As parent of a child who is learning to read, you might wonder what you can do to help them. Reading is becoming more and more essential for our daily lives, both for children and adults.
Whether it is reading stories, street signs, recipes and instructions, we all need to practice our reading skills daily.
Here at Maths Words not Squiggles, we understand that for parents, teaching your child to read can feel like an overwhelming task. Well, it was… until now!
This easy-to-follow article will provide you with tips and tricks to help you teach your child to read. We know that reading will help to improve not only their grades, but also their confidence.
So, sit back, relax, have a cup of coffee (or two) and enjoy the following tips!
1. Focus on the sounds of the letters
Someone wise once said that we cannot learn to run if we do not learn to walk first. Guess what? The same idea applies when learning to read!
Before a child can learn a word, it is important to teach them what sound each letter makes. It is recommended to teach the sounds associated with each letter of the alphabet. For example, the ‘c’ makes the /c/ sound (pronounced just like the word ‘cat’).
When the connections between letters and sounds grow, the number of words your child can sound out will also increase.
2. Start with uppercase letters
When a child is starting to read, it is recommended to start with uppercase letters instead of lowercase letters.
Even though lowercase letters are more common, uppercase letters are easier to identify.
For example, the ‘b’ and the ‘d’ look extremely similar and to a young child this is tremendously confusing.
On the other hand, ‘B’ and ‘D’ look less alike so it is easier to distinguish between them.
A fun activity you can try using upper case letter is using uppercase magnets to identity letters and sort them onto a magnetic board when your child identifies them correctly.
3. Important of using phonetics
I am sure you have heard your children’s teachers throw the word ‘phonics’ around, but what does it actually mean?
Well, phonics refers to the relationship between the sound of the letter and appearance of written letters. Of course, letters can make different sounds when blended together. This article on Twinkl describes how phonics is used in different phases and what teachers focus on in each.
Students who understand phonics tend to become better readers.
So, how can you teach your child phonetics? One way to do so is to ask them to read a word letter by letter by identifying which sound each letter makes.
After this, you can ask you child to try to combine the sound of the letters together. Once they are able to blend the sounds of the word together, they can combine them and read the entire word.
4. Balance between sight words & phonics
So, let’s assume you have applied all these tips so far, and all is going well.
What a relief! That is until your child asks you that one tricky question about reading that makes you think ‘oh no, how am I supposed to explain this one?!’
That question is something along the lines of “I don’t understand this word. You say it sounds like this, but it sounds nothing like it is spelt. Why is that?”
Do not fear, because this is where the skill of memorising sight words comes in to save the day.
Phonics are used only when words sound like they are spelt. However, sight words are learnt when phonic skills do not apply to certain words.
Sight words should be memorised by the word and not by the sound.
For example, the word ‘the’ doesn’t sound like how the letters sound by themselves.
Memorising sight words is process that can be confusing to younger students. This is why patience and encouragement is key! Having students write sight words down and repeat them can be a helpful way for them to memorise their spelling and unusual pronunciation.
5. Play word games
Fun is the secret ingredient for keeping a child engaged and focused whilst learning to read.
Reading doesn’t always have to mean sounding out words from a book for hours on end. There are many materials that can make reading more enjoyable.
Our teachers recommend these options:
- memory games
- hiding post-it notes with sight words around the house like a treasure hunt, with children reading them aloud when found
- write sight words with:
- colourful pens
- kinetic sand
- scrabble tiles
5. Electronic games
Online games are a super helpful tool for children.
These online games could present as more of a reward to children as opposed to ‘school’ or ‘learning’ and can help the resistant learner become more familiar with sounds and reading – without them even realising it!
How easy is that?
We hope this article provided some useful tips to help you teach your child how to read. We also understand that parents are busy people, and learning to read takes time.
Do you want some help teaching your child how to read?
Reach out to find out how we can help –
At MWNS, we offer primary school tutoring in Maths and English to help students start their education journey on the right foot. All our Maths and English tutors tailor their lessons to the individual needs of our students and work on providing the younger students with the foundations they will need throughout their schooling. By working at a pace that suits and benefits each child, we are able to maximise their learning in an enjoyable environment.
Our Maths and English tutoring is available in centre (Central Coast Tutoring, Eastern Suburbs Tutoring, Inner West Tutoring, Northern Beaches Tutoring, South Sydney Tutoring, Sutherland Shire Tutoring) and online. Whether you are looking for a Maths tutor or an English tutor, MWNS is able to help build your child’s confidence.