I must be a horrible mother” bologna!
5 Tips to Help Your Child Read
1. Sight Words. You must be diligent with these. They will save you a ton of stress, and will make learning to read far less frustrating for your child. I recommend mastering 5 (no more than 10) at a time. Make sure they have them down before moving on to the next batch. Here is a printable of all 220 Dolch sight words in alphabetical order and by grade.
2. Label Everything. I actually did this with both of my children. I taped words all over the house. All you need are some index cards, tape, and a marker. Then, label everything that you can. For instance, write out: wall, chair, bookcase, book, stove, door, window, and so on and so on and so on. Tape them to said item. Then use every opportunity that you can to point and say the word. They will see it and hear it. Before you know it, they will be pointing them out to you! This is a great way to build up their vocabulary too.
3. Read to Them. This may seem like it does not matter, but I assure you that it does. Having your child sit in your lap while you read to them will do wonders in the overall “learning to read” process. Not only do they hear you, they see the words as you are reading. Let them watch. Pause often to show them words and talk about them. Use important words in the story to expand their vocabulary. This is also a great time to teach reading comprehension by talking about the story. Do not just read. Talk about it. Make sure they are listening and understanding what they are hearing. One more thing I want to mention is to start as early as possible. Even a baby can benefit! Start reading early!
4. Relax. I think we put undue pressure on our children because of our own insecurities, caring too much about what others think, and comparing their progress to other children. We must remember that every child is different. We cannot put our kids in a box and make them learn at another child’s pace. It is OK if they take a little longer. Even the smallest bit of progress is a good thing. Trust me, I have been there. It was not until early 3rd grade that my youngest finally started to “get it”… Lesson learned: Always move at their pace—not yours. Do not put undue pressure and stress on yourself or your precious little one.
5. Consistency is Key. This is probably the most important tip of all. Do not give up. It is vital that reading is a part of their every day life. I do not mean to become a reading drill sergeant and make your child hate reading, I mean create an atmosphere and lifestyle of reading. Spend time reading to them every day, and having them review sight words–keeping it fun and light. Use every opportunity you can to encourage, help, and cultivate reading skills. Never give up! Keep going–they will eventually read!
Well, I hope that these tips encourage and help your child read. Don’t allow frustration, slow starts, self doubts, or the opinions of others to discourage you. Be consistent, steady, light, and diligent; and before you know it, you will have an avid reader in your midst!
Do you have tips that helped your child read?
Copyright © Lara Velez, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved