Having your toddler have the ability to read at this young age may seem like an impossible feat. But it can be done!
While each child will learn to read at their own pace, as parents it is our duty to inspire them with books and fill the desire to learn to read within them.
Giving them the tools to learn how to read is just the beginning of this journey. This will help them gain the confidence they need to begin to really understand how letters and words work.
When a child becomes confident in learning to read, their interests to learn other subjects grow and school becomes fun. You are setting up great building blocks for their continuing education.
The following are our 20 best tips on how you can teach your preschool toddler to read.
1. Surround Your Child With Books
At a very early age, always have books easily accessible to them. Put them in their room and in their playroom or keep a bunch in the car. This is beneficial even if they are just going through the pictures and doing the activities in an interactive book. A book should always be in their reach. This is the beginning of ensuring you are raising a “book lover.”
2. Read Their Favorite Book Over And Over Again
If there is a book that your child loves, read it to them over and over again. One of the keys to building vocabulary and recognizing new words is by repetitive reading, according to a study. Children love repetition and love when there is something in the book that they love to anticipate for. It is suggested by experts that you should read the same book to toddlers at least 3 times a week.
3. Read To Them Every Day And Every Opportunity You Get
A story before bedtime shouldn’t be the only time you read to your little one. Find opportunities to read to them whenever you can. Whether it is just 10 minutes here or there, your child will greatly benefit when you take the time to read to them every opportunity you get. Not only does this help improve their reading comprehension and skills, this is also a great important bonding time you can have with your child.
4. Everyday Conversations
When you are sitting down for dinner, give them opportunities to speak and recall not only events of the day but even the stories that they have read. This will allow them to practice their skills in memory recall. By talking about it helps them to commit it to long term memory. Focus on using same story’s vocabulary in everyday conversation. Choose key words from a story they have read and try to apply it every day use.
5. Set A Good Example
Children learn by following your lead. When they see you consistently reading this gives them the motivation to be like mommy and daddy. Read around them and show them the books that you love. If you are not an avid reader it is never too late to fall in love with books. Make sure that you set some time for yourself to enjoy a book. You and your child can have quiet reading time together.
6. Make It Fun
You don’t want reading to turn into a chore or something that is not enjoyable. To make it more enticing, you can develop a reward chart for the many books they read. The rewards can be as simple as reading a book every day entitles them to an ice cream at the end of the week. When children start to feel like learning to read is work, they will begin to lose interest which makes it harder for them to stay engaged. Keep things light and fun. Read their stories in funny voices. Even if it feels ridiculous to do so, anyway that you can keep them entertained and excited about reading is important.
7. Label Everything
With post it notes, label everything in the house. From the oven to the television, put the labels anywhere you can identify an object. When your child sees the word on a consistent basis it helps them recognize and identify the relationship between the word and the item. Point them out every day or every time you pass by it or use it. You can even make a game out of it by giving them the word and they have to find the item to stick it to.
8. Assign A Letter A Day
This is a great interactive way to promote learning the alphabet and how to recognize letters. When you assign a letter for the day, the goal is to find that letter wherever you go. You can have them look for the letter in books, on signs outside or around the house. Practice writing the letter and the types of words that start with the letter. This is a fun way to begin their reading comprehension skills.
9. Encourage Your Child To Write
Even though in the beginning of learning to write it may just look like scribbles, having them try to write helps them learn the recognition of each letter. Their name is a great place to start to learn how to write. You can even teach them how to create letters by using Cheerios to line and trace the letters. This is a great game that keeps children engaged by making it an activity.
10. Read A Variety Of Materials
You can read other things besides children’s books for your child. Read things that you see around outside, such as signs or even things that you see in magazines. The wider materials that your child is exposed to the more vocabulary and sight words they will memorize and learn. When you are at the grocery store, read all the labels of the produce and products. Make it a habit to read everything you see when your child is around.
11. Be Consistent
Always keep reading to them every day and be consistent in every day discovery of words. It becomes more difficult for children to remember what they learned when they are taught it one day and asked to recall it weeks later. The more repetitive you are in reading every day, identifying words and learning the sounds the quicker they will be able to commit it to their long term memory. Learning how to read is an ongoing lesson every day.
12. Be Patient
You child may not pick up concepts or memorize words right away. They may not even be interested in books in the beginning. Be patient and keep at it. Try every day to engage your child with reading. Keep different types of books around and take note about what they are interested in. Is it animals? Or maybe it is trucks? Choose books that are inline to what they are interested in. You can even have them go to the library or the bookstore and have them pick out books that interest them. Choose book subjects that will keep them entertained and engaged.
13. Sight Words
Sight words are also known as high frequency words. While it is not suggested that children learn how to read solely on memorization, these words do not follow the traditional rule of phonics and because of that, it is suggested that working to memorize these words are beneficial to overall learning how to read process. There is a popular list of sight words that are suggested by researchers to learn by memorization for children. You can put these on flash cards to help with the memorization. Here is a list of sight words for your child to learn: www.bogglesworldesl.com/dolch/lists.htm
14. Identify Letters In Natural Settings
When you are out grocery shopping or doing every day errands or activities, take note on making sure that you identify the letters and even words that you find to your little one. You can even make it a game by turning it into a scavenger hunt. Go through the alphabet and try to find each letter. When your child gets more familiar with actual words, you can start identifying those when you are out and about in the world. Your child will get excited when they can spot a word or a letter that they know. This will continue the motivation to keep learning.
15. Invest In Letter Toys
Rather than just buying toys that have all the bells and whistles, sometimes the more beneficial toys are ones that are simple. A letter toy is a great way to have your preschooler learn to identify letters and create words from them. Letter magnets that you can put on the refrigerator or even block letters are great tools to use. With these letter toys you and your child can work on creating words or even the beginning phonic sounds with them.
16. Take Frequent Visits To The Library
A library is really an amazing place, especially when they have a whole section devoted to children. It is a place for discovery and seeing how great books are. Children will love picking out a book to read and to take home. You can check out as many books as you like. In some libraries they have interactive games on the computer that help promote reading while keeping little ones engaged. Use your local library as a great resource in promoting their love of reading early on. Many times they have programs that help promote reading with young children.
17. Take Part In Local Story Time Activities
Check with your local community centers to see what reading programs they have for young children. There are usually story times that include not just a story but a song as well as a craft that goes along with the story. Children will love being with other children their age to play and these types of activities tend to really engage young readers. They help a child really remember the story by including these other activities that relate to the book. You can even start a local book club with other parents of toddlers where you choose a book and an activity that is related to the book to do together.
18. Choose Interactive Books
Interactive books are great for young children as it keeps them interested in the book physically. These books allow the child to touch and feel or pull the flaps up and down. Children learn best when they are at play and can attached a physical motion to what they are learning. Keeping kids interested and engaged is the first key to teaching them to read. Interactive books also help with their physical development as it helps with their fine motor skills. They are able to use their pincher skills and how to maneuver their hands and fingers. These interactive books give them practice opportunities for these skills.
19. Use Tablet Applications That Promote Reading
Many children love playing with their parent’s iPad or tablet. You can incorporate this technology and learning to read with fun and engaging apps that are great at keeping children engaged and excited to learn. This type of technology is really changing the way that our children are able to gather and organize information. Children love reading books where there is some sort of animation involved within the story. Here is a list of some great ipad apps that focus on teaching your child how to read: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/tablets/10-ipad-apps-for-teaching-kids-to-read.htm
HeidiSongs can be found on YouTube and are highly entertaining for young kids to watch. The combine song with learning sight words. HeidiSongs was created by a teacher in California who combined her knowledge of brain research in child comprehension and practical experience and created a creative way that keeps children engaged and wanting to learn to read. Not only does she have great videos on YouTube, she also has great worksheets and tips on her blog on creating lessons plans for your little one.
For more great tips on helping your child develop proficient reading skills, click here to find out more on how you can teach your child to become a fast and fluent reader in just 12 short weeks!