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Reading Tips

HomeReading Tips

Below are some of our favorite quick tips for beginning readers.

Is there anything else? We want to hear from you! What do you do to promote beginning literacy in your homes? The best ideas are those we share with others!

Providing Phonics Support

Do I Have to Teach Phonics?

Phonics is an essential part of literacy. In order for a child to read they must acquire a combination of skills:

  • Reading comprehension – The most important and first reading lesson a child should understand when learning to read is that words convey meaning.
  • Mastery of high-frequency words – Words such as “a, the, then, them” and “they” make up around 70% of what we read. They cannot be sounded out and must be memorized.
  • Phonics – Letter knowledge and the sounds individual and combinations of letters together make
  • Phonemic Awareness – Being able to tell the difference between letter sounds combinations
  • Fluency – The speed and accuracy directly impacting comprehension of text

When is the Best Time to Teach Phonics?

The best time to teach any skill is through an experience or in context while reading.

Review the rule with a short lesson using a song, game, discussion, or story.

  • Encourage your child to be a brave reader when reading and sound out unfamiliar words in context that are not high-frequency words (see above).
  • Create a story, song, or physical connection to remember a sound rule. It might sound silly but any connection you can provide while reading will help your child remember and use it the next time they encounter the same letter(s)/sound combination rule.

Got Any Phonics Rule Songs, Stories, or Discussions to Share?

We thought you’d never ask!

Set Family Reading Goals

What Are Family Reading Goals?

We all have good intentions to read more, right? Why not share reading goals as a family? Push each other to accomplish reading goals together! Discuss reading goals as a family and write them down. The act of sharing can become that positive force to help everyone accomplish their reading goal. Example Goal: I’d like to read 10 New York Times bestsellers this year.

  • Keep it Going Revisit family reading goals several times throughout the year and discuss the progress you’ve made towards accomplishing them. The more we engage in family reading habit discussions the closer everyone will be pushed to accomplish their goals.

Share Success stories? We want to hear! How did you help your new reader start to love literacy? Share your story with Stepping Stones Together today!

Teaching the ABCs

4 Creative Methods for Learning the Alphabet

  1. Singing – The ABC song is infectious. But you can also put a new beat on an old favorite to get your child laughing and engaged. Have your child help you come up with a new tune to the old favorite or have fun teaching your child with the suggestions below.
  • Sing it slow
  • Sing it fast
  • Sing it with a hand movement
  • Sing it with a dance
  • Sing it in unison
  • Sing it loud
  • Sing it softly
  1. ABC Books – There are some great ABC books out there. The Wrigley Field from A to Z book is one of my son’s favorites, being from Chicago and a Cubs fan. He loves to read it while we sing the ABC song. Here are two other favorites we enjoy together to learn the letters in the alphabet:
  1. Letter of the Week– Your whole family can get involved in creating meals, decorations, songs, and games based on the letter of the week. Most importantly, create a letter of the week book.
  • Have your child create a book representing artifacts he/she chooses representative of the letter of the week.
  • You do not have to buy things for this activity! It is better to use what you have around the house to show your child that reading and letters are around them all the time and not special additions.
  • Read the letter of the week books from prior weeks to reinforce the letters learned. Connecting letters to the meaningful experiences your child has had with them will help them retain their newly acquired knowledge.
  1. Reading Aloud – Daily reading leads to academic achievement
  • Read to your child every day.
  • Encourage your child to read to you even if he/she is telling the story through the illustrations or a book they have memorized.
  • Have your child finish sentences, point to letters, and share the sounds letters make in words.

Got alphabet ideas? We want to hear them! Please share your ideas for teaching the alphabet with us. The more we share the more we learn.

Increasing Vocabulary

Vocabulary Grows Through Reading

Research indicates that children with well-developed vocabulary skills learn more words indirectly from reading and discussing than through direct teacher instruction.

How Can Parents Help Enhance Their Child’s Vocabulary Skills?

Have book discussions asking your child to share what words mean while reading or after reading a book. Encourage your child to read widely and deeply by providing books that capitalize on their interests. Your local librarian can be your best resource here.

Free Resources for Increasing Your Child’s Vocabulary:

What do you do to promote beginning literacy in your home? Share your ideas with other parents and caregivers on the Stepping Stones Together social media pages!

Motivating Your Child to Read More

Take an Inventory of Interests

All children have interests and most likely there is a book in your local library or bookstore waiting for him/her to dive into with your help. 

Generate a question list incorporating ways to get your child to share their interests with you. Examples: favorite sport, famous person you’d like to meet, place you’d like to visit, activity you’ve never done before and would like to try!

Continue to do this again and again. The more interests you expose, the more your child will read. The more your child reads varying and engaging books, the more they will become voracious readers.

Promoting Literacy with Toddlers

Is Reading a Story at Bedtime Enough?

Reading to your child anytime will make a difference in their literacy development. Studies have confirmed that reading books aloud in your home will make a difference to your child’s academic success.

Open Up New Literacy Experiences

Use music, dance, books your child loves, art projects, or various textures and colors to create and bond over the letters and sounds. My favorite activity is to create a letter of the week or day as a family challenge. Everyone participates in the fun by eating foods, developing a letter book, labeling things around the house, creating a letter song, and just doing activities whenever possible focusing on a given letter. The more a family bonds over literacy and creates memorable experiences, the stronger a child’s dedication to literacy will become.

Encouraging Reading at Home

Your Child’s Reading Habits Begin with You

Children thrive off of consistent daily reading practice. They need guidance to ignite that beginning reading passion which will dissipate without nurturing.

What Should I Do?

Set the tone early on that reading is important. Model the importance of reading through visits to the library, openly reading for pleasure in your home, and daily reading with your child.

Is There Anything Else I Can Do? 

Change up your reading routine when you see your child needs it. Your child will find many interests, authors, and reading activities they enjoy, grow tired of, and outgrow. Knowing when new exposures are necessary is the key to maintaining a healthy interest in reading.

Leading by Example

Read, Read, Read All About It!

We hear this mantra and think immediately of the local paperboy or a daily newspaper.

Believe it or not, some adults still read a daily newspaper cover to cover. What excites us about headlines and the details of non-fiction stories? This enjoyable and commonplace reading ritual fosters an interpretation of events leading to opinions, solutions, and discussions of current and worldly happenings in culture, politics, and the like. Shouldn’t we do the same for our imaginations?

Spark Your Imagination

What do we engage in daily to help us relate to our children and imagination? How can we expect to have juicy discussions without daily devotion to imaginative text? Too often we watch movies to connect to our imaginations. Instead, pick up a great fiction book and read for reading’s sake. You won’t regret it. The reality? YOU might inspire your child to pick up their book and start reading too. Reading is addictive!

Start Your Own Book Club

How Will a Book Club Motivate My Child to Read?

Friends and family will motivate your child to complete reading goals. To get started, you can either help your child organize friends to gather monthly or bi-monthly to discuss what they are reading, or agree to do this as a family.

The more you read the better you get. The better you get the more you will read. The more you discuss the more you understand and retain.

Don’t Forget the Discussion

Discuss, discuss, discuss! Did I mention discuss? When you have conversations around, about and beyond books, you will help your child increase their critical thinking skills and the ability to transfer new information from their short to long term memory.

Share: Success stories? Please share!

Have More Questions?

If you have a question that isn’t covered here, we’ll be happy to answer it. Send us a message using our online contact form.

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