Do you want to teach your child to read? Whether you have a pre-schooler ready to learn or a struggling kindergartener or first grader, you will find some helpful ideas in this post.
I taught each of my kids to read. Being part of this process has been one of my greatest joys as a mother. I want to share with you what worked for our family in developing advanced readers who love books!
Spending just $13 on Amazon and using a library card, your child can become a book-devouring bibliophile!
I taught my oldest to read before he entered public kindergarten. His early reading ability propelled us into homeschooling. While in kindergarten, he was reading at a 5th-grade level and had already read five Harry Potter novels while most of his classmates were learning very basic reading skills. The school did not offer adequate challenge so I pulled him out March of that year. I’m so grateful we made the decision to homeschool.
Different kids are developmentally ready to learn to read at different ages. Some kids are ready to learn at 3-years old while others are not developmentally ready until several years later. One of my kids was ready to learn at the age of three, another at 4 and the other at 5 1/2. In education superpower, Finland, kids don’t begin formal schooling until the age of 7.
- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons–This book was the best $13 I have ever spent on my children’s education. Additionally, I feel so strongly about its effectiveness that it is the only Amazon review I have ever written. The publisher says: “Is your child halfway through first grade and still unable to read? Is your preschooler bored with coloring and ready for reading?”
- It is entirely scripted and requires no prep on your part.
- When your child finishes, s/he will be reading on a 1st-2nd-grade level.
- You may consider using an incentive like a chocolate chip for each lesson completed or a prize after every 25 lessons.
- After completing this book, we never did another phonics lesson again but went straight to reading books. We also never studied sight words.
- Anyone I know who has stuck with this book has a very advanced reader who also loves books.
- I feel so strongly about this effectiveness of this book. My recommendation is to start with this book and see if it is a good fit. If not, try another method. Several more are outlined below.
- Explode the Code–While Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons was the most brilliant book for my older 2 kids, it was not a good fit for my youngest. Additionally, she was not developmentally ready to start learning to read until age 5. One of the beauties of homeschooling is one size does not fit all, and we can customize to each child. Explode the Code was a better fit for her. The phonics-based workbooks offer a lot of practice and a nice variety of exercises.
- No prep required on your part.
- An online version is available. It has received mixed reviews. I liked the workbooks.
- BOB Books–These book box sets for are helpful for early and emergent readers. Each book is small so builds confidence. “With little books, come big success.” I used these as a supplement for my youngest with Explode the Code. Some families use BOB Books as a stand-alone reading curriculum.
- No prep required on your part.
- Even as a beginner reader, kids are made to feel they CAN read a book.
- Dr. Seuss Beginner Books–We love these books! They are so whimsical and fun to read. The illustrations are engaging. These are absolutely perfect after you complete Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons or made progress with Explode the Code or Bob Books. There are so many wonderful titles in this series of Beginner Books. We enjoy them all! Some of our favorites include Robert the Rose Horse, Wacky Wednesday, Go, Dog Go, and Put Me in the Zoo.
- Sound Box Books–This is another effective and enjoyable series at about the same reading level as Dr. Seuss Beginner Books. Dr. Seuss Beginner Books and Sound Box Books are wonderful examples of early reader books, and your library may carry them or other series you find useful. I listed these two because I have found them to be the best.
- Read Aloud–One hallmark of our family is the precious time we spend together as I read aloud to my kids. For several years, I have been reading to them while they have their meals and snacks (except when Daddy or guests join us). Jim Trelease wrote a wonderful book about the many benefits of reading aloud. I believe the investment of time I have spent in reading aloud high-quality books on a wide variety of topics has been one of the most important parts of my children’s education and our family bonding. Here is a list of some of our most beloved read-aloud books.
- Book strewing–Strew appealing books throughout your house making it easy for your kids to pick them up and peruse or read them!
- Frequent Library Visits–We typically visit 2-3 different libraries per week. Each kid
has his own sturdy bag to fill up. When they were younger, we brought in a beach cart and filled it up. We get almost all of our books at the library. We are such ravenous readers that it is impractical to purchase books. We do not have enough space in our house to retain them all.
- Online Learning–While online programs like Reading Eggs and ABC Mouse are popular with many families, I never felt them nearly as effective as sitting down one-on-one using the methods described above. I am not opposed to web-based learning. I tried both of these web-based reading programs and did not find them very beneficial. Reading Bear is a free, phonics-based program you may want to check out.
- Read, read, read!–The best way to foster a love for reading and develop a competent reader is to read, read, read! Read aloud to your kids. Have them read to you often during the early years. Create opportunities for them to read quietly. Ensure you have an enticing selection of books. Discuss your books.
I want to emphasize that my focus has always been on reading and not phonics lessons or sight words. While I initially used a phonics-based method to teach my kids, after completing that we never did any phonics lessons at all.Additionally, I never taught sight words with flash cards, workbooks, etc. Instead, sight words were learned naturally through reading. My kids simply learned organically with books and did not need the superfluous teaching materials.
What have been some of your favorite ways to teach your kids to read? Please share in the comments below.
You may also like:
Join my Facebook page to receive every update and post from The Contemporary Homeschooler. I post many articles and thoughts to the Facebook page that are not on my blog.
Note: If you decide to make a purchase through my blog link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free. So, thank you!