Learning to read is a vital skill, but it is also one of the most difficult to acquire. Children learn to speak reasonably quickly. By the age of five or six, most kids can communicate effectively, and often they can understand quite complex conversations.
Yet when it comes to reading, it takes far longer to become competent enough to understand, practically any text. Some children are quick learners and can do so by the time they are eleven or twelve. Others struggle; it may take some children several more years to become competent readers.
Most parents realise that if they want their children to do well academically they need to help them to learn to read, and do so as quickly as possible. The majority do their best to help, but a lot of us are short on time. We realise this so, to help you to help your child to learn to read, we have come up with a few tips and ideas.
Practice little and often
Perhaps the most important tip is to use everyday situations to help your children to learn to read. The saying practice makes perfect certainly applies to the skill of reading. Without a doubt, the more your child reads the easier it becomes.
There are plenty of everyday situations that give children the chance to practice reading. For example, you can teach them what the traffic signs and billboards on their route to school say. Then you can get them to read each one as you pass it, so they can practice reading aloud, and you can check their understanding. It is a tiny thing, but being able to read things like this gives your children confidence. If you cook with your children ask them to read the instructions on the packet out.
Get a pet
You do not necessarily have to sit down with your child and read with them. Surprisingly, studies show that children who read aloud to their pets improve drastically. Exactly why that happens is not 100% clear, but these results have been observed in several countries. The evidence is so strong that in some parts of the world, including the US and Europe, reading dogs are being introduced to schools. You can read more about this, here.
Listen to the school
When you go to your parent teacher evening ask each teacher about your child’s reading abilities. Of course, their English teacher is there to teach them to read, but other teachers will have observations to share. Listening to what each one has to say could help you to identify areas where your child is struggling, and help you to address any issues.
If the school asks you to read with your child every night, or teach them a certain list of words it is worth putting in the extra effort and making sure it is done. When it comes to teaching children to read, the schools are the experts. As a result, it really does make sense for you to listen to them, and follow their advice.