The ability to read is an integral part of everyday life. Studies have shown that there is no time too early to teach your youngsters how to read – you can even begin the teaching from as soon as birth. Experts recommend that children should be able to read basic levels of text and write at least their name before they reach school age. While much of this teaching can be done at nursery, you cannot put a price on imparting your knowledge onto your kids. After all, they are a product of you which means that you have a connection. Here’s how to teach your children how to read.

Read Aloud

There’s never a time too soon to teach your kids how to read. You can even start from birth – the sound of your melodic voice will be very soothing to a baby, and you can try reading aloud each night to help get them off to sleep. As they get a bit older, you can introduce reading into their daily routine. Determine at what time of day your youngster best responds to your reading. For instance, if you find that reading first thing in the morning helps to wake your baby up and stimulates their brain for the day, then this is the best time. However, if your youngster often takes ages to get to sleep, you may wish to read aloud before bedtime – this can have a soothing effect on your baby and help to send them off into a deep and peaceful sleep.

Picture Books

While your children are still young, picture books can be a useful teaching tool. For instance, you can point to a picture of an animal and ask your youngster what sound it makes. You can even do this exercise in the reverse. Make an animal sound and ask your child to point to the correct animal picture. This will show you their ability to match sounds to objects.

Read with Them

Visual signs while you are reading to your child will help them learn how to read. Trace your finger along the lines each word at a time to show your youngster that we read from left to right. When they are more confident in recognising simple words, you can read with your child. Help them if they get stuck on tricky words but don’t correct every mistake immediately. Let them try to work out some pronunciations for themselves and they will learn much faster. Praise them at the end of each reading time to instil confidence in your child.

There is an art to teaching your child to read. You need a combination of patience, encouragement, and intelligence as well as a good grasp of the concepts involved in teaching phonics, using sight words and finding a method that engages your children without overwhelming them.

To be a good teacher or a helper of the schoolteacher, you need to be able to keep variety in the lessons that you give to the child, and this needs to be done in preschoolers, kindergarten or nursery school teaching and beyond. I hope that you are one of the parents that realises and recognises the tremendous amount of help that can be found both on and offline in their efforts to help teach your child to read.


The job in preschool is “phonemic awareness” to start making your child aware of the differences between sounds. Just by listening to a plane flying overhead you can ask your child what it is. To you it seems natural to know what that sound is but a child might not yet have made that connection. Cars, lorries and helicopters make different sounds, and when your child can recognise these sounds, then they may be ready to start differentiating between sounds in words.

They may also not yet know the cause and effect principle and until you teach them that hitting a fence with a stick results in a noise like a drum they might not appreciate it. Once you tell them, they will not forget.

A good guide to see if your child is ready is to do the What does “Word” start with the game. For example, if your child is called David you can ask, What does David start with emphasising the first D sound in David. Children love doing this for a few minutes a day.

Reading Letters

The recognition of letters and sounds of those letters is a similar process and its important to how to teach a child to read. The child needs to recognise the letter visually to be able to guess the pronunciation. Once that recognition is achieved, your child is ready to move onto combining letters. There are many online resources to give you phonics games, phonics activities and sight word lists that you can use to help you to teach your child to read. Check out the resource box at the bottom of this article for links to many places where you can find great activities to do with your child.

Sight Words Lists

Once your child can recognise quite a few letters, you start confusing him or her by adding in sight words! Sight words are words that are not pronounced phonetically. Therefore they need to be learned on sight rather than by using the individual letter sounds to spell them out. There are many sight words lists available online and off, and they are an essential part of any program that helps to teach your child to read.

Children are learning from the moment they are born and absorb whatever we learn them. Introducing “reading” to a young child can be done simply by reading each day. Make it a daily routine. It could be after school, or it could be before bed. Whatever you choose will become an expected daily event. Read aloud to your child and follow each word with your finger. Reading aloud to children helps to broaden their vocabulary and develop their knowledge of different types of print. Eventually, a child will learn that print is read from left to right and from the top of the page to the bottom. They will learn to correlate the spoken words with the printed words.

All of these methods for helping to teach children reading can be combined and enjoyed by both parent and child. Applying these teachings along with the resources you can find on and offline will give  your child a richer learning experience and is an excellent way of moving forward in your plan for teaching children reading.

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