When my son Jonathan was about three and a half, he started showing an interest in reading. He knew all his letters and most of their sounds. He would flip through books and “read” the ones he’d memorized or make up the story for those he didn’t know. And then, he started asking to learn to read.
At first, I panicked. I found myself a little lost at how to teach a child to read. I thought I’d have a few more years before I’d cross that homeschooling bridge! Thankfully, I attended a local homeschool seminar and found some great resources. I learned so much in the process over the last year and a half.
Four things to remember as you teach an early reader:
- Read to your child
Read. Read. Read. This starts well before you even think about teaching your child to read. And when they’re learning to read, be sure you continue to read to him. Also, model reading for him. Let him see you reading books. Readers produce readers.
- Evaluate readiness
Determine whether your child is really ready to learn to read or if you should hold off a little longer. Does he know his letters and sounds? Does he mimic reading? Has he asked to learn to read? If you have multiple yes answers, then proceed. I used Teach Your Child in 100 Easy Lessons to help me evaluate Jonathan’s readiness. We only used the first 10 lessons or so, but the book was a great way to confirm that Jonathan was in fact ready to learn to read. If your child struggles, put the book away and try again in a few weeks or months.
- Go at their pace
The beauty of teaching a homeschooled child how to read is that you don’t have to worry about a timeline or keeping pace with other students. You can speed up and slow down as needed. Learning to read is not necessary a straight smooth path. Expect bumps, curves, and plateaus. I believe that it is good to provide opportunities to stretch a child, but it is also good to back off and take a break from time to time too.
- Alternate reading paragraphs or pages
Younger readers can become overwhelmed with the number of pages or number of words on a page. Jonathan would want to continue in a book, but he needed something to break up the reading. He loved it when I would jump in and read a paragraph or a page while he followed along.
Need some additional help? Here are some reading resources that we used and liked:
- Spell to Write & Read
- Leapfrog Videos
- Bob Books
- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
- Pathway Readers and Workbooks
- Dick and Jane Books
- Leveled readers
- Nature readers
How did you teach your child to read? What were your favorites resources?
Amanda is navigating the world of Kindergarten with her oldest this year. You can read a recap of their Pre-K year and learning to read on her blog. She is a former church communications director with a MA in Old Testament Studies turned homeschooling mom. She blogs about life, motherhood, homeschooling, technology, books, faith, and more at ThePelsers.com.