Why And How You Should Implement Early Reading With Your Little One

Assessing Your Child’s Early Reading Potential

Think your child may be getting ready to start reading? A child who gets a head start on reading has a greater chance of excelling in school, as well as a greater probability of finishing college, versus children who learn to read at a later age. There are a number of ways to assess your child's readiness and their early reading potential.

Does He or She Pretend to Read?

One of the first things a child will do when they have reached an age where they’re ready to begin reading is to pretend to read their picture books. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time reading together.

Often children who are ready to begin developing early reading skills will sit and follow along with the words in a book with their finger, reciting the story out loud.  Obviously, unless it’s a story they are intimately familiar with, the words won't match what is actually written. But this is a great indicator that they are ready to learn their letters and start putting words together.

Recognition of Letters

Another great way to tell that your child is ready to start developing his early reading skills is by how often he recognizes letters of the alphabet without any prompting from you.

As children begin to grasp the concept of letters and words, they will often begin pointing out letters they recognize in their everyday life - on their cereal boxes, on signs on the street and in shop windows, and anywhere else they see them. When your child reaches this stage, it’s a good idea to start helping them to sound out the letters they see phonetically. This will further help to develop their early reading skills.

Other Signs of Early Reading Comprehension

Other signs that your child is beginning to develop his early reading skills include recognition of how a book works. Does your child understand when a book is upside-down that it should be turned over to be read? Does he seem to recognize that pages are turned from front to back, and that when a book is closed the story is over? If the answers to these questions are "yes" then it is a good probability that your child is beginning to develop early reading skills, which can be easily built upon.

Another great way to assess whether or not your child's early reading skills are developing is to pay attention to whether or not he’s showing an interest in pretending to write. Many children often play at writing the letters in their names long before their fingers can actually form the letters properly.

Another thing to take into account when assessing your child's early reading potential is his attention span. A child who can’t sit through an entire reading of their favorite storybook is probably not yet ready to begin reading. However, if your child repeatedly asks you to "read it again" when you finish a favorite story, that is also a good indicator that they’re ready to begin learning to read on their own.

How to Raise an Early Reader

Every parent wants the best start for their children in this life – whether it’s in what we’re able to give them that we didn't have, or even the type of education they receive. This is also true for the start we give them when it comes to reading.

Studies have proven that children who learn to read at an earlier age have an easier time in school, and are twice as likely to complete levels of higher education than those who struggle to learn at a later age. Here are some of the best things you can do to help your child become an early reader - giving them a head start on school and in life:

Start Young

There’s no age that is too young to start trying to raise an early reader. As soon as your child arrives you can start introducing them to reading both by reading to them, as well as through the use of brightly colored flash cards which have the letters of the alphabet on them. It’s even been proven that using one of the many popular phonics learning programs available to teach (verbally) phonics to your infant can help them to better recognize letters and words later on.

Read to Them

Although you've probably heard it a thousand times, it's important that you understand what an impact reading to your child will have on them becoming an early reader. A child who is read to at least once a day is twice as likely to become an early reader than those who are read to less frequently. It’s also a good idea to teach your child how to follow along with the words by placing your finger under each word as you read it. However, when doing this, it’s important that you take the time to sound out each word as you read; otherwise your child may learn to read by memorization only.

Be Consistent

Another important thing to remember if you want to raise an early reader is to be consistent. Reading to your child once in a while, or sounding out words on an infrequent basis won’t give them the foundation they need to become early readers. You absolutely must maintain a consistent reading schedule with your children if you want them to learn young.

Make It Fun

Above all else, if you want to raise an early reader - make sure your child has fun. A child who is forced to read, or forced to read things they don't find interesting will rebel against the learning process. Choose books that are interesting to your child, and even let him or her be a part of the choosing process. Make the reading process fun by showing them how much you enjoy it, and remember not to be too demanding that they learn.

Overall, raising an early reader isn't nearly as difficult as many people would have you to believe. Keep in mind the fact that reading is supposed to be an enjoyable process, and make it a special time between you and your child and you’ll find that raising your child to be an early reader is easier than you ever thought possible!

How To Increase Your Child's Early Reading Skills

If you have an early reader but want to help improve their early reading skills and want to give your child a head start on their education by helping them to become an early reader then here are some tips for helping your child to increase his or her early reading skills, and get a head start on their education:

  1. Use Flashcards With Text and Pictures: One of the best things you can do to help increase your child's early reading skills is to purchase or create flashcards which incorporate both pictures and text. By reinforcing your child's recognition of pictures with the word that corresponds to it, you can help them to better understand that words mean something - that they represent something more than squiggles on a page. Keep reading to find out how you can use flashcards effectively.
  2. Make Reading a Family Event: With all of the new toys on the market these days that will read to your children for you, it's easy for parents to forget that their children need to actually be read to on a repeated basis by a live person. Not only should you make a point to read to your child on a regular basis, you should also get your whole family involved in the process. Taking a family outing to the library is a great way to get your child excited about reading.
  3. Start Early Teaching Them to Write: Even though your children may not yet understand the purpose of letters, it's never too early to start teaching them their alphabet. Children love learning to write their names, so teaching them to print early is a great way to enhance their reading skills. Even if they don’t understand the full concept of the letters, they are easily able to recall the fact that certain letters mean their name if you work with them long enough. Children will begin to develop their writing skills on their own. Most children will start pretending to write long before they actually understand what letters are. Once you notice your child doing this, it's a good sign that he or she is ready to start learning to write their name.
  4. Teach Your Child Phonics: One of the biggest mistake that parents, and even some teachers, make is failing to teach their children phonics. Teaching phonics is actually a much simpler process than many would have you to believe. It’s no more than teaching your child the sounds that individual letters and letter combinations make. By teaching your child what each letter sounds like, and teaching them to sound out words as they read, you will be giving them a tool which will help them throughout each level of their education.

And remember, if you want to increase your child's early reading skills is to make the reading process fun! If your child sees that you enjoy reading, both to them and to yourself, they will take a greater interest in the process and learn much more quickly.

Try These Early Reading Activities to Bolster Your Child's Reading Confidence

Many parents are looking for activities that will help to boost a child's early reading skills. Here are the top three favorite early reading activities which will not only help you build your child's early reading skills, but will also help you build his confidence. Each of the following early reading activities should be done together with your child, and can be made even more effective by involving your entire family.

  1. Create Picture-Text Flashcards Together: One of the most important things about reinforcing your child's early reading skills is being able to help him to understand that there is a correlation between words and pictures. As discussed earlier, great way to do this is to create picture and text flashcards together with your child. The best way to start is to collect several old magazines and have your child go through and identify several pictures that he likes. Clip these out, and help him to glue them to 3x5 index cards. As you glue the pictures to the cards, have your child name each picture and show him how to print the name of the object on the back of the card. To play, first have your child name the object on the front of each card, and then show him how to sound out the word on the back. As your child gains more confidence, he’ll begin to identify the words on the backs of the cards more easily. As he does, begin showing him the words on the backs of the cards first to see how many he can identify and sound out without first seeing the pictures.
  2. Writing Letters Together: Another great way to bolster your child's confidence is to sit and write letters to family members together. Have your child dictate the letter to you, and then holding his hand, help him to trace out the letters for each word. As your child begins to understand that the letters you are having him write are actually the words he is saying, they’ll quickly begin to cement in his mind, and you’ll find that he’ll actually begin to attempt to write certain words on his own after a while.
  3. Alphabet Memory and Matching: An alphabet memory and matching game is a great way to help your child improve his early reading skills and to bolster his self-confidence in those skills. The best way to do this is to have him help you create two sets of index card with the letters of the alphabet printed on the back of each one in bright colors. Have him name each letter as you help him to form it. Once you have both sets completed, lay one set, letter side down on a table in front of your child, and the other letter side up. As your child turns over a single card from the upside down pile, have him match it to its mate on the other side. You can also help to boost your child's memory, by placing both sets face down on the table, and having him attempt to find pairs one set at a time.

Always remember that with any sort of activities for boosting your child's early reading skills that it is important to be generous with your praise when your child does well. By praising your child each time he correctly identifies a word, you are helping to further cement that word into his brain. Not to mention that the more praise he receives, the more he will try to truly commit to heart the words and letters in your early reading activities.