How to Teach Your Child to Read - How to Grow a Bookworm
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How to teach your child to read

How to Teach Your Child to Read

Teaching your child to read can be a daunting prospect. Whether they are home schooled or at school there may be times when you need to introduce a reading strategy, word or sound.


For some quick reading strategies visit my useful tips for hearing your child read post.    There are also lots of wonderful reading programs and apps that can make this process a lot easier or add another level to your own teaching.


If you’re unsure of what or how to teach your child you will find all my posts with teachable ideas and tips in the category  Reading Strategies.

There also some great ideas to be found in my post on web articles written by reading experts.



How to teach your child to read:

Teach, Prompt and Reinforce

When teaching your child a new strategy it can be really helpful to know and use the Teach, Prompt and Reinforce model.


This is a great way of getting clear in your head what you need to do to introduce a new idea. This could be as simple as saying the sounds aloud when they are stuck on a word.


For example



This is when you introduce the new idea.  At this stage you want to explain the idea in detail so that you’re happy that you child understands and can attempt it.

Me: What sounds are in the word?

ED (My Eldest Daughter): r

Me:Great! Any others?

ED: o

Me: Good, keep going to the end of the word.

ED: b-i-n

Me: Well done.  That’s a really important thing to do if you don’t know the word because it will help you work out what word it is.  Do you know the word now?

ED: I’m not sure.

Me: OK try saying them again.

ED: r-o-b-i-n   robin

Me: Wonderful! Now you can use that idea each time you get stuck.  Lets try it with this word (I point out a word that I know she will need to sound out).

Keep practicing until you feel they’ve got it. 



This part will come the next time that you hear your child read.  You won’t need to teach the idea again but they probably won’t be able to do it independently yet. When you come to a situation where they could use the strategy you taught them prompt them to use it and remind them of details if necessary.

ED:I don’t know that word.

Me:What strategy did we learn yesterday that would help?

ED: I don’t remember.

Me: You struggled with the word robin until you said each sound.

ED: Oh I remember now.  j-a-ck-e-t  jacket.

Me: Well done



When your child tries the strategy praise them and help them when necessary.  Continue to do this as they begin to use the strategy independently.  Take notice of this and celebrate their achievement.

Me: Wow! You tried those sounds yourself and I didn’t have to remind you!



How to teach your child to read:

Teach, Prompt and Reinforce

The great thing about this method is that you can adapt it to suit your child.  Don’t feel that you have to stick to the routine and never look back.  There maybe times when you need to teach something several times before you can move to prompting. The reinforce section can also be used throughout the process.  Whenever your child demonstrates the skill you are teaching reinforce it with praise and positive comments.


Do it

Try Teach, Prompt and Reinforce out with one of these strategies then keep reading to find an activity to use it with.


How to teach your child to read



Here is a selection of activities which can be a great way to help your child to learn or practice reading skills. While you are trying one of these activities you can introduce your child to new ideas or strategies using Teach, Prompt and Reinforce.



How to teach your child to read:


Start a holiday scrapbook.  Show your child how they can document their holiday with drawings, notes, photos and anything that they like.  This can then be used as a prop to tell people about their holiday.  This will involve reading and writing and uses lots of skills that will support the development of both.



How to teach your child to read:

Shopping List

Ask your child to write you a list. It could really be a list of anything.  It might be something that you dictate or something that they come up with independently.  This can either be written in words or drawn.  If you go with a shopping list you might like to ask them to use it to guide you and read it out as you go round the shop.  If you are using pictures this will help to get them used to the process and get them to set up strategies that they will use later when reading words.



How to teach your child to read:

Furniture Labels

Ask your child to help you label as many pieces of furniture as you can.  Once you have done this muddle up the labels while they have their eyes closed.  Challenge them to put the labels back correctly.  With this game just start with a few labels to see how they get on then build up the number as they get quicker at it.


How to teach your child to read

How to teach your child to read:


Share simple requests in note form. ‘It’s time for tea’, ‘would you like a sweet?’ Even if if they can’t read them all to start with it can be fun to work them out together. These notes can be left around the house or pushed under doors.



How to teach your child to read:


Write tricky words, or words that your child has struggled with in a book, on cards. Write each word out on 2 or 4 cards. Do this with several words ranging in difficulty.   Spread the cards, well shuffled, out on a table face down.  Take it in turns to turn over 2 cards and try to read them out.  If you can match them and read them both you can keep the pair.  If you can’t you have to return the cards to their place and the next person takes a turn.



How to teach your child to read:

Reading Buddies

If your child is a little reluctant to read aloud or has specific words or strategies to practice they might like to read quietly to a soft toy.  This reading buddy will listen non judgmentally and help them get ready to read to someone else.


How to teach your child to read

  • Renee
    Posted at 08:04h, 17 November Reply

    This is such a great post. Henry is currently struggling with his words and your ideas for shopping lists and scrapbooking will help him find his voice. Thank you

    • tomrussell
      Posted at 20:46h, 17 November Reply

      Thank you Renee! I’m so glad you found it useful!

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