Tips To Teach Your Child To Read

Reading has always been a personal passion of mine for numerous reasons, and I wanted to ensure that my children loved it too. When my son was an infant and toddler, I had the opportunity to participate in a mommy group that met weekly. This group was really eye opening for me, not just as a parent, but also as a woman wearing one more hat!

Our group would have guest speakers, workshops, play dates, mom’s night out and pretty much everything in between. There were four of us on the board and it was a really productive year for the Mocha Moms Philadelphia Chapter.

There was a great diversity of backgrounds, experience and of course just information. Most of the mom’s were professionals who put their careers on hold to be home with their children during those crucial early years. If you are not familiar with the learning phase, here it is in a nutshell. A kids mind/brain during the first five to six years is literally like a sponge. They learn more in less time than a full time college student. Little people are amazing!

Teaching Kids to love Reading

One of the mothers at the time had three children, and home schooled all of them. I met her children before and certainly felt it was to their advantage. They were articulate, confident speaking to adults, and yet still your average kid in a playground.

She explained “home-schooling” was not exactly how it sounded, that she was not the teacher of EVERY subject. She utilized an online school, which still met locally for state exams and for social activities, approximately once a month, but of course it probably varied with the grade, etc.

She introduced this book she used to teach reading to her children entitled,”Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” by Siegfried Engelmann,Phyllis Haddox and Elaine Bruner.

Don’t freak out, at the 100 lessons. It does sound like a lot, but for me the goal was actually not to necessarily finish it. My goal with teaching my son to read was to give him the confidence to want to read on his own. The way the book is laid out, your child is reading before you are half way through, actually in the first 30%.

In case you are not sure, I do not have a background in education at all, except as a parent. Let’s face it, that is on-the-job-training. I have a corporate/management background and was clueless before this workshop and book.

Teaching Kids to love Reading

“My kid is going to learn to read in school anyway?”

“Why create all this pressure?”

Those are some of the questions and comments I heard when people first learned what I was doing. In my corner of the world here, it seemed like an advantage was presented to me, a concept. My child learning how to read before walking into kindergarten amazed me, really. To me this was part of the advantage of him being home with me, so off I went!

One thing I would stress is to keep it fun and simple. The book lays out the lessons in ways, which didn’t make sense to me at first. However, within a few short lessons I was beginning to see the gem of what they created. They also include writing exercises at the end of most lessons, but he hated them initially.

So guess what? We didn’t do them. He was four at the time and enjoyed reading, but he did not have the patience to write. Of course he was going to learn later, and I didn’t push it at all. Do you know what it is like to bargain with a four year old? I was not going to make this any harder on me or him. He and I didn’t finish the book, he told me he was done by around lesson 79.

Why? He was able to go to the library now and physically pick up a book and read it, or at least make out most of the words! He was excited to try this new skill on his own and share it with his teachers in preschool. He was extremely proud of his accomplishment, and of course so was I.

So what ever happened? Well when he started kindergarten he was amongst a very small number of children who could read on day one. That boosted his confidence tremendously after preschool, and starting in a new school. He just started first grade and is reading on a second grade level. More importantly, he loves to read to his little three year-old sister, who wants to learn how too. Just finished lesson six with her.