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Tips for Children Learning to Read

Teaching a child to read is very rewarding. Elementary school teachers will tell you about their enormous satisfaction when witnessing a child’s reading ability blossom.  The role that they play in developing these reading skills in children is invaluable.


It is important to remember that parents also can help children learning to read.  By providing support system for reading at home, children will be better prepared in the classroom.


Here are some tips to help your child learn to read independently:


  • Read to Your Children:  From the time your baby is born, you should get into the habit of reading out loud on a daily basis. Your goal should be 10-20 minutes per day of reading out loud to your children.
  •  Let Your Children Read to You (even before they can):  Pictures play an incredibly important role in reading for young children.  So before your child can read the actual words, let him or her tell you about the story just by looking at the pictures.
  •  Label Objects in Your Home:  Buy a pack of post-it notes and label some highly visible items around your home.  You can start with 3 and 4-letter words such as    Wall, Fan, Bed, Sink, Door etc.  Your child will soon memorize these words and be able to identify them in books and other written contexts.
  • Practice Sight Words: Reading experts have developed a list of sight words that children should commit to memory to prepare for reading. By doing so, children will easily recognize these words in books, thus reducing the number of words that need to be sounded out. You may consider purchasing a pack of index cards and populating them with one word on each side. Quiz your child using these flashcards in small increments, and before you know it, he/she will have mastered a large number of sight words.
  • Start with Beginning Reader Books:The first books that you encourage your child to read should be those written for beginning readers. Typically there is only one very short sentence on each page. The pictures also provide excellent clues as the child works through new reading vocabulary.
  • Be Flexible!:  Reading should be an enjoyable, non-stressful activity for children. Remember that your child will have good days and bad days, so be flexible in your reading habits. Take advantage of the times when your child is motivated, and take a break when your child needs a day off.


Learning to read does not happen overnight; rather, it is a skill that develops over the first several years of a child’s life.  By following these tips, parents will provide their children with a head start on their path to becoming proficient readers.
Sweet Reading!
Karen Gallagher

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