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First Steps in Helping your Child to Read

Jan 9, 2008
Most of us read with such ease that we forget how difficult it was to learn the skill initially, and when we start to think about the process with regard to our own child, it seems a very complicated procedure. However there are a few things that you can do to help ease your child into the reading process and make it a more enjoyable time for him.

Words are the foundation stones of reading. Even talking to your child about their day is bringing words into their lives in a context that they are familiar with. It's not just about naming objects, but also putting things into the right order, learning verbs, and even something as simple as how words actually sound.

During the early pre-K and kindergarten years the school system will lead your child's reading experience. They will have a system of learning that they will use to encourage your child to learn each letter and how it sounds. Talk to your child's teachers about their system and then reinforce this learning by using the same techniques at home. Learn which letters your child is learning at school and introduce these letters into your activities at home --make flash cards, or a simple memory game where they have to find two matching letters -- or two pictures that start with the same letter.

However it's imperative that your child is motivated to read because there's only so much that a teacher, or even a parent, can accomplish without a child's co-operation, so make learning to read as much fun as possible. If your child thinks that the intent of any conversation or game is "learn to read" they're likely to back off, so keep things very low key. If your child begins to feel that you are pressuring them into reading, they will rebel against it and refuse to focus even at school, so reinforce school learning and encourage your child into the world of books, but don't push them further than you know they want to go.

Reading aloud to your child is a wonderful way to get them excited about books. Don't just choose good stories for reading, but also choose easy early readers where you can point to the words as you work through the book. Your child will follow the words and get to know the shapes and slowly become familiar with more commonly used words.

As your child becomes older and more proficient in reading, encourage them to learn more words, to expand their vocabulary, but always take it one step at a time and never any further or faster than your child wants to go.
About the Author
Jane Saeman runs an In-Home Tutoring service called Aim High Tutors. Find out about how to help your student reach their full potential at http://www.aimhightutors.com/blog
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