With us all being home with our children 24/7 and now having to be teachers as well as parents I thought I (Bre) would put together a simple step by step post on how to teach your child to start reading using the techniques that I learned as an Orton Gillingham Tutor. There’s some very basic and fun things you can do right away that you can incorporate into your daily routine. You can also check out my resources that I use with my own students and children.
Step 1: Pre-Reading Behaviors
There are activities that don’t look like reading at all, but they set the stage for your child to learn the concept. You can do these activities right now to help introduce the concept of reading.
Look for and encourage the following:
- print on signs, labels, packaging, etc. Kids can know that a sign says “Stop” before they can actually read the letters.
- sounds with their names “Jakey Jakey Bo Bakey!”
- rhyming games-ask “What rhymes with cat?”
- Pointing to words as you read to them.
- Making them aware of sound discrimination – “Wwwwwesley has the wwwwiggles. Those start with the same sound.”
You can incorporate these activities into your daily life to help them start to become aware of the concept of reading.
Continue reading aloud to your child. Let them chose the books to read. Take time to point out things that you notice, for example, “Hey there’s a J! Your name starts with J. J says /j/. Ask them questions about what is happening in the book to practice comprehension and check if they are understanding what they are reading.
If children learn that reading is an enjoyable experience through read-alouds, they will be motivated to learn the skill themselves.
Step 2: Learning Letters
Teach letter names and play matching games with lower and upper case.
You can make cards easily at home or purchase them on Amazon.
Start teaching the sounds of each letter. Pinterest has all sorts of resources for teaching sounds like charts and games. Amazon is also great for resources too!
Letters don’t have to be taught in alphabetical order. If you teach the letters a, m, t, and s, the child can start to read simple words like
How exciting to say “Wow! Now you’re reading!” They’ll be so proud of themselves.
Master the vowels! Every syllable and word has a vowel. Mastering the vowels is crucial for reading and spelling correctly.
You can continue to play all sorts of activities like practising sounds by writing chalk all over the sidewalk and calling out the sound and having them jump to it. Go fishing for sounds in the bathtub. Put sticky notes of sounds all over the house and have them go on a hunt as you call each sound out. The games are unlimited and using your senses and movement helps kids to retain information better. Remember to do lots and lots of fun review!
Step 3: Blending Sounds
Knowing single letters to reading words is all about blending the sounds together. Try this!
- Start with two or three letter words. Point to the letters and say each sound. Only work with phonetic words. No sight words yet! (Words you can’t sound out phonetically)
- Then start back at the beginning of the word. Slide your finger slowly under the letters as you stretch the sounds and put them together.
- Have the child try to do it.
- Make a blending chart like this and create word families. Cat, sat, bat, mat, etc.
Once this basic concept is learned then you can start to teach sight words. I will do another post on ways to teach sight words. In the meantime here are some of my favourite resources that you can find on Amazon to help reinforce basic reading skills.
Bre’s Favourite Resources to Reinforce Basic Reading Skills.