Learning to read is a significant milestone in a child’s life, but it’s not always an achievement that comes easy. Reading takes a great deal of effort on the part of the child, as well as the parent.
If you’re teaching your toddler to read but feel like you’re hitting a brick wall — you might be going about the process the wrong way. Learn some of the "do’s and don’ts" of teaching a child to read.
Start at the Right Time
There is no specific age at which a child is ready to read. Yet, there are specific cues children who are ready will display. The first of these cues is motivation. Your child must have some level of interest in reading.
Otherwise, he or she will be distracted and look at the reading lessons as more of a punishment. Let your child be the guide and only start when they’re ready.
Talk to Your Child
In the world of literacy, vocabulary and reading go hand-in-hand. Any parent who is teaching their toddler to read must also talk to their child. Every moment is an opportunity to speak to your child.
Whether it’s a discussion about their favorite toy or what they see when they look out of the car window — talk often. Remember, reading is a language development skill. You can’t possibly learn a language without hearing it.
Keep Lessons Short
You might feel like your child moves from one activity to the next in mere seconds, and you might not be too far off the mark. Eight to ten minutes is the average attention span for children that are three to four years old.
Spend 30 minutes on a reading lesson, and you’re likely to lose the child’s interest quickly. Break up the lessons into smaller segments, such as three, ten-minute sessions instead.
Learn to Love Reading
Toddlers spend much of their time imitating their parents. When your child sees you with a book in your hand, they’ll be eager to read just like mommy or daddy.
Develop a love for reading on your own to serve as the perfect example. You might even start a reading time where each family member grabs a book and reads together for 5 minutes or so.
You want your child to learn to read, but you also want your child to understand what they’ve read. Always play teacher when you read with your child.
For example, at the end of the story, ask your child to tell you one of the characters’ names and one thing they did in the story. Gauge their comprehension on their feedback.
Teaching a child to read is not a race, but is instead a marathon. With each new day are new lessons and opportunities to adjust your techniques as your child gains more skills. Be patient, keep up the excellent work and know that you’re teaching your child a valuable, lifelong skill.