I know there is a big group out there that believe we shouldn’t teach preschoolers to read. I’m saving that subject for another blog post.
If you are of the group that would like to teach your young child to read but not sure if they’re ready, or not sure how to go about it, then this post is for you.
Let me start by saying, your child, fairly effortlessly, learns one or more languages in the first few years of their life. With that in mind, learning to read doesn’t seem so far fetched.
Now how did they learn their primary language? Did you need to sit them down and give them daily grammar or verb lessons for them to learn? Did you explain to them when to use him, vs he, his, hers, she, theirs, etc? Or did you teach them the verb “to be” changes depending on the pronoun and tense used: “I am, you are, he is, I was, you were, etc?”
No, we pretty much just talked to them since birth like they could understand us the whole time. And they picked it up like a sponge. Of course they will still learn grammar and verb tenses later on as these are useful skills, but it comes secondary to being able to speak the language.
The same way they effortlessly learn a language, I believe they can learn to read. Teaching them phonetics should be secondary to teaching them to read. Think about it, when you read, you are not sounding out letters, you’re reading. You occasionally don’t recognize a word, so then you use your more advanced sounding out skills to determine the word.
Is your child ready to read now?
So they can read their alphabet already? They know when they see an “A” that it’s an A. Well now that they can read all the 1 letter “words”, lets continue and teach them 2, 3, 4 or more letter words. And let’s make it as painless and effortless as possible.
To convince you that your speaking child is probably ready to start the journey of learning to read, I’ve created a one page .pdf of about 14 flashcards below. There are 7 animal words and 7 colors on the .pdf. Beside each word is a colorful image of the word. The colors are simply written in their color.
Point to the word and ask your child what the word says…then tell them the word, pointing to the word. They will get the idea pretty quickly. Just do a few at a time, often. It takes only seconds or minutes to do a few flashcards each time.
Your child will probably feel some sense of pride at their ability to “read” the word. Once they understand the idea, they will “know” the word right away due to the picture. The images are like training wheels of reading.
Before you think possible, you will be able to cover up the image with your hand, and your child will still be able to read the word. Don’t take my word for it, try it. That’s why I’ve created this free .pdf for you to try. Here’s the link for you to download it, don’t worry, it’s completely free:
In Part 2, I will show you a great way you can teach your child to read.