Reading is one of the most important aspects of a child’s literacy skills. As parents, we want our little ones to learn how to read while they’re young. However, it’s always easier said than done. The process of teaching kids basic reading skills isn’t a walk in the park. In fact, learning how to read isn’t something that happens on it’s own, contrary to what many people believe. It involves teaching skills such as understanding the relationship between letters and sounds.

While learning to read is a complex process, the good news is that acquiring the necessary skills can be relatively simple. Read on and learn some simple strategies to help teach your little one basic reading skills.

Set the stage for reading

Reading doesn’t sound as fun as playtime does to young kids, but this is where setting the stage for them to become an avid reader is important. Start with activities that do not look like reading at all. 

For example, encourage them to be aware of prints around them, such as brand labels, signs, logos, etc. They should be able to identify what the signs mean before they learn to read the actual words. Does your little one understand the concepts of prints? Are they aware that when reading a book, they turn one page one at a time from left to right? Do they know that words are also being read from left to right? 

Practice using these concepts regularly and when you notice your children demonstrating that they understand these concepts, it’s a sign that they may be ready to begin learning how to read. 

Use songs and nursery rhymes

Using songs and nursery rhymes are a fun way to teach children basic reading skills. It’s also an excellent way to be familiar with the sounds and syllables in words, which are fundamental elements of reading. Help your little one to build their phonemic awareness by reciting songs and rhymes in unison. Not only will this help to develop the important literacy skills that your child needs, but it’s also a fantastic parent and child bonding activity.

Learn letters

When introducing letters to your little one, know that it doesn’t have to be done in alphabetical order. Choose letters that will  make it easier for your child to begin reading right away, such as the letters m, a, t, and s. Also, take note that being familiar with letters already involves two skills – visually recognizing the letter and memorizing the sound associated with it. 

You can make this process more interesting n for your little one by encouraging them to use their senses and by incorporating movement. For example, guide their fingers as they draw the letters in a sandbox. You can also use materials to form letters, such as clay. More importantly, practice this as frequently as possible because there is no better way for a child to learn to read than by continually practicing.

Create simple word cards

Kids love it when fun coincides with learning. Make reading more exciting and interesting for them by using word cards. Each card should contain three simple words such as sit, sun, top, cat, pig, and so on. Start by asking your child to pick a card and read the word. You can ask them to read on their own or you can also do it together. Then, ask them about the sounds that they hear with each letter and continue doing this with the rest of the word cards. 

This may be a simple activity, but it’s an excellent way to build your child’s phonics and decoding skills.

Create a print-rich environment at home

Creating a print-rich environment means that your child should be surrounded with materials that have printed words on them, such as charts, books, posters, and so on. Seeing these things around them will compel them to practice associating letters with sounds without you having to force it. Guide them along and ask them how the first letter of the word sounds. Then, ask them to identify other words that start with the same letter.

Teaching young kids basic reading skills isn’t easy. But, with patience and a little creativity, you can make this process less stressful and more enjoyable for your little one. 

Here at Handprints Academy, one of our goals is to make learning a positive experience for each child. Learn more about our program by visiting us or by checking out our website.