The K5 Learning Blog urges parents to be pro-active in helping their children reach their full academic potential.

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How to Tell if your Child is Ready to Learn to Read

Child readingHow do you know when your child is ready to start learning to read?  There doesn’t seem to be that magic age when parents and educators know that it’s a good time to open a book and start teaching their kids to decipher letters and words. 

Some children grasp reading concepts at the drop of a hat, sounding out words as early as age three (don’t you just hate conversations with those proud mammas); other kids may not start until age five or six. 

Parents are the best people to gauge this age.  You know your child the best and understand what tolerance they have towards learning new things and what their natural tendencies are.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong, though, with giving reading a bit of a push start.  Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Work with Your Child’s Curiosity

Your child has a natural curiosity for various topics.  It can be trucks, planes, animals, fairies, princesses, tall building, rocks – you name it.  Kids also love stories.  So find stories that cover their interests and explore new interests to continue to feed that curiosity.  Teach your kids that knowledge comes from reading.

Start by Reading to Them

Spend time every day to read to them.  With reading as part of your daily routine will make it more natural when it comes to flipping the coin on them.  Start slowly by asking your child to decipher individual letters, then words and then sentences.  Take it at their pace and if there is resistance, step back and try again.  Learning to read does not happen by osmosis.  It’s a learned task. 

Before you know it, you’ll be sharing the task of reading every second page, and then comes the moment when your child picks up a book to read it by themselves.

Spend Time on the Alphabet

The alphabet is the building block to learning to decipher words.  Sing the alphabet song, print our worksheets that help your child trace and write individual letters, ask them to decipher letters in words.

Check their Listening Comprehension

Can your child retell a story in their own words?  Did they understand the story?  Can they answer simple questions about the story?  Spend a little time to talk about the story you just read to have them practice their comprehension.

How’s their Phonemic Awareness?

Have your child practice their rhyming and play rhyming games with them; play clapping games with them to sound out syllables; blend sounds to make a word (for example, sh…eep); identify the beginning sounds and ending sounds of words.  These are all essential tools to help your child learn to read individual words.

Be a good Example

Show your child that you read every day.  Be it newspapers, magazines or books, demonstrating that you learn about news events, glean important facts or just enjoy reading a good story, will spark that habit in your own child.

Have Fun

Make your reading moments enjoyable.  That’s not hard.  Young kids and their parents love spending time together.  Sure, there will be that book your child asks you to read to them for the hundredth time, but take the time to find new books that you both enjoy and that make you laugh.