When it comes to teaching children to read, not all parents will be heads on with the job. Some parents may feel that they are not capable enough to imbibe reading skills in their children, as they have never taught anyone before. However, all a person needs is the ability to read himself. If that is in place, the next step is to follow some effective strategies on teaching a child to read. Listed below are some of the most useful tips on how to make a child improve his reading comprehension.
Is the Child Ready to Read?
The most important thing to consider is whether your child is ready for it. Usually, by the time children attain the age of two, they are ready to read. But this is not a hard and fast rule, as every child is different. Some children are known to have started developing an inclination towards reading as late as four or five years. A good way to know whether your child is ready is to observe him. Do you find him flipping through the pages of a book? Or does he feel enthusiastic when you teach him letters. If answer to both these questions are in the affirmative, you may proceed further to teach him to read.
Read Aloud to Him
Sit with your child and take a story book or any other children's book. Read the words aloud and keep your finger on the words as you read them. The child will see the printed words and will try to associate them with their sounds. Also, seeing you read will arouse his interest in the activity himself and inculcate the habit in him.
Familiarize Him With Letter Sounds
When children are learning the language, in order to form words, they join the letter sounds. So, an effective teaching strategy is to emphasize on the letter sounds more rather than on the letter names. For example, if you see a dog, point out him to the child saying, 'd d d d dog' or 't t t t tree', and likewise for all letters. Another thing to keep in mind while teaching him letter sounds is to teach him one letter per day. Children take their own sweet time to learn new things, so do not confuse your child by teaching him two-three letters in a single day.
Combine Reading and Writing
Researches have shown that if the children are taught reading and writing side by side, it makes it easier for them to read. When the children combine seeing, writing, and reading, the letters and words get etched in their memory. So, along with reading, teach your child how to write as well.
Make it Fun and Creative
Teaching kids anything should always be fun, so that they do not feel any kind of stress while doing that. A good way to do this is to read through children's books. These books come with stories which concentrate on a single letter sound. There are lots of pictures of the words used in these story books. Read them out and emphasize on the letter sounds. The pictures and the format of the stories go a long way in helping children read. Some other creative ways to make reading fun are to sing the letters and words, and to make flashcards with letters written boldly on them, and then combining these to ask children to guess the word.
Initially, concentrate on the lower case letters, for the simple reason that capital letters form only a small percentage of letters used in writing English. So, for developing a child's reading skills, lower case letters are the key. Secondly, do not lay much importance to grammar in the initial phases. Give the child time to know the letters and the words. Do not interrupt his flow by correcting his grammar every now and then. Lastly, if you search the Internet, you will find a list of 'Dolch words'. These four hundred words are more than enough to make a child learn how to read. So, initially, teach the Dolch words to your child, and then move on to the others.
When it comes to teaching children to do anything, the key lies in practice. The same holds true for reading as well. So, another effective strategy is to initially practice the letter sounds and then move onto the sight words. Practice reading various kinds of children's books and be patient, and give him time to learn and absorb every new letter or word. With constant practice and time, he will eventually learn how to read fluently.