Best Way to Teach Kids to Read
What’s the best way to teach a children reading? According to the US National Reading Panel, “teaching children to manipulate phonemes in words was highly effective under a variety of teaching conditions with a variety of learners across a range of grade and age levels and that teaching phonemic awareness to children significantly improves their reading more than instruction that lacks any attention to Phonemic Awareness.”
This is a statement made by the National Reading Panel (NRP) in their report titled “TEACHING CHILDREN TO READ: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and Its Implications for Reading Instruction.”
Phonemic Awareness instruction was selected for review by the NRP in their report because studies have identified phonemic awareness and letter knowledge as two of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read in their first 2 years of entering school. There is strong Scientific evidence to suggest that phonemic awareness instructions are an important part in helping children develop reading skills.
One study discussed the presence of phonemic awareness in Austrian children aged 6 to 7 that were unable to read when first entering school. This study found that many children had not one correct response in their test of a simple vowel substitution task. However, a few children who exhibited high phonemic awareness scored close to perfect on this same task. The study further stated that “there was a specific predictive relationship between initial phonemic awareness differences and success in learning to read and to spell.” Even more importantly, the study indicated that it was phonemic awareness abilities, and not IQ, that predicted the accuracy of reading and spelling at the end of grade one. Children with high phonemic awareness at the beginning of grade one had high reading and spelling achievements at the end of grade one, compared to some children with low phonemic awareness who had difficulties learning to read and spell.
In the National Reading Panel report, they also determined that the beneficial effects of phonemic awareness on reading lasts well beyond the period of training. While phonemic awareness instructions are proven to significantly help children learn reading, it is not a complete reading program. What it does, is provide children with a foundational knowledge base of the alphabet language. The NRP analysis also showed that phonics instructions produces significant benefits for students from kindergarten through grade 6, and is also helpful for children with learning to read difficulties.
Children who are taught with phonics and phonemic awareness instructions are consistently able to decode, read, and spell, and even demonstrated significant improvement in their ability to comprehend text. Even older children who receive these similar teachings improved their ability to decode and spell. The NRP made a key statement saying that “conventional wisdom has suggested that kindergarten students might not be ready for phonics instruction, this assumption was not supported by the data. The effects of systematic early phonics instruction were significant and substantial in kindergarten and the 1st grade, indicating that systematic phonics programs should be implemented at those age and grade levels.”
However, I would like to further expand on that by saying that children as young as two years old can learn to read through phonics and phonemic awareness instructions. If a young child can speak, then they should be able to learn to read, even if they are as young as two years old.
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Learning to read at a young age is important for the development of the child. It helps them develop a better understand of their surroundings, allows them to gather information from printed materials, and provides them with a wonderful source of entertainment when they read stories and rhymes. Children develop at different rates, and some children will develop reading skills quicker than other children; however, what’s important is that as the parent, you are keenly aware of your child’s maturity and reading level to provide them with appropriate books and activities to help them improve.
As parents, you are the most important teacher for your children. You will introduce your child to books and reading. Below we have some tips to help you teach your child to read.
Teach Your Child How to Read Tip #1
Teach your child alphabet letters and sounds at the same time. Studies have shown that children learn best when they are taught the letter names and letter sounds at the same time. In one study, 58 preschool children were randomly assigned to receive instructions in letter names and sounds, letter sound only, or numbers (control group). The results of this study are consistent with past research results in that it found children receiving letter name and sound instruction were most likely to learn the sounds of letters whose names included cues to their sounds.
When teaching your child the letter sounds, have them slowly trace the letter, while saying the sound of the letter at the same time. For example, if you were teaching your child the letter “A”, you would say:
“The letter A makes the /A/ (ah) sound.”
Then have your child say the /A/ sound while tracing the letter with his or her index finger.
Teaching a Child How to Read Tip #2
When teaching your child to read, always emphasize with them that the proper reading order should be from left to right, and top to bottom. To adults, this may seem so basic that anyone should know it. However, our children are not born with the knowledge that printed text should be read from left to right and top to bottom, and this is why you’ll sometimes see children reading from right to left instead – because they were never explicitly taught to read from left to right. When teaching your child how to read, always emphasize this point with them.
Teaching Your Child How to Read Tip #3
Teach final consonant blends first. Teaching words such “at” and “and” can lead your child directly to learning words that rhyme with these. For example, for “at”, you can have:
For “and”, you can have these rhyming words:
and so on…
You can start teaching blends once your child has learned the sounds of some consonants and short vowel sounds. You don’t need to wait until your child has mastered the sounds of all the letters before teaching blends.
Learning to read is a long process, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Broken down into intuitive and logical steps, a child as young as two years old can learn to read, and older children can accomplish even more.
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