The saying that children are like sponges really is true. If you spend the time with them, they can absorb and learn almost anything.
However, the key is how they are taught. As a parent, you need to support them and build upon each step. Just like building a house, plan out your approach, include some variations to the structure, and make sure the foundations are solid before they progress further.
Most kids learn to read in school, but it is also important for parents to support and encourage reading from a young age. Reading speed and comprehension can be greatly increased when parents actively support reading activities with relevant, age appropriate, interesting and interactive reading activities.
Kids are naturally curious. They want to know everything about anything. Use this to your advantage!
Printed text is everywhere and can work as a wonderful introduction to reading. If you make it fun, they’ll be asking you what words mean and even telling you words they recognize.
While this isn’t ‘reading’ per se, it is an excellent start to recognizing the alphabet, which way up words should be, and even actual words.
Reading books to them and having fun with the pictures is also another big step. Simple techniques can help to grab their interest and teach the fundamentals.
When reading to a child, always follow the words with your finger. While at the beginning they obviously won’t read with you, they will learn from your actions that this is the direction we read, the letters should be this way up, and that we read books from front to back.
Then you can chat about the pictures, point out matching words, and add sounds or actions to bring the story to life.
Remember, you want them to want to read, for it to be FUN! So, don’t push too hard, let them guide the pace and make it as much fun as possible.
The Alphabet: Break It!
I bet that title took you by surprise. But, in all sense and purposes, it is true and a great trick to teaching children how to read properly.
In general, we all teach the alphabet, but almost always in order of A, B, C, etc.
You probably haven’t even thought of it much, but each letter has:
- A name
- At least one sound
- A unique shape
You see kids learning and repeating things like “A – A – Apple, B – B – Banana”, but almost always this is in order and they learn the ‘song’ more than the sounds. That said, the alphabet is still great for them to learn in the standard form, and makes for a great building block.
However, once they start to get it, BREAK IT! At first, it might seem confusing or difficult. Yet, by breaking the order and not repeating things in ‘song mode’, you force them to recognize the shape, remember the name and match the sound.
When working with your child, spread the alphabet cards out randomly on the floor. You can then get your child to use a fly swatter to touch the letter name or sound that the teacher calls out.
Another simple twist is to write the letter and draw a matching object or animal. However you approach it, break the alphabet to give them a ‘real world’ phonological understanding of the alphabet.
Make the Connection – A Picture Says a Lot
It’s so important to keep things visual with kids. This is why multimedia and interactive reading can sometimes outperform books.
For sure, we all love traditional books, but the visuals are a major part of learning. Seeing the words and matching them to what’s happening in the visuals is vital.
Whether you are reading a book or using online reading programs, colorful pictures help to connect young minds with what the words actually mean.
Why Do Kids Need to Develop Phonology Awareness?
Phonology awareness is the stage that children go through when they start to notice similar sounds and the different parts of words.
With time, children learn the phonetics of individual letters, combinations of letters, and then how these fit together to form words. They even learn how to break down words into their base sounds.
By understanding that words are made up of combinations of letters that represent the sounds of that word, children can learn to sound out words that they aren’t sure about.
Sometimes, there is even the exciting realization that they know the word when they sound it out, they just didn’t recognize it in written form.
At What Age Should We Start Reading Activities?
Around 3 years of age is a good time to start with reading activities.
By starting young, they can form the basics early. This means that when they really start to learn to read properly, they will have a head start and their little minds should start to get all the information together quickly.
How to Easily Improve your Child’s Reading Level
With recent changes in technology, helping your child to learn isn’t as challenging as it once was. Online reading programs provide a fun and creative solution to an age-old problem.
By having your child enrolled in a reading program, it is like having a tutor work alongside your efforts. Instead of it being down to you and their teachers, an online reading program means that your little one has a supportive tutor 24/7.
Here we look at some of the ways it can help:
Making it Fun – All reading options are level appropriate and designed to be fun. They are colorful and interesting stories that are supported with visuals, sounds, and audio. What’s more, the range is constantly expanding to avoid boredom.
Interactive Activities – Kids can interact with the texts, listen to sounds or individual words, and even have the book read to them. If reading is difficult for them, they can even get live feedback, without a person being involved. This helps a lot for shy children that don’t want to make mistakes in front of other children or adults.
Support – Live feedback and audio support makes sure that learning progresses at a steady rate. Children can get pronunciation feedback, listen to words or sentences read for them, and a whole lot more. Our AI system actually adapts to every reader, developing a profile to ensure they get support in the areas that need focus.
Adaptive Technology – Reading materials, AI support, feedback, and more will all adapt to the level of the student. This means that online reading programs can offer customized, relevant and interesting reading support throughout childhood.
Parental Reports – So that you can see the results, our system sends parents full reports of progress, issues, and time spent. Unlike a ‘live’ tutor, these reports are not opinion-based, but contain only accurate facts about reading progress.
Parental Controls – Tasks, time and more can all be set up for numerous readers under one control panel. This makes assigning tasks and schedules for reading practice easy. It also allows you to clearly see the results in parental reading reports.
How to Teach Reading When You Are Busy?
Most parents in this day and age hardly have time to sit down for hours to work on reading skills. We get this, and while it certainly would be great if you can spend time with them (they’ll love it too), there are ways to increase reading skills when you can’t be the tutor.
A great and affordable option is to enroll your child in an online reading program, as well as to encourage independent real-world reading as they improve. Readability Tutor’s assisted online reading programs uses AI technology to provide individual support and a completely customized program for literacy development. Parents can also keep track of progress with live updates in the reporting area.
If you are too busy to spend time on this during the week, your AI reading assistant can step in to help your child improve and achieve the tasks you set them. This way, even if you can’t be home, you can support and monitor their literacy development online.
Of course, you can also reward them for achieving goals that you set, turning the entire experience into a fun and rewarding activity. With time, they will likely learn to love reading and take their own initiative to explore the world of texts available.
Don’t Forget to Comprehension Check
If you ask someone if they understood something you just explained, most will almost automatically reply with ‘yes’, even when they’re feeling confused. Our AI will help with all aspects of developing their reading levels, but it is also good for parents to do some comprehension checking once or twice a week.
By asking comprehension checking questions, you can also make sure they fully understood meanings and words, while giving them the attention that they are sure to love. You don’t need to spend lots of time on this, but it is a worthwhile activity for families to do together.
Is it worth it?
Start your child on an online reading program today and get them ahead of the curve!