As a teacher, I quickly found out this wasn’t true. Many of my students found it hard to learn how to read books. I had to go back a lot and teach myself to love words, rhymes, poems, and songs before they were ready. So, why did that happen? Because most people don’t know that becoming a reader starts much earlier in life than most people think.
Quite a lot of it doesn’t even have to do with books or letters!
Learning to Read Books
What comes first?
When children start learning to read, the most important thing to look for is what educators call phonological awareness. It’s one of seven skills that fall under this umbrella. Rhyming is one of them.
They are beautiful ways to teach children to read rhymes and sing rhymes. Play games that will help your child hear the sounds in words and learn how to move them around. Songs like “Apples and Bananas” are very good at teaching kids how to change the vowel sounds in words. This box is all about paying attention to sounds, rhymes, syllables, and more.
Developing Phonological Awareness
For the seven skills in phonological awareness, “Play into Reading Ready” is a very good book.
Phonological awareness skills are important for becoming a good reader. I learned this after teaching struggling readers for seven years. Because these skills are important, make sure to spend a lot of time working on them Every day, you want to read to each other while playing word games, singing, and making rhymes. In the middle of reading the story to your child, ask them if they can tell you it in their own words by looking at the pictures together. Even before your child can read words, you can read to her. Your kids can say the words they know when you read old books together. At least a few books that your kids ask you to read again and again are likely. Our family loved “The Little Blue Truck.” One of our favorite things to do when we read this book was to point to the words and make animal sounds as we did.
Rebus readers fit right in with this idea of reading with a parent. We love our school by Judy Sierra and Pig Out by All Aboard Picture Readers are two books you might not have heard of. The sentences in Rebus readers have words and pictures in them, which makes them a great way to start learning how to read books and become a better reader. In this way, your child will learn that the words we speak are linked to the “symbols” in books.
Besides reading to and with our kids, research says that clear and explicit phonics and word study is what helps them learn to read. This is what helps them learn to read. Letter sounds should also be introduced as soon as possible, so you want them to go together. To make learning sounds and letters fun, I like to play games about the alphabet and do other things that make learning them more interesting.
There are a lot of fun things for kids who are busy, like Tad’s Fridge Phonics by Leapfrog. It would keep my kids busy long enough for me to make dinner, and while they played, they learned how to read and write. A win-win for everyone. When I can, I like to use all of a child’s senses to help them learn. See, Hear, Do books are great at this. For preschoolers, this multi-sensory approach to learning letter sounds and making their first words is a game changer. Is a good way for your first-time reader to learn how to read.
Many things happen before your child can read books. Make sure you watch your child while you play games, sing, rhyme, and read with her. Wait for her curiosity, and let her lead. When your child is ready to move on, she will show you. When my own kids were learning to read books, I used materials that used systematic phonics and only a few sight words in the text. A lot of people who call themselves “phonics readers” don’t understand this very well at all. For example, when your child starts to read, you should be very careful about which books you use.
Books to Teach Reading
“Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” was a lot of fun for both of us. This book is very easy to read and understand. Your child will learn to read books as you finish lessons each day. You can’t go wrong with this book when you teach reading! A downside is that the method can seem repetitive and not very interesting. Instead of skipping parts of the book, just take breaks and use other phonetic readers before you keep going.
Both of my kids liked the Bob Books. We have all the sets and read them with the 100 Easy Lessons book. Learn to read with Bob Books even has a book for kids to do. It starts with twelve books about letter sounds and teaching kids to say, “I’ve read the whole book!” Consistent vowels and slightly longer stories make sure that your child has learned the basic phonics with this reading foundation set before they move on to the next level. All series have a parent book. Make sure you and your child use it!
It’s also easy for kids to learn phonics with “Simple Phonics Books.” This series lets kids learn how to read at their own pace. It’s a good choice for you if your child doesn’t like the simple illustrations and look of the BOB books. The first set of five books uses simple phonics words, like consonant – vowel – consonant and a few sight words, without punctuation. The witty illustrations in the first set of five books are very clear. Add set number 2 to your collection after this one. This one keeps the storylines the same, but adds punctuation and more complicated words into them.
Remember to watch, let them lead, and have fun with it all! The process of learning to read can be a lot of fun. You and your kids can play games, laugh, make silly faces, and spend a lot of time together.