Reading is a crucial skill that must be developed early on. Here are 10 ways you can teach kids how to read fluently.
Reading is a critical skill that must be developed as early as possible. It helps the child learn new words quickly and develop a set of cognitive and critical thinking skills essential for their future academic development.
There are plenty of ways a child can practice reading comprehension, work on their literacy skills, and develop a love of reading that will stick with them for life. In the following paragraphs, we’re taking a look at some of the most effective methods for instructing early readers and organizing their reading programs to match their individual strengths and learning styles.
The importance of developing reading skills in young children
As we’ve said, early reading is essential for developing a wide range of useful skills that will propel the child on their academic and, eventually, professional journey.
Those skills include not only language skills, such as extended vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension, but also a set of critical thinking skills and increased awareness of culture, society, and history.
In addition, teaching children to read early on encourages creative and imaginative thinking and helps them learn how to focus and concentrate on reaching different milestones in their studies.
Proper reading instruction is also crucial for struggling readers. Building phonemic awareness and practicing letter-sound relationships, as well as word decoding, can help learners with dyslexia reach desirable reading levels and catch up with their peers.
10 best ways to teach children how to read early on
There are plenty of ways you can teach children how to read. The ideal approach will depend on each child’s personality, learning style, and predilections, so it doesn’t hurt to mix and match and experiment to see what works best.
Down below, we have a list of the ten most important tips that will help you accommodate most children’s needs.
1. Focus on phonics
Essentially, phonics is all about letter-sound relationships. By focusing on phonics, you can teach the child all individual sounds and letters of the alphabet, as well as some different ways they can use that knowledge to form new words. This approach is rather systematic, and due to its reliance on 1:1 sound-letter correspondences, it might not be ideal for English language instructors since English orthography is not very phonetic.
2. Focus on the entire language as a system
Instead of focusing on individual letters and sounds, you can go for a more holistic approach. Instead of trying to teach letter names and corresponding phonemes, try teaching whole words, phrases, and expressions. This is a more pragmatic approach, as it emphasizes language as it is used in context. It is also a good way to get kids reading books early on, especially if you’re a fan of the homeschool approach and need to introduce some literature into the curriculum.
3. Multi-sensory approach
This method incorporates all sorts of activities. You can rely on visual aids, kinesthetic exercises, singing, movies, and everything else that will get your learners going. This method is great as it gives you a chance to rely on modern technology that most children are going to be familiar with and fond of.
4. Sight word approaches
Focusing on sight reading might be beneficial early on. Simply teach the child how to recognize common words by glancing at the page. You can even use flashcards and other kinds of printable materials, as well as audio-visual and multi-sensory aids. Once they can recognize and pronounce a bunch of different words, you can move on to more complex instructions.
5. Gamify the approach
First-grade students might be learning how to read, but they’re still mostly interested in playing with their peers. You can turn that to your advantage. Simply gamify your approach. Use interactive games, puzzles, and anything else that will help them focus and become more engaged. If you organize your teaching sessions well, you will notice quick results, as the children will be learning phonetics, word families, and a bunch of reading skills without realizing it.
6. Do it in groups
Reading used to be a communal activity, and there is no reason it can become one again. If you are teaching more than one child, encourage them to work together and practice reading aloud to each other. You will help them build confidence and work on their pronunciation, too.
7. Use instructional programs like the Montessori Method
You are not the first one who is teaching reading, and people have been working on different methods for years. You can make use of their knowledge and rely on pre-made programs, such as the Montessori Reading Method. It encourages self-study early on and makes use of plenty of different materials that will appeal to most learners. Since there are tons of reading programs out there, check our reviews on Amazon and do some research to see what would work best.
8. Provide intensive individual instructions
Some children need more work to find reading success. In those cases, you can rely on methods such as Reading Recovery. It focuses on one-on-one instructions, and it is perfect for those with lagging literacy skills.
9. Literature-based approaches
There are books for children out there that can be read very early on. You can go through them together with your students, and make use of their well-structured narratives and engaging design to teach rhyming and poetry skills as you go, too.
10. Teach reading by writing
It might seem counterintuitive, but teaching kids how to read by making them write works. Writing encourages us to think about the language, the spelling of individual words, and the structure of the discourse so it translates well to reading comprehension.
Help children read aloud online with Speechify’s text to speech application
No matter what teaching method you opt for, introducing some additional supplementary tools will do wonders for the children’s reading ability. We recommend Speechify.
Speechify is an online text to speech (TTS) tool and app that can help children work on their reading skills and enunciation by giving them a chance to hear all sorts of text read aloud in a wide variety of languages and accents.
The app is useful for both younger and older children, and it comes with built-in accessibility features, such as highlighting and adjustable voice options, that will help children work on their phonics skills and word memorization.
It bears mentioning that Speechify was developed for dyslexic readers, so it can assist more independent students with reading or learning difficulties in moving on from simple words to more advanced reading tasks on their own.