Teaching Your Child to Read

Teaching your child to read is easier than you might think. Children as young as three can learn to read. I have taught my children and you can, too. You do not need expensive phonics programs and materials. A pack of alphabet cards, some chalk, markers, paint, or sand, and a positive attitude are all you need!

Choose a time when you and your child are mentally alert. Make sure your child is not hungry, tired, or too full. Early morning or after a nap is a good time. Stretch out on the floor or sit your little one in your lap. Try to make this experience comfortable and inviting. Remember to praise your child's effort and attitude as well as his success. Children learn at different rates. This is not a contest. Do not compare your child to others. He will learn when he is ready.

First, make sure that your child knows the letters of the alphabet. If she is not already familiar with the letters, teach her by singing the alphabet song and showing her the letters on your cards or the chalkboard or an alphabet poster. When your child can recognize the letters you can move on to teaching her the sounds.

Start with the consonants first. Show your child the letter. Say the sound of the letter and have your child repeat the sound of the letter. Trace the letter on the card and in the air. Have your child write the letter on the chalkboard, dry-erase board, in the sand or on paper with crayon, markers, or paint. Play games with your child where you say a word and he has to tell you the beginning or ending sound of the word. Be sure to praise your child. Teach only one consonant a day or week. Do not move on until you are sure that your child has mastered the letter. Review all of the previously taught letters before you move on to a new one.

After your child has learned the consonants, move on to the short vowel sounds, then the long vowel sounds and the letter y. Once your child has mastered all of these, you may start combining letters to make simple words such as "mom" and "dad." Have your child pick out simple words in her favorite story books. Young children feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment when they can read. Try to make this a wonderful experience for your child so she learns to love reading. A child who loves to read is on the road to success!