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A guide to teaching kids how to read

Learning to read is one of the most important skills that a child will acquire. Reading needs to be taught in an organised way, usually one step at a time. There are certain factors that could impede children’s reading such as insufficient experience with language at home, or a learning disability. This article describes specific areas to teaching kids how to read.

Encourage print awareness

Early reading starts with print awareness which suggests that children understand the nature and use of print. This is their introduction to literacy. It is important to help children to learn the basics about how books are organised. For example, books are read from left to right, and top to bottom. Children’s print awareness may be assessed. A child could be given a copy of a book and be asked some basic questions about the book. Ask the child to say the front and title, and where he/she would begin to read the book.

Include phonics instructions

While there are different views, many experts agree that children need phonics instructions. Children’s reading development depends on their understanding that letters represent certain sounds. So, knowing phonics help them to spell and read. Phonics instruction usually begins at kindergarten. One of the goals of phonics instruction is to help children to learn the letters of the alphabet and the sound that each letter makes. Children are taught, for example, that the letter m represents a certain sound, which is the first letter in words such as mouse, met and mend. Children are also encouraged to sound out words.

Promote reading fluency

Children develop fluency when they are able to read text correctly and easily with the proper expression. This moves them from word recognition to comprehension of what they read. Furthermore, children are able to make connections between ideas in the text and their real-life experiences. They should be encouraged to figure out words for themselves to facilitate their becoming independent readers. Additionally, there should be time for conversations both at home and school where children are given opportunities to talk about books and what they have read. Reading should be a natural part of children’s life. Final note There are many components to teaching children to read. However, children go through specific steps in order to learn to read. Thus, it is important that parents and teachers facilitate the process with the provision of effective reading instructions and the necessary support. Source - Reading Rockets (2011). “Reading 101: What You Should Know.” (Downloaded from and accessed August 2011). - Allington, R. & Gruice, S. (n.d). “Learning to Read: What Research says Parents can do to help their children.” (Downloaded from and accessed August 2011).

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