Simple Steps to Teach Kids How to Read
Although reading itself is a complex process, involving a number of different literacy skills, the steps taken in order to introduce those skills are relatively simple. In order to teach kids how to read, and how to enjoy the reading that they do, here are some simple and time-tested strategies that that are good to use.
Have books on hand
It’s helpful to have a range of good books available at home for your child to read. If you don’t have them at home, make sure you take regular trips to the library to ensure your child reads different kinds of books. One of the benefits of reading a variety of books is that your child will be exposed to a wider range of words, thereby building their vocabulary. They will also learn about different genres, fiction and non-fiction books, story structures and many other features of books that only variety can impart.
Read to your child
Not only is reading to your child enjoyable for all concerned, it also provides your child with a vocal model of the fluent reading of text. Having a vocal model is important for young children who are still learning how to pronounce certain letter sounds and words.
Asking your child questions about a story they have read allows them to think critically and reflect on its structure, themes, characters and plot. It also turns them from passive readers into a reader that actively engages and derives meaning from the story. Reading for meaning should be the ultimate goal and by asking your child questions you can help develop the critical thinking skills so valuable in later school life.
Know what is effective
The best reading programs teach kids how to read by instructing in five literacy skill areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension. The process of learning to read is a complex one, involving the use of a number of different literacy skills. Awareness of these areas is helpful when teaching your child how to read, as each area has an important part to play in reading:
Phonemic awareness is the first step in learning how to read. It is the understanding that words are made up of individual sounds, called phonemes. Phonemic awareness enables readers to hear the individual units of sound in words, identify them, and use them both in speech, and later, writing.
Phonics is the understanding that written spellings represent the sounds of spoken words.
Fluency is the bridge between recognising words and understanding what is read. Fluent readers are able to spend less time on decoding words and more time on the deeper meaning within a text.
A vocabulary is the repository of known words, first the speaking and listening vocabulary, and following this, the reading and writing vocabulary. The more words that readers have in their speaking and listening vocabulary, the easier time they will have in building their reading and writing vocabulary.
Comprehension skills are critical to a child’s reading ability, providing them with the means to derive meaning from a text. Reading for meaning is the end goal of learning to read and developing comprehension skills early on can help your child immensely in their future education.
ABC Reading Eggs incorporates all five literacy areas in its lessons, combining scientifically based reading activities with highly motivational elements. Featuring highly engaging animations, playful sound effects and catchy music, early ABC Reading Eggs lessons introduce children to a range of interactive activities that reinforce letter sound and shape, building phonemic awareness and phonics skills, as well as vocabulary and comprehension. The reading of an ebook forms the end of the lesson, allowing children to apply skills they have learnt.