How to Teach Kids to Read – there isn’t a “one-way suits all” with reading, but we are going to give you some great suggestions, ideas, and activities to help your children become successful readers.
Raising Strong Readers
Learning to read is a significant academic benchmark, which is why we learn how to teach kids to read, but we can’t stop there. While we are going to share suggestions on how to teach kids to read, we will also be sharing suggestions on how to build stronger readers.
Helping your child with their reading skills will greatly benefit them for their entire childhood & adult life.
Study after study proves that when children & adults read books, they benefit their brain and body in so many ways. Everything from having a better memory to lessening anxiety is a result of reading.
I want to encourage you to teach reading to your young children and promote reading in your older children.
There are five key areas in learning how to read well:
- Phonemic Awareness
Here are some great ways to help your child in these areas to ensure reading success.
The best part… These ideas will work for older kids, too! Sneak in MORE reading!
>>These ideas are semi-sneaky, because most of the time, your child won’t even realize that they are reading or practicing their literacy skills. 😉
1. Read Aloud
Listening to a book is a wonderful way to get your child interested in reading! Early reading is often done through reading aloud to children, but your child is never too old to have a book read to them.
I can remember being in third grade, in my elementary school, and listening to my teacher read a book to us every day after recess. We’d put our heads on our desks and just listen.
Now that I am the one reading, I read books to our kids often. I read chapter books that we all listen to, or I read individual books based on a certain child’s interest.
2. Audio Books
I have several reading apps that have audiobooks so we can listen anytime. I’m currently using the Libby App & Hoopla app because it is free and uses our library card.
I’ve also used Amazon’s Audible app because they have such a huge selection.
So… my favorite tip is to listen to these books in the car. We love finding a great book to listen to when we have a long drive ahead of us.
3. Use Closed Captioning on the TV
This was one of the best things that we have done. It is such a simple idea, but it has been fantastic. It’s great for children learning to read because they associate written words with the words they hear.
As the kids read words on the screen, they constantly tell me things like, “I didn’t know that’s how the theme song went!” or “Oh! I didn’t hear her say that, but I just read it!”
I like it so much more now that we are using subtitles because I had no idea how much of the dialogue I was missing before (like when a character mumbles or speaks very quietly. I don’t have to rewind it anymore.)
4. Put Reading Materials Everywhere
When I decided that I wanted our kids to read more, I started putting reading materials everywhere.
Here are a few examples:
- Magazines and books in the bathroom (get a cute basket, fill it with books and magazines & put it in the bathroom for the kids to use.)
- Print out a Kindergarten Sight Word list. Hang it on the refrigerator & use it daily.
- Use this Preschool & Kindergarten packet (over 200 pages of educational content!)
- Print out a list of the Letters & Sounds that they are working on (ph, ign, sn) are taped up to the wall by their bed so they can practice their phonics skills.
Phonemic awareness is important & it can be tricky, so the more practice they get, the better!
- PRACTICE. Break out of the box & practice writing in different ways. In our Kindergarten Sight Word Bundle, we discuss the importance of using our senses to practice what they are learning, like writing sight words in sugar.
- Spelling Words are constantly displayed where they can see them.
- We have a “restaurant backpack” that stays in the car until we go somewhere that the kids might be bored.
Since we have a no-electronics-at-restaurants rule, this is a great solution. The bag holds magazines, chapter books, look & find, and easy-to-read books in it.
5. Family Reading Time (same time every day)
This is a tradition that we started a few years ago when I was teaching our daughter to read. It gave us 20 minutes of reading instruction time, so I could listen to her sound out words, work on reading comprehension, and even try out a few reading programs.
Every night, at the same time, we would call the family down to the living room with a book. I would set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes and they could go anywhere as long as I could see them reading (on the porch, the couch, under a table, etc.)
Our kids loved this because we all did it together (so no one was afraid of missing out on playing).
Even their cousins join in when they stay over.
6. START the Book… then pass it off
The hardest part of any book is starting it. Once you are a few pages or chapters in, you want to know what happens next. So, to get our kids interested in a book, I’ll often start it for them.
I’ll read a few pages or a chapter out loud, and then I’ll hand the book over to them to take over. It’s a great way to improve their reading success because they are interested in finishing the book.
7. Play Games
I couldn’t leave this one out. There are so many great games for reading and writing! While there are so many educational games online, we love to find great board games.
A few examples:
- Apples to Apples Junior or try the Apples to Apples Disney version
- Bananagrams (phonics, spelling, word building)
- Plugo (phonics, word building, storytelling)
- Find more board game ideas here
8. Dinner & Bedtime Conversation Cards
I love to use our Bedtime Conversation cards – we even use them at the dinner table. (I have a set upstairs & a set downstairs). At the dinner table, we each take a turn reading a question out loud and letting everyone answer it. It’s fun, get for connection, and gets them reading. 🙂