Every night, my children and I cuddled in the bed and practiced sounds, then short words, then short sentences. We struggled over distinguishing between the b and the d and laughed at the sounds made by ch, sh, and ph. Slowly, slowly, slowly, but surely, we work our way through the sounds, through the sentences, and into paragraphs. Slowly, slowly, slowly, my children turn away from me and into their books until they read independently, happily, enthusiastically. So far, I have taught two of my four children to read and I’m working on the third. My children learn to read in French so I have to teach them in English. I want them to be able to read basic books in English before learning to read in French. I believe it helps them with the French and also supports my goal that their dominant language will always be English. I did it with three resources and three steps. This is how.
- The Letter Factory, Leapfrog – this video teaches children about the sounds a letter makes.
- Talking Words Factory, Leapfrog – this video teaches children to make words with sounds.
- Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons, Michael Levin, MD, and Charan Langton, MS – this book uses phonics in a logical progression to teach reading. The book makes it easy for parents without an educational background in literacy.
Steps to Reading
- Talk about the sounds that letters make and practice them until they know them cold.
- Put sounds together to make words. “c” and “a” and “t” make what word? Form progressively harder words.
- Start the phonics book and complete two pages a day.
Then, I would move on to easy reading books and progressively move on. We’d stick with our former goal of reading for fifteen minutes a night until they were ready to read on their own.
There are many different ways to teach children to read. Most will learn quickly and easily once they enter school. For parents in special circumstances, teaching at home is one way to ensure children learn to read.