How can I teach my child to read?
Words are all around us!
It is important that children understand that reading is important in all different situations. There are many opportunities to point out words and read them out, for example, the street signs on your way home, the supermarket name on the way into the store, their name on a personalised item, meaningful words on items of clothing such as the name of their favourite character, and of course words in books.
Extension: What letter sound does the word begin with?
For the love of books!
Children can develop a love of books and reading from a very young age… so read, read, read with them. If you read to your child every night as part of their bedtime routine, you will have read to them 365 times in a year! Just 5 minutes a night. From this, they will learn new vocabulary, learn that usually a picture in a book gives clues to what the words say (which they will eventually be able to use as a skill for reading independently), and they may also begin to read regular words… but most importantly they will learn to love books and reading!
Extension: can they ‘read’ a familiar book to you using their memory and pictures cues?
We use many different decoding skills when we are reading and one of those skills is phonics. In reading we use phonics to segment a word and blend it to read what it says. You can start teaching your child this by being like a robot … ‘go put on your c-oa-t’, ’choose a b-oo-k’… this will help your child to get used to hearing the different sounds in words and putting them back together again to recognise the word! (This also will help their writing skills too!)
Extension: can they talk like a robot too?
If you feel your child is ready, you can begin introducing letter sounds to your child. To do this try starting with the letters in their name and focusing on one letter at a time. Try finding that letter wherever they go or in a book you are reading to them, and point it out for them to see… this turns into a fun letter hunt. Can they point to the letter and say it’s sound too? It is important to introduce both the letter’s name and sound at the same time; just as a dog is called a dog but makes the sound woof, a letter has a name (the letters of the alphabet) and a sound too (the way it sounds in a word). This is a great time to start singing the alphabet song!
Extension: can recognise their own name when it is amongst others or written somewhere unexpected, for example, in a book or on a personalised toy?