6 Awesome & Simple Ways to Help Kids Learn to Read
As a parent, you’re incredibly busy. You know how important it is to prepare your child to read but fitting in one more thing, even such an important one, can feel overwhelming. I have good news! You’re already helping your child get ready to read without even knowing it.
Before they learn how to read, kids need to get ready to learn how to read; this is what educators call early literacy. These 6 awesome and simple tips will help you get your child ready to learn how to read. The best part is that these are all thing you’re probably already doing. The key is to make sure that you do these and other activities on a consistent basis.
Vital to prepare children to learn to read & write. 90% of a child’s brain is developed before age five!
6 Ways to Help Kids Learn to Read
Singing slows language down. It also introduces rhythm and rhyme which make it easier to remember words. I bet you can still sing nursery rhymes that you learned before you could read. The next time you’re in the car with your child, pop in a CD or turn on the radio and sing along. If you’re willing to sing using a silly a voice, that’s even better. As your child gets older, encourage her to sing along with you or to teach you songs that she’s learned at preschool.
Point to objects and then say the word. For example: Point to your ear and say, “Ear”, then point to your child’s ear and repeat the word. When you’re driving or taking a walk, point to things and ask, “What is that?” Even if your child isn’t talking yet, ask questions and listen to the answer. Repeat the word. Younger kids often enjoy looking at photos. Pull out your phone or a photo album and name the people, places, and things in the photos.
Word learning takes place in many small steps. You don’t learn a word all at once. It takes repeated encounters with a word to bring it to a point where you own it. – William Nagy, Seattle Pacific University
When you’re writing a shopping list or a to-do list, sit down with your child. Give him a pencil and paper too and encourage him to make his own list. Make your lists together. Show him the words you’ve written and say each one. When you go to the store, show him the word as you pick up the item; this connects the idea that the written words symbolize actual things.
When you give your child paper and a pencil or crayon and encourage her to mimic writing, you’re helping her understand that those written marks are related to letters and words. Plus, it’s a great exercise for developing hand-eye coordination.
5. Magnetic Letters
Use magnetic letters to spell words on your refrigerator. Say the word several times to your child. Encourage him to sort the letters. For younger children, try asking them to sort the letters by color or by shape or to choose all of the letters that have a hole in them. For older children, write a word such as their names and have them pick out the letters that are in that word.
Finally, the library offers several storytimes for a variety of ages. Each one ties into practicing the skills that your child needs to learn to read: Talk, sing, read, write, and play. All of our storytimes are free with no preregistration. Just bring your child and be prepared to have fun!
Another great resource is our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Read books to and with your child to earn prizes.
Further activities to prepare your child to read
- Sign up for our Picture Book eNewsletter which has librarian selected new picture books every other month.
- Check out a literacy kit from one of our branches.
- Read our tips about reading with babies.