When and How Can I Teach My Child To Read?
27th February 2016
For first-time parents, it can be rather difficult to know at what stage in your child’s life they should be able to do things, such as walk, talk, learn to ride a bike, etc. We all want the best for our children and this includes giving them the best head start they can possibly have. So when and how can you teach your child to read?
At what age do we start?
From the moment your child is born, they begin to absorb things from their surroundings, so when it comes to reading, you can never start early enough. For some people, the concept of reading to your toddler who does not understand what you are saying, is quite bizarre. But it is about much more than simply reading the words to them and having them understand. It is about cuddling up together and making them feel safe and comfortable. Plus, if you start reading to them early, and carry it on throughout the years, there is more chance of them falling in love with reading, making it easier when they come to learn it.
Lay the foundations early on, and try out some of the following things when you’re next reading to your little one:
Time it right
If your child is too hungry, tired or grumpy, they won’t focus on the story or gain anything from it, so it’s important to read together when the time is right.
The front cover
Look at the front cover of the book and talk about it together. What is it called? What are the pictures of? What do you think it could be about?
Go off topic
Going off topic is usually considered a negative thing, but in this situation this is only ever a good thing. Encourage your child to talk about the colours and illustrations they see on the page. Ask if they like the pictures, or if the their favourite colour is on the page. Discuss the story once you have finished reading it too. Ask them if they liked it, what their favourite bit was and share with them your favourite part.
The pitch of your voice is often more important than the words you actually read out aloud. This refers to the ‘sing-song’ tone of your voice that you speak in, for instance, if you adopt a certain accent for a character. This entices your child into the story, keeping them interested and engaged, not to mention making it more fun!
Make the books available
Rather than keeping them hidden away in bookcases or boxes, leave the books out so they are readily available and within reach for your child. This way they can hold the book themselves and look at the pictures whenever they want to.
The key thing to remember is that everybody learns to read at different ages, so don’t worry too much if your child isn’t reading by the time they start school. Chances are they will pick it up sooner or later and it won’t cause them any harm learning a little later than some of their peers.