Reading is one of the essential skills every child can and needs to learn. Nearly all learning stages will depend on the ability to read. It is also a skill everyone needs to progress in life.
Children taking their initial steps in learning how to read can find it an intimidating process. However, it is important to lay a strong reading foundation in preparing children for future academic success.
Learning to read can help children feel confident, happy, and prepare them to face other huge adventures.
And by the way do you know that your baby can learn reading starting from as early as three months? In case you want to know more you may like our article on how early you can start teaching a baby how to read.
Here are the essential 10 skills any child needs to start reading.
1. Learn letters of the alphabet
There is no miracle to excellent reading without knowing letters of alphabets. Children should master alphabetical letters before they start joining them to form words. Learning the letters of the alphabets (both lowercase and uppercase) is the beginning of the journey to excellent reading.
2. Phonics and decoding
To develop excellent reading ability, a child must understand the alphabetic principle. It helps children know the link between letters and sounds. Basically, it is meant to help them know that written language is essentially a series of symbols or letter patterns for spoken language.
Upon understanding the relationship between letters and sounds, they can apply the knowledge to familiar and unfamiliar words. Find out more about how to teach phonics to babies.
3. Phonemic Awareness
This is an essential component and involves understanding that each word has a corresponding sequence of sounds. Essentially, they need to learn phonemes, rhymes, and syllables. Phonemic awareness is really a must-have skill to succeed in reading. To better understand what is it and how to teach phonemic awareness have a look at our dedicated article.
Online Programs and Methods
To help your child learn how to read easily you can also find online several interesting programs and methods.
If you’re a parent you may have a look a this video about the importance of literacy for children by Pedriatician Dr. Needlman and find out more about the Reading Head Start Program which can be used to teach your kids to read since they’re 2 years old.
This interesting infographic on “Early Literacy” shows what you can do at home to avoid the “literacy gap”.
Another interesting opportunity is the Children Learning Reading Program which promises to help parents teach their children to read in just 12 weeks. This program (which can be instantly downloaded, no physical items to ship) includes several contents from Phonics Foundations to MP3 and Nursery Rhymes instilling necessary skills alongside confidence in your child.
Examples of Phonics & Phonemic Awareness Worksheets can be downloaded below:
Fluency is a result of strong phonic decoding skills and somewhat improved speed of reading words recognized at sight. It helps a child read a word or considerably longer text faster and with high accuracy while incorporating necessary expression. Fluency is the bridge that connects the recognition of words and comprehension.
Vast vocabulary plays a crucial role in learning how to read. Children must link and find some sense of the words they see in a text with what they hear. An ever-increasing vocabulary will help beginners perfect their ability to read. The more words a child has in the basket, the better they become at reading and comprehending the text they read. However, there will be a considerable variation because every child has a different approach to reading.
6. Proper spelling
The ability to spell correctly is built when a child understands that words are made up of separate letters, and each letter represents a distinct speech sound. The proper way to teach a beginner to spell properly is by starting with words with common sounds, and as they find it more comfortable, you incorporate those with consonant blends.
7. Reading Comprehension
A great reader will be deeply immersed in what they read. A good reader will also actively think as they follow the flow of the story or text they are reading, and probably this is the primary reason why anyone needs to learn how to read. Therefore, children need to use vocabulary, language structure, and learned reading strategies to bring sense out of the text they are reading. This way, they will comprehend what is happening in a story and share the characters’ emotional journey.
8. Holding a book properly
For children to appreciate reading, they may be able to hold a book properly and start practicing how to read. As you teach children how to read, have them hold the book right and turn pages. They should be able to identify the cover page and the back page and maintain a book upright.
9. Proper Reading
Different children have varying reading abilities. Encouraging them to read favorite stories, especially the struggling readers, helps them grasp more. This way, they will develop better reading skills if done with consistency and in a fun way.
A great reader should be able to write what they say. Though writing may be considered as a separate skill, readers need it alike. Writing improves spellings, recognition of letters and sounds, and sentence structure.
Learning to read is not as easy a task as many may think. It requires more concentration of both the teacher and the child and a proper program/method. Practicing reading daily and as often as possible will develop a child’s love for books and perfect their reading abilities.