Teaching Children To Read

Teach reading at home
A fun & easy learning to read program

Reading to childrenReading to children - butterflies

Reading to children regularly is the single most critical factor in a child's reading success later in life.

Reading regularly to your kids from an early age promotes language acquisition. Children growing up in homes where they are read to regularly receive an equivalent 3 years more schooling than children from homes without children's story books.  

Birth to 3 months

Read to kids everyday is important; include it into your daily routine. Begin reading from day one. Your new born infant will recognise your voice and also find the sound of your voice reassuring. It doesn't matter what you read, the content is not that important at this age.

3 months to 6 months

In the first six months of life children will probably spend a lot of time laying on their backs. Most of their wakeful time may be spent laying back and looking directly up towards the ceiling. Having a loving adult lay down beside them and reading in a calm, clear voice, is a very pleasurable experience. It also provides a visual stimulus and allows children to practice focusing.

When your child is a little older, approximately 5 - 6 months and can support their head better; sit them in your lap to read. They will want to hear your voice, so select story books that have more text and large clear pictures.

Kids of this age enjoy books that have photographs of people and familiar objects rather than illustrations that are drawn. There are many ideal books for babies that promote learning and language development.

6 months to 18 months

Babies from 6 months of age who are read to regularly understand far more words and have increased receptive vocabulary ability by the time they are 18 months old, than babies that are not read to.

From about 6 - 8 months children begin to want to hold the book themselves and may want to turn the pages. This is fine, just go with the flow and talk about whatever page you happen to be looking at.

Books with animals, babies and photos of everyday objects are ideal for this stage. Smaller board books enable the child to hold the book, rotate it and turn the pages independently.

Between 8 - 18 months children become a lot more physically active. They are gaining strength in their body and will normally go from sitting to crawling, walking, climbing and running within this time frame. Sitting on your lap for long periods of time may not be high on their agenda so make the most of shorter and more regular reading sessions. After waking up from a nap or after bath time may be the best time to sit and enjoy a story together. Books with colourful pictures and limited text are best for this age.

If you read animal books regularly, at some stage during their first eighteen months, your child will begin to imitate you and will repeat the animal sounds such as baaaa and moooo (consonant followed by a vowel). This is their first attempt to imitate reading.

18 months to 3 years

From 18 months to 36 months kid's concentration span increases and they gain language skills rapidly. At this age children enjoy interactive books where they can lift the flap or push a button.

You will be able to introduce story books with longer amounts of texts. Three year old children particularly enjoy books that are humorous and illustrations that are detailed.

Around fifteen minutes each day is a reasonable time to read together, a little less for younger children and a little more for older ones.

3 years to 5 years

At this age children that have been read to regularly are able to predict text and are beginning to recognise some words or letters. Rhyming books are great for this age and books that lead up to a big climax.

Four and five year old kids are ready for short chapter books that are read over a period of time. Children of this age are beginning to read independently. The books that we read to children are different from the books that children start reading independently. This is because their receptive language skills are more developed than their reading skills.

It is important to introduce books suitable for children learning to read. Books need to be interesting to the reader and also have words that are familiar to the child.

5 years to 12 years

Continue reading to children of this age everyday. Target books that will be of particular interest to your child. Ask your librarian or local children's book store for assistance if you are finding it difficult to find books that your child loves. 

Encourage your child to read independently everyday. Provide all types of literature including newspapers, comics, joke books, magazines and child-friendly web-sites, the more reading the better. Here's a link to more information about improving children's reading by encouraging them to read child friendly magazines.

Check out this great site for more information about how to improve reading by reading to children.

 ...Next - How to read to children

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