We asked on Instagram and Facebook what questions you might have on teaching your child to read some weeks back. Thank you for your responses! We had quite a lot of answers from educators and homeschooling mothers - basically parents who already have an idea what to do and how to teach this very important skill. But the silence from non-teacher parents is interesting. Sometimes the topic (on teaching reading) is so daunting that we may not even know what we don't know.
Fret not yeah? We are here to outline several practical things you can do to help your child read. If you can do these often, there's a high chance your child will just magically learn to read on his own! Then all you need to do is to just fan his interest in reading and fill in the gaps. After all, it happened to a lot of us without formal phonics training, didn't it?
Read a lot to your child.
Reading as a habit and a skill can be caught if you read to your child consistently.
- Read the same story again and again if it is a book your child loves.
- Do active reading with your child. Pause to look at the illustrations, ask him/her what do you think the main character is feeling? What do you think will happen next? Why do you say that?
- Let your child talk to you about the book. Respond to his questions and thought processes. Reading isn't a race to flip to the last page.
Have a print-rich environment
- Label objects around the house
- Store books on accessible shelves so your child can reach for them easily.
- Go on frequent trips to the library
- Let your children see you reading physical books
- Limit screen time (TV, ipads and computers) so kids will be bored and may just reach for a book ;)
Play word games to practise and reinforce phonemic (phonics/letter sounds) and syllabic awareness
- Phonic sound game - “I spy with my little eye an object that starts with /d/” and your child looks around him and guesses "dog? daddy? dust?" --> a great boredom buster on car trips and an awesome way to introduce new vocabulary
- Syllable awareness game - “How many claps are there in the word barber/metamorphosis?” (barber has 2; metamorphosis has 5) --> this game helps the child segment words into syllables. A good skill to have in learning spelling.
- Rhyming game - "What words rhyme with 'day'?" (bay, clay, play, may) --> appreciation of rhyme will help children learn that words that share the same sound are spelt similarly. They learn to read word families quickly!
- Talk a lot to your child - what you see, hear, smell on the way to the market, at the mall, restaurant, at the museum etc. These everyday experiences not only serve as important moments of connection between you and your child, it lays his linguistic foundation. It is so much harder to read and spell a word they’ve have never heard before than a familiar word they hear a lot.
And when your child knows his letter sounds very well already, you can consider moving to the next step, which is trying to spell phonetic words by hearing. Then reading by blending sounds. If these sound alien to you, here's a demo video outlining the whole process. Try it out with your child using a set of letters! These materials (and more are included in our latest Space Box).
Remember to read to your child today!
And if you have any questions, leave a comment and let's see if we can provide some quick answers!