7 Ways to Teach Your Child to Read & Boost Early Childhood Development


7 Ways to Teach Your Child to Read

Cutbacks in early childhood development nationwide underscore the need for parental involvement in our children’s learning. Dwindling funds have forced school officials in dozens of states, notably California, to cut spending, not only for music and art programs, but also for libraries, tutoring and textbooks. Not to mention that many districts reduced the 180-day school year by five days.

So what’s a parent to do if they can’t afford private schools or tutoring? Buckle down and teach your child to read, and make reading a priority for 20 minutes every day.

Here are a seven simple ways to help you teach your child to read:

1. Library – What better place to learn to read than the library? Weekly library outings are a no-cost opportunity to get your children pumped about reading. Take this one step further by getting children their own library card as an incentive to check out books. Most libraries will allow you to reserve books online. This is particularly helpful because you can search the library catalog online for books that focus on your child’s specific interests. There are also tons of Early Readers and Easy Readers books geared to teach your child to read at their age level.

2. TV and DVDs – Yes, you read that right. While it’s wise to limit TV time to two hours or less per day, make that time count with educational programming or videos. Our favorites are Super Why, Word World and Leap Frog DVDs (rent them free at the library).

3. Read – Model the importance of reading by picking up a book you enjoy. No guilt here; when your children see you reading, they’ll know it’s simply part of the daily routine.

4. Story time – Many bookstores offer free story times, some from famous children’s authors. Check your local events calendar, Barnes and Noble or a nearby mom and pop bookstore for upcoming story times and author signings.

5. Write a book with your child – Have your child dictate a storyline as you write it down. Leave plenty of space for children to draw pictures to illustrate the story. This doesn’t need to be Pulitzer prize winning worthy. For example, it can be as simple as, “My dog went to the store with me. We bought milk and dog bones. We ran home.”

6. Letter Game – Cut out large letters from construction paper. As you call out each letter, have children collect them and place them in order. For example, call out A-N-D and have children line up the letters to spell the word.

 7. Make flash cards – Use the words on the Dolch list and Phonetic list (attached here). These are the words teachers use starting in kindergarten. Teach your child to read 5-10 at a time before moving on to the next set.



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