There are several different approaches to reading instruction. Yet, the most widely accepted and proven method to teach reading is through phonetic instruction. Even within phonics instruction some teachers begin with letter sounds, and add vowel blends moving to the right… others learn by word families such as “hit”, “bit”, “sit”, “wit”, and “kit.” The connection between these words are based on rhyming. Most new words we learn are decoded from words we know already and that rhyme. Once you’ve begun phonics instruction, it needs to be practiced daily. After they’ve gained a foundation, then introduce early readers to your children. Daily work with consistent rigor will yield success!
(If you are worried about just how to introduce phonics check out “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”, or “You can Teach Someone to Read” or use the website “Explode the Code.” My favorite early reader books are the Bob books, inexpensive, simple and easy to read. Don’t go for the expensive reading programs, you have everything you need in your local library and your computer.)
#2 SSR – Sustained silent reading
This is a well-known teacher strategy. The more a child reads silently and on their own the better they can read. Setting aside a specific amount of time each day for reading will grow a successful reader. You just might find that after you begin this, it will become a habit that your child will keep for life.
#3 Read for Understanding
Teaching you children to read for a purpose should be a primary objective. This should begin as early reading skills emerge. When a child reads his first sentence, understanding should occur. This should grow in to a process of analyzing and critical reading. There are several great books to help parents direct their children. “Critical conditioning” by K. Stout is great for exercises reinforcing these skills.
#4 Develop Expression and Love for Literature by Reading Aloud
A great way to hook you children on classic literature is to read aloud to them. Find a great story that they otherwise would not choose to read, and read it aloud to them. Another read aloud benefit is to have them read aloud to you. This develops expression and opens them up to dramatic reading opportunities.
Don’t let your children settle for poorly written literary works. Always encourage them to vary the genres that they enjoy, and challenge them to explore the classics.
A good reader is a good learner!