teach your child
Reading is one of the most fundamental skills our children will learn in the first few years of their life. As a parent teaching your child to read is one of the most essential skills, you can prepare and help them with. Like any other skill, not all children flourish to learn it quickly, and sometimes extra work needs to be done to help them achieve it.

My children are a great example of this. My firstborn, Miss M is a brilliant reader and learnt so quickly I was sure I had a little genius on my hand. At just over 2, she could pick up a book and sound out most of the words with little to no help from me. However, my second child Miss R could have taken to reading more quickly. We had to work hard to help her sound out words she had seen multiple times before, and we had to teach her in a completely different way from how we introduced our first child.

Knowing that the ability to read is such an essential lifelong skill that will benefit them for years to come, I knew we had to persist in getting her to a good level of reading so that she wouldn’t fall behind when she got to school.

So like any good modern-day parent, I hit the internet and searched for ways to help my daughter to read, and while we tried every single tip I could find, I wanted to share with you the things that worked really well for us.

A parent’s top 5 tips to teach your child to read.

Learn letters.

It sounds pretty simple, and that is because it is! I found that my second daughter could recite the alphabet easily but struggled to identify the letters when they needed to be in order. For example, if I just picked up the letter L and showed it to her, she would want to say A purely because it was the first letter of the alphabet.

So, we had a couple of different alphabet charts we would sit and point to and recite the alphabet with her. By incorporating the look of the letter with the sounds, she started to make it more accessible. However, it was only when we contained my following 2 tips that this accelerated.

Identify letters and words in natural settings.

Miss R is not one of those kids who thrives in a setting where she is forced to learn. Instead, she knows more about using everyday life lessons and incorporating lessons into daily tasks. So, for example, when learning to count, she learned far better when we matter how many buttons we were doing up on her shirt or how many roses were on our rose bush.

Every time we went to the shops or a restaurant, I would point to a sign or the menu and ask what letter that was. So, we ended up doing the same for letters. BSA, we ended up doing the same for letters. So, we ended up doing the same for letters. BSA, we ended up doing the same for letters. ecause she perceived it as more of a game than a lesson, it was more fun for her, and she started to really understand letters and, eventually, words. One of the first words she read herself was the wood chips on a menu (Definitely my child!).

Use sensory play to learn to read.

Just as we would make reading signs at shops and words on a menu fun, we also purposefully made games and crafts to help her identify and read comments. So instead of just reading books and writing on paper, I would use sensory play to help read. This allowed her to remember the letters she was learning, just like when adults needed to remember what they read. They might highlight or underline something as the motor movement helps them to remember.

We did so many fun activities to teach her to read, like using sand to write letters in and then rubbing away when she got them to write, picking a word, cutting out the letters, and then decorating them with things from the craft box. We even wrote a sentence on the front lawn with twigs, sticks and leaves that Daddy got to read when he got home.

These sorts of activities made reading fun and something other than what you have to sit still and concentrate on.

Take turns reading.

When she was skilled enough to read some books, she quickly lost interest in them. So we agreed that we would read a page, and then she would read a page. My husband was the main person who did this with her as his theatrical reading skills are much more entertaining than mine and he would keep her quite entertained while she then tried to copy him on her turn.

This became such an excellent daddy-daughter time and gave her confidence and instilled a sense that reading is fun and exciting.

Let them pick up new books at the shops.

Once Miss R was a bit older, we habitually got new books at least once a month. We joined the local library and browsed the shelves until she found something she thought she would like. This turned out much better than me just picking the books as she chose so many I never would have even thought to get her, and some of them are now our absolute favourites.

Giving her the freedom to choose what she wanted to read made her more excited to read every night as she had chosen the story.

Years later, I can tell you that I now have 2 bookworm daughters who read just as much as I do – a lot! Years later, I can tell you that I now have 2 bookworm daughters who read just as much as I do – a lot! Years later, I can tell you that I now have 2 bookworm daughters who read just as much as I do – a lot! Years later I can tell you that I now have 2 bookworm daughters who read just as much as I do – a lot! Now I am not an expert in child development or how to teach your child to read, and some incredible resources on child development and reading will definitely help you. All I can give is my tips as a real-life mum and what we did to help our daughter learn to read.