Learning to read isn’t easy. If your child is struggling to read and finding it hard to keep up in school, you can help by supporting them with daily reading activities.
As a parent, it is important to monitor how your little one is progressing with their reading ability. Being able to read well is so important for education and being able to seize opportunities later in life.
The longer you wait and hope they’ll improve, the harder it becomes for them to catch up and they may start to fall behind in classes. This is why it is vital to provide reading help from the early years and continue to support their development.
So, let’s look at some of the stages of development and how you can support them with offline reading help and via online reading programs.
Start with the Basics
To make sure that their reading is strong later in life, lightheartedly start to introduce the basics of reading from about 3 years old.
At 3 years old, they can start to develop some of the core skills required. Often these are overlooked, simply because they seem so obvious to adults, they aren’t even thought about.
How to Read a Book
These might seem silly to an adult, but it makes sense when you consider it from the ‘blank slate’ perspective of a child that has never read a book. Make sure they understand:
- Which way up letters or a book should be
- That texts run from the left to the right
- How to tell which is the front and back of a book
- Matching some basic words to pictures
All of the above can be taught in fun and interesting ways. Try to avoid the Sergeant Major drill approaches and make reading enjoyable.
Start with the absolute basics, such as the alphabet song, then add sounds to the letters, then start to use letters out of order. By changing the order, you encourage recognition of the letter shape and association of its sound and name.
As you progress, try reading basic books with them and show them how the words flow with your finger or a highlighter (if digital). This way they learn the process of reading, without fully understanding the words.
Try to associate the words with pictures and notice words in the world around you. Comprehension checking simple words as and when you or they see them in the real world.
All of this helps to build a solid foundation for reading and a real understanding of phonics.
Is Phonics Important?
Phonics an approach to increase phonemic awareness, having a focus on the sounds that letters and combinations of letters make. It is the base structure of reading. If someone associates the wrong sound with letters, then when they read it won’t make sense to anyone listening, and even possibly to them.
By building their understanding of the sounds that letters represent, you are setting them up for success. Teach them how to break words into smaller sounds.
When they can break down the sounds, it means they can even read and ‘sound out’ words that they don’t recognize. In some cases, they will even know what the word means after they sound it out and hear the word spoken.
How to Break Down Words into Sounds
This is a tricky skill to master, so it is best to keep things as simple as possible. It is also important that you sit down first and practice what you have prepared before teaching this skill, or to use professionally prepared online reading resources.
The reason for this is that some words in the English language break normal rules, and letter combinations should be avoided at the beginning. You want to start out with 3-4 letter words, and sound out each of the sounds. This will allow your child to increase their association of the letters with those sounds.
Once you have sounded out the individual letters slowly, start to bring them together over 3-4 repetitions. You want to demonstrate the individual sounds and how when speeded up and said together, they become a word.
It can take time and practice to master this skill, but it is an important step in being able to read words that you don’t already recognise. This is vital for ongoing learning, where students can look up new words and sound them out to be able to use the new word in conversations. It won’t always work, but it opens up new vocabulary and reading level progression.
How to Build their Confidence With Technology
Using online reading programs to provide reading help is a wonderful way to allow children to learn in a way that doesn’t damage their confidence.
Reading out loud to a parent or teacher can be nerve wracking for a young child, especially one that is shy or nervous. This is where online reading help can step. By allowing children to listen to texts and follow the words, or even receive feedback on their own reading skills, children get to experiment with reading in a safe environment.
If they make mistakes, no one is there to see it and so there is no reason to feel embarrassed. This means that they can feel more comfortable and enjoy trying to read, instead of focusing on their fear of making mistakes.
Lacking Time to Spend on Reading Help?
Helping children to become strong readers is so important in the digital age. We consume so much information daily now in the written form, that would be entirely missed by anyone who can’t read.
However, spending time tutoring your child or other children how to read properly takes hours and hours of patient attention. This often isn’t possible to parents to commit to, especially those that are working or have a large family.
Tutors are expensive and sometimes not as good or trustworthy as you would like. Even trying to find a good tutor can take weeks of research and interviews.
This is why online reading programs are now providing the reading help that parents desire for their children. There is no concern about personality, bad behavior, timekeeping, fake reports or even high expenses. Instead, it is a simple case of enrolling and reaping the benefits.
Parents or teachers can even manage a group of students from one control panel, making this an easy way to keep reading levels progressing, even when you don’t have the time for one-to-one attention.