Few things in life are as charged and fraught as parenting advice. When it comes to their children, people understandably pay more attention and effort than usual. And education advice like learning how to read can be intense because there are a lot of factors to consider. With all the competing ideas and methods out there, it might make you wonder: is there a “right” way to teach your kids how to read?
The answer is yes. Different individuals learn at different paces and one medium that works for one child might not work for another. But there is a right way to prepare your child for reading which can greatly help them improve their language skills. This article will cover just that and the most common mediums for teaching a child how to read.
How Kids Learn How to Read
A topic that has been highly debated among researchers for decades, there is still no definitive answer to how the learning process works in children. But what has been surmised and agreed upon by academics is that it starts off as a guessing game for them. They start by relating different sounds to letters which allow them to figure out alphabets and basic vocabulary.
As thus, the best way to teaching your kid how to read is the phonemic approach. This teaching approach focuses on using individual sounds as the basis for learning to read and write. It also makes the child confident in learning more difficult words which is important as English also has non-phonetic words. Unless taught systematically, difficult words that don’t follow the general rule of phonetics becomes more difficult for a child to learn. You should be patient when teaching your kid to read as it can be an easy process for some but difficult for others.
Making Sure They’re Ready
Before you commit to teaching your kid how to read, first ensure that your kid is actually ready for the process. Many children can start reading at preschool age while for others it may take until they’re five or six, or even more. You can start off by introducing your child to games based on sounds and printed material so that you can slowly familiarize them with the learning process. After familiarizing them with games you should start teaching your child the alphabet. Once your child makes enough progress, you can opt for the following teaching mediums
The tried and tested method for centuries, this classic method is still very effective. Many parents think that just repeatedly reading books to their children is enough to familiarize them with letters, but it’s not. You need to draw their attention to each individual letters and stress on each part of a word’s pronunciation. The best way to do this is to follow each word with your finger as you read. Read the same books over and over again until your child can identify and pronounce the book’s text properly.
Flashcards / Games
Learning to read through flashcards and games is more appealing to children as they’re fun, but unfortunately, this method doesn’t cultivate a reading habit in children, unlike books. The flashy visuals make a stronger impression on children’s minds which helps them memorize letters, sounds, and words more easily. Some of the best flashcards and games are:
- Pictionary: This popular group game requires a child to draw a work whispered to them or a flashcard shown to them. If one is successful, that participant gets to select the next word or flashcard.
- Charades: The classic version just requires a group while the modern version of this game can utilize flashcards. One member of the group whispers a word to the actor’s ears which he/she acts out. Then the rest of the group has to figure out the word.
- Pass and say: Another fun group game, it’s similar to the musical chair. Allot one flashcard for every three children and have them sit in a circle. Now the children have to continuously pass the card to the next person after pronouncing the word on the card.
With the advent of smartphones and the internet, there are also a lot of apps available that teach children how to read. Chances are you have a computer, laptop or tab in the house which can be used for this purpose. The bigger the device the better as bigger screens draw more focus. The benefits of using apps are that they’re fun for the kids and don’t require you to actively participate in the teaching process. But on the flip side, it can get your child addicted to a smart device or not teach effectively. So you need to be careful about choosing the right app. Some of the best apps for teaching children how to read will focus on both verbal and written techniques and keep you updated on your child’s progress.
All in all
Teaching your kid how to read is an important part of their overall mental development. That is why you need to be patient and find a medium that makes it easier for your child to learn. So take your time in making the correct decision for your kid.