10 Tips To Help Your Child Learn To Read

These ten activities will help parents to start a young child on the road to learning to read and enjoying books.

Many children are starting to read earlier than ever in today's fast paced environment. Instilling the love of reading into children is an important gift for parents to offer, and there are many ways to assist the process of learning to read for a child.

These ten tips will help parents or even older siblings know what to do to lead a younger child along the path to reading enjoyment for a lifetime. Many of the activities will also be beneficial for an older child who may be having a problem with reading or reading comprehension.

1.Read to the child from the earliest possible moment. This is perhaps the most important element in whether a child grows up to enjoy reading. Some experts suggest starting this activity from the moment the child is born. Be sure to spend some time, when the child is old enough, talking about the illustrations in picture books. It will be one of the fundamentals that will allow creativity to start building in the child.

2. Read grocery store ads and sale flyers from the newspaper with preschool or young elementary aged children. This works especially well if the flyer contains some graphics as well as words. Point out the words and the child can help to choose the menu for the family while learning letters and sounds at the same time. You may want to take this a step further and work on the numbers (i.e. prices) at the same time for number recognition.

3. It is fun for a child to see and hear themselves reading a favorite story. Have him or her read into a cassette recorder or take a video movie of the activity. Often the child will point out places where they made mistakes in the reading, and will, in that way, improve the reading for the next time the story is read.

4. Make name tags for items around the house. Ask the child to place the correct tags with the items on which they belong. Post It notes work well for this activity. When the child sees the tags, the name of the item will become more easily recognized as the child masters the letters and sounds that are put together to form words.

5. Take the name tag game a step further and make tags for all of the family members, family pets, friends, etc. The child, of course, will not be putting Post It notes on the family dog or his siblings, but these tags can be pulled out to play a game of "whose name is this?"

6. As often as the family budget will allow, buy a book or two to start building a library for the child. Be sure to add nonfiction books as well as fiction stories. One good source for building a very inexpensive library is to search yard and garage sales. Books for children are usually priced very reasonably. When you buy a new book for the child, be sure to go through the book and point to the words as you are reading it for the first few times. This, too, will help with word and sound recognition.

7. Plan a family game night for once a week. The game should be something word or reading related. Older children might enjoy doing things like crossword puzzles or word searches, and younger children may enjoy creating their own games for these nights. It can also be made into a writing activity. Allow the children to decide what to write about if it is a writing night. The main idea for this activity should be that reading is pleasurable and even children just beginning to learn to read can join in by illustrating stories that other family members write.

8. Have the child design a chart on which to list books that are read. The chart should include title, author, and the number of pages in the book. Plan some kind of small incentive or "prize" when certain goals are reached. These goals can be planned for when a certain number of books or a certain number of pages is reached.

9. Give the child tools needed for writing and illustrating a book to keep in a special "memory box" or to give as a gift to grandparents. Materials needed will be the paper for the book, writing tools, and whatever the child will be using to color the illustrations. This would include crayons or colored pencils most likely. Special accents such as glitter may be appreciated by the young author. It will become obvious very early on to the child that writing and reading are closely connected.

10. To assure that a child comprehends the level of reading you are doing with him or her, read a story aloud that is not illustrated. Ask the child to draw a picture that shows what is happening in the story. You can also draw a picture or have an older sibling do it and have the beginning reader write (or dictate to you) and then read a short story about the picture. If the stories are too advanced, try books that are closer to the child's level so that the desire to learn to read the book himself remains strong.

Remember that the more often a child is exposed to the joys of stories being read aloud, the quicker he will want to learn to read stories by himself.

© High Speed Ventures 2011