, or you’re looking for a big picture overview of the process, I’ve got you covered.
This ultimate guide to
teaching kids how to read
shares the four signs kids are ready, the word to teach them first and the step-by-step on where to go next.
It’s a great page to
pin to your Pinterest boards or add to your favorite URLs list
so you can easily come back and refer to it again.
4 Signs Kids Are Ready to Read
Like many things in life, it can be hard to predict when a child’s brain will be ready to make the millions of connections required to actually read a word on her own.
It’s similar to what happens when babies learn to walk – they pull themselves up to a standing position for months, hold your hands as they practice taking shaky steps forward and then one day, maybe unexpectedly, take their first steps on their own. (A moment parents will never forget!)
Just like kids show signs that they’re almost ready to start walking, they also give clues that they are ready to begin reading. These are called
and they include four concepts: motivation, print awareness, letter recognition and phonological awareness.
If kids are picking up books on their own, are recognizing the first letter of their name or have started recognizing rhyming words, they are likely ready to start learning how to read.
You can learn more about what each pre-reading skill looks like and easy ways to teach it
Phonics vs. Whole Language
Before we jump in and start talking about the word to teach kids first, let’s pause for a moment so we can take a big picture view of what’s coming.
Then I remind them that letters make individual sounds and clumps of letters make words. Understanding the relationship between letters and words from the beginning makes the next steps (learning letter sounds and eventually combining those sounds to make words) more meaningful.
With the catchy jingle still stuck in their head, I have kids play a fun
to reinforce their learning.
Learning Letter Names and Sounds
Once kids learn how to spell their name, they are ready to tackle letter names and sounds.
Since children learn best when they can first play and explore, I love giving students a few magnetic or wooden letters at a time and letting them make observations about them.
that lets you easily swap out the words kids practice as they move along.
It’s an easy way to differentiate sight word games for different reading levels too.
Don’t Forget Reading Comprehension!
In addition to knowing how to sound out words, good readers must also be able to think about what is happening in the story. After all, there is little point in taking the time to read if kids can’t remember anything that happened.
One of the best ways to develop reading comprehension is by asking questions during and after you read together.
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