The very fact that you are reading this article means that you are passionate about seeing your child become a strong reader! And why shouldn’t you?! Reading is one of the surest ways to improve ALL areas of your child’s cognitive, academic, and emotional development (just to name a few). The BONUS is that you also get to make some wonderful memories together! Win Win!
For the past nine years, I have had the privilege of developing and administering a Reading Program at my children’s school. I have four kids who are now teenagers, but when they were little, I was passionate about seeing them become strong readers!
Over the years, I’ve had MANY desperate parents say to me…
Help! I have to read to my child!
If that sounds like you, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. It’s natural to feel that way sometimes. Perhaps some of their excitement for reading is simply waning, perhaps you need some fresh book ideas, or maybe your child just isn’t engaging in the story yet.
Helpful Hints for Young Readers (age 5 years and younger)
Here are a couple of ideas that I’ve used in the past with my kids to keep them “focused” during our reading times together. These basic reading skills will give them a jump start towards reading on their own!
- Have your child go on a Treasure Hunt throughout the book. Ask them to choose 1 or 2 different letters that they are going to find on each page. For example, “Rachel, your job is to find a capital ‘R’ and a lower-case ‘r’ on each page.” Then, while reading that book, have your child find those letters. Be sure to get them to pronounce the sound of that letter when they find it. (Note: some pages may not contain those letters. That’s ok.)
- Once they are comfortable with simple letters, ask them to find letter groups such as ‘th,’ ‘ch,’ or ‘sh,’ and have them pronounce those sounds, too.
- The next step is to have them find simple words such as ‘is,’ ‘the,’ or ‘and’ on each page. Choose common words that often occur in literature, and eventually, progress to more difficult words.
- Once they know all of their letter sounds, then start choosing random words on each page and ask them to “Sound it out.”
- Remember ~ point to the words as you read! This will help your child notice the words and not just the pictures!
Caution: Always be sure to Follow Their Lead. Once they get tired of finding letters, give them a break and just read the story!
Hopefully, this has given you some fresh ideas for your reading times together! Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Help, I Have to Read to my Child! series… coming soon!