The ABC's of Learning to Read Through Play
B is for Books, books & more books. There is no better way to teach a child to read than to expose them to books and reading on a daily basis. Reading to a child from early on not only helps develop a love of literacy but it gives them a foundation on which to build later reading skills. Regular exposure to age-appropriate books and the printed word in general allows children to develop literacy skills that are crucial to learning how to read such as the ability to interpret pictures, to follow the plot of a story and to associate meaning with the printed word. For some children's book recommendations and correlating activities check out my Children's Book Week Linky with links to 100+ Children's Book ideas & activities and Toddler Approved's Children's Book Related Crafts and Activities Board on Pinterest.
D is for Developmental Readiness. Exposing children to books, letters, words and a literacy rich environment is quite beneficial. It is important however, not to force young children to "learn to read" before they have expressed interest or are developmentally ready for such tasks. Instead, it is important to provide positive and fun experiences where children can be engaged with letters, sounds, words and books that are developmentally appropriate. For example, you shouldn't expect your 3 year old to read Harry Potter but they may be able to help you "read" some of the key words in some of their favorite bedtime stories like Goodnight Moon. Keep it light, fun and simple. It will all come together in time. Here is a great post highlighting 4 Signs Your Child is Ready to Read by Playdough to Plato.
E is for Encouragement. We all need it, don't we? It is easy to get frustrated when teaching a child to read. We tend to forget that we too, once (probably) struggled with learning to read since we have been at it for so long. Instead of being upset or frustrated, try to remain calm and encouraging. The more positive an environment we provide the better the child will feel. The last thing you want to do is to give your child a negative view of books and reading based on how you are interacting with them as you read. I wrote a post with 7 Tips to Encourage the Beginning Reader that I hope will help you keep things upbeat and encouraging as you work with your child on learning to read.
F is for Fluency. Fluency comes with time and practice. Beginning readers spend quite a bit of time reading letter by letter and then word by word. This is normal. The more familiar they become with words by sight, the less choppy and more fluent their reading will become. Working on sight words, phonics skills and spending lots of time engaged in reading will help your child become a more fluent reader.
G is for Games. Both my girls learned how to read by playing games. Yes, you read that correctly - games. We started with Alphabet Games like this Musical Alphabet Game to review letter recognition and practice their sounds. Once they knew their letter sounds we moved on to Phonics Fun and Sight Word Games.
H is for Hands-on. Learning to read doesn't mean you always have to sit, stuck behind a book. Get moving, doing and playing and you will see how enthusiastic your child can be about learning to read. Looking for a few more fun ways to practice sight words - how about Sight Word Twister or Sight Word Hopscotch. Those are 2 fun ways we regularly play to learn. The girls are moving and playing and hardly realize they are also doing some learning in the process.
I is for Interests. You would be surprised at what the wrong book can do to turn a child off of reading. If you want to get your child reading - take their interests into account. If you have a child who enjoys playing sports try some books centered around this topic or read non-fiction books on some of their favorite athletes. Have a child who enjoys a good joke? Read a few joke books. They may be silly but they will have them reading to tell you jokes and laughing along the way. Finding the "right" book which captures your child's interest can turn them on to reading and help them on their way to being lifelong readers.
J is for Journal. Encourage your child to keep a journal and write in it daily. You will be amazed at how their writing and spelling improves as they learn to read. The simple act of sounding out words while they write is wonderful reading practice. Fight the temptation to "help" them with spelling and grammar. Let the journal be their special place to freely express their thoughts and they will be more receptive to using it. Once it feels too much like another piece of homework where they have to worry about handwriting, spelling and grammar - they will be far less excited about it.
K is for Keeping Your Cool. I'm embarrassed to say that I have lost my cool way more than I care to admit with the whole "learning to read" process with the Lil Divas. As an educator, I know better. As a mom, these particular mom fails rank high on my list of moments I wish I could do over. So take it from someone who has been there - keeping your cool is important. The last thing you want is for your child is to think you are angry with them or worse, disappointed in them. When things get frustrating, take a break. Stop and have a snack or just do something else and come back to reading with your child when you are feeling ready to tackle it again. You will both benefit from it.
M is for Modeling. One of the best way to teach a child to read is to model how it's done. Read with your child daily, placing emphasis on following punctuation, reading with expression and even using different voices. Not only will you capture their attention and interest but you will be modeling good reading practices for them to follow. I love reading with the Oldest Diva. She is such an expressive reader which makes us really enjoy the books we read together.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the rest of this series featuring letters N-Z with lots more information that I hope you will find useful as you help your children along on their reading journey!
This post is part of a series being brought to you by members of the Kid Blogger Network. If you want to check out more posts relating to the ABC's of Literacy & Language be sure to visit:
Books for Preschoolers / Preschool Book Club
Building a Home Library / Jackie at Ready-Set-ReadEarly Language Learning / Katie at Playing with Words 365Early Literacy / Malia at Play Dough to PlatoExploring Books / Deirdre at J Daniel 4s MomGraphic Novels / Mia at Pragmatic MomLearning to Read Through Play / Bern at Mom to 2 Posh Lil DivasLearning to Write / Cathy at Nurture StoreReading Comprehension for Pre K- Grade 1 / Carolyn at The Wise Owl FactoryStorytelling / Jillian at A Mom with a Lesson Plan
If you want to check out ALL of the fabulous ABC's of... posts be sure to stop by Reading Mama for all the info and links. There are so many wonderful topics being covered including arts & crafts, learning through play, literacy & language, Mama tips & tricks and school activities.