How To Teach A Child To Read

Are you a parent, teacher, or caregiver who wants to help a child learn to read? Teaching kids how to read can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be daunting. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! In this blog post, we’ll share tips and tricks for teaching kids to read.

Start Young

Teaching a child to read starts early. Babies learn the sounds of the language they’re exposed to, and toddlers can begin to recognize simple words. To ensure your child’s success in reading, it’s important to start them young. Use songs and nursery rhymes to build phonemic awareness, make simple word cards at home, and engage your child in a print-rich environment. Additionally, playing word games at home or in the car can help foster a love of reading. Understanding the core skills involved in teaching kids to read is key. Once your child has a basic foundation of phonemic awareness, it’s time to move on to more complex literacy activities.

Make Reading Fun

Reading can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both you and your child. To make it as fun as possible, start by picking the right books. Choose ones that match your child’s interests and age level. Encourage them to explore all types of reading materials, including books, magazines, newspapers, and online sources. You can also act out the stories with your child, use props, and make connections to their everyday life. Additionally, create a cozy reading space in your home and let your child pick out their own books to read. Finally, introduce wordless books and let them practice telling the story aloud. All of these activities will make reading more fun and engaging for your child.

Explain Words and Their Meanings

Explaining words and their meanings is essential to a child’s reading development. A solid vocabulary is essential for comprehension, so make sure to point out unfamiliar words and explain their meanings. When a child reads a book that includes words they don’t know, pause to define the word and explain its meaning. This will help the child understand the text and gain confidence in their reading abilities.

Encourage your child to ask questions about unfamiliar words and encourage them to look up definitions in a dictionary or online. You can also teach basic phonics and have your child sound out unknown words. This will help them recognize patterns in words and develop better reading skills.

When introducing new words, use examples from everyday life. Show them how the word is used in context and discuss its meaning. For example, if you’re introducing the word “enormous”, you could point out a large item, such as a car or house, and explain that it is enormous. Repetition is key with new vocabulary words, so repeat the word throughout the day when appropriate.

Introduce Sight Words

Introducing sight words to your child is an important part of learning to read. Sight words are words that appear often in the English language and can’t easily be sounded out. Examples of sight words include “the,” “of,” and “was.” When teaching sight words, start with a few words at a time and practice them regularly. Give your child ample opportunity to read and write the words. You can also make learning fun by playing sight word games. Hang sight word cards around the classroom, create word puzzles, or use flashcards to help your child learn these important words. When introducing new sight words, explain their meaning and ask your child to demonstrate their understanding by using the word in a sentence. With consistent practice, your child will soon master sight words and be on their way to becoming an independent reader.

Read Together Regularly

Reading together with your child is one of the most important things you can do to help them learn to read. This can be done in many ways, such as reading aloud stories or articles, playing word games, or even just talking about the books you have both read. Reading together can help your child to understand the structure of stories, develop an interest in reading, and build vocabulary. Set aside a regular time each day to read together, such as before bedtime or after dinner. Make it special by providing a cozy space and fun reading materials that your child will enjoy. Talk about the books you’re reading and discuss the characters, plot and themes. Ask questions and encourage your child to share their opinion. By making reading a regular part of your child’s life, you can help to foster a lifelong love of reading.

Practice Phonemic Awareness Skills

Good phonological awareness starts with kids picking up on sounds, syllables and rhymes in the words they hear. To help children develop phonemic awareness, parents and teachers can start by giving them opportunities to practice early reading skills by talking, singing, rhyming, and playing guessing games. A great way to practice this skill is to say a sound and ask your child to say a word that begins with this sound. Additionally, games like I Spy are great for helping children identify sounds quickly. Another excellent activity is to carry a tune as you read stories; this helps children pick up on the syllables and rhymes in words. Incorporating books with repetitive words or phrases also helps build their confidence and understanding of sounds. Lastly, consider using phonemic task cards to focus specifically on the phonetic sounds our alphabet makes. With practice and guidance, you can help your child build phonemic awareness skills and become a strong reader.

Encourage Your Child to Retell Stories

Retelling a story is the reader’s account of what happened in a book. It’s important for young children to learn how to retell stories as it helps reinforce their understanding and comprehension of what they’ve read. Here are some ways you can encourage your child to retell stories:

Read the story to them and ask them questions at the end. Ask your child to retell the story, whilst looking at the pictures. Ask your child to write, draw, or tell you 4 things they remember about the story. Let your child ask you questions about the story and provide answers where needed. Ask your child to retell what they read. Don’t give too many hints or ask too many questions. The retelling will give you a good idea of what your child has learned from the story.

Another strategy for students who struggle with retelling after they read a story, is to first start with their own writing. When a child writes his/her own version of the story, they can practice thinking critically and actively engage in their learning. Ask students to predict/remember what’s going to happen in the story and then go back and check if they were right after reading it.

Picture books are also a great way to help children understand how to retell stories. These picture books help teach this concept by having clear visuals and characters that are easy for children to remember.

When your child reads, get her to retell the story or information.

Use Games and Activities to Support Reading Development

Reading is an important skill for children to learn and can be supported through the use of games and activities. Games can be a fun and engaging way to help children learn reading skills such as word recognition, spelling patterns, phonemic awareness, and sight word recognition. Here are some game ideas to help make learning to read exciting:

Display letters and words around the classroom. Children are naturally curious and will look for them. Creating word families can also help reinforce letter recognition, as well as strengthen vocabulary skills.

Try decoding games that involve matching sounds to letters or words. Word search bingo is another great way to practice sight words in a fun and interactive way.

Help children practice phonemic awareness by clapping rhythmically together and saying words that start with the same sound. Another fun activity is to play ‘fish’ with sight words. The goal is to match the sight word on the card with the one on the fishing pole.

Incorporate writing into reading activities as well. Encourage beginning and developing writers to keep journals and write stories. Ask questions that will help them organize the stories, and respond to their stories in a positive manner.

Finally, make reading time fun by playing games such as Connect Four with word stickers. Pick one of the word stickers, read the sight word correctly, then put the word piece into the game.

Incorporate Technology into Reading Time

Reading has come a long way in recent years, and technology has been a major part of that progress. From text-to-speech (TTS) technology to interactive video games, there are a variety of tools available to help children learn to read. TTS technology has been found to support decoding, which frees the listener to focus on the meaning of the text. Tablet devices with a stylus can also be used to trace letters, helping children learn the shapes and sounds of each letter. Reading digital texts may take more mental effort, so it is important to provide access to a wide variety of texts and activities for children. Utilize technology to help create a print-rich environment, with daily opportunities for children to build their reading skills.

Talk About Books During Other Activities

Talking about books and stories can help your child develop their reading skills in unexpected ways. When you’re not actively reading, engage your child in conversations about books and stories. You can talk about the characters, plot points, settings, and other details of the story. This helps children develop critical thinking, language, and comprehension skills. You can also use story time to introduce new vocabulary words and ask questions about the story. Talking about a book’s content helps children to think more deeply about what they are reading and to make connections between the story and their own lives.

Visit the Library Often

Visiting the library is an excellent way to get your child engaged in reading. It can be an exciting and educational experience that they will remember fondly. Whenever possible, take your child to the library and encourage them to explore the books available. Arrange your visits around story time, so your child can listen to stories read aloud by the librarian or other patrons. Practise using quiet “library voices” at home, so it’s easier for them to remember to use their inside voices when visiting the library. At the library, go to the children’s section and encourage your child to browse the books. To give kids a strong start, almost every community offers programs to help kids read. Get a library card for your child and show them how to use it. This guide includes tips for checking out, avoiding late fees, storing books, book activities, and more! Libraries are a true gift to kids as reading has been proven to improve language skills, critical thinking, and comprehension. This effect is likely because reading helps children learn to take in, interpret, comprehend, and store information, improving their ability to process complex ideas and draw conclusions. Help your child understand that reading is important by letting him see you reading maps, books, recipes, and directions. Suggest reading as a fun activity that you can do together and make it part of your daily routine. You can even have a Library Scavenger Hunt where you search for certain books or work with word families and use an easy reader

Utilize Writing as a Tool for Learning to Read

Writing is an important tool for developing reading skills. Writing helps to build phonemic awareness and can help children more easily recognize words. It also helps to reinforce concepts such as spelling, grammar, and syntax. To utilize writing as a tool for learning to read, make simple word cards at home, have your child write stories or sentences, and encourage them to practice their handwriting regularly. You can also have them write down words they come across in books or articles that they don’t understand and look them up together. Additionally, take advantage of your child’s interest in talking by writing a book together. Start out with something simple, like describing a fun day at the beach or park, and have them draw pictures to go along with the story. Writing is a great way to foster a love of reading in your child and will be beneficial in their overall development.

Give Positive Feedback and Rewards

Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective tools for teaching a child to read. Praise and rewards are essential for building a child’s self-esteem and motivating them to keep learning. Research shows that positive reinforcement increases the likelihood of a behavior occurring again by as much as 50%. When providing positive reinforcement, it is important to focus on efforts rather than talents and to give rewards immediately after the desired behavior. This helps children learn to associate their hard work with positive outcomes. Additionally, sending thank you notes to students and giving them meaningful feedback can help them understand the mistakes they made and provide strategies for success in the future. Finally, utilizing games, activities, technology and free reading can be fun ways to reinforce and reward your child’s reading progress. By using positive reinforcement, you can encourage your child to continue developing their reading skills.

Allow Time for Free Reading

Allow your child to explore their own interests when it comes to reading. Encourage them to find books that they are interested in and set aside time for them to read independently. Reading should never be a chore, but rather a time to explore the world through stories. Free reading provides an opportunity for your child to explore topics that interest them, and build their understanding of language, grammar, and vocabulary. When your child is engaged in free reading, be sure to provide positive feedback and discuss the books they’re reading. This will help them to connect with the stories and characters, and build their knowledge of new words and phrases.

Highlight Letters and Sounds in Everyday Life

Highlighting letters and sounds in everyday life is an important part of teaching your child to read. Point out the letters you see in signs, commercials, magazines, and other everyday sources. Talk about the sounds the letters make, and how they come together to form words. Encourage your child to look for letters and sounds as you go about your day. You can even create opportunities for letter recognition by taking a walk to look for words that begin with a certain letter or contain a certain sound. As you go through this process, make sure to be patient and positive with your child. Learning to read takes time, but it can be a fun and rewarding experience for both of you when you take the time to highlight letters and sounds in your everyday life.


In conclusion, teaching a child to read is a rewarding and worthwhile experience. With careful planning and patience, you can inspire a lifelong love of reading in your child. By providing them with interesting and engaging materials, applying a systematic approach to instruction, and offering plenty of encouragement, you can ensure your child will be reading independently in no time.

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