How to Teach a Kindergartener to Read
It goes without saying that reading is a fundamental skill that every child needs to have in order to succeed in their educational career. Reading, however, does not come as easy to everyone as some people may think. Some kids may have difficulty learning how to read but here are 8 easy steps that can be done in order to get them on the right track.
Focus on Letter Sounds Over Names
When learning the letters of the alphabet, one would usually associate a letter with an item to help the child integrate it into their memory such as saying “a is for apple”. This method can be quite confusing for some children as they will associate saying the letter ‘a’ one way only where there are multiple ways to pronounce the letter depending on the word. An easy way to overcome this challenge is to have the child focus on learning the different sounds the letter ‘a’ can make. This way they can establish a firm link between the letter and their sounds.
Start with Uppercase Letters
When the time comes to teach a child how to write the individual letters of the alphabet, it can be beneficial to teach them the Uppercase letters first. Even though lowercase letters are more common, teaching them uppercase letters will help them differentiate each letter from one another. For example, the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’ look really similar when in lowercase form but these same letters when they are uppercase look completely different ‘B’ and ‘D’. This will help a child to understand the basics of letter identification.
Phonics is the relationship between sounds and symbols. Using a phonics approach to reading will help a child learn to learn the alphabet letter by letter, sound by sound. Phonics is taught explicitly, sequentially, and systematically. Soon they will be able to develop this skill in their brain and automatically sound out words with multiple sequences.
Integrate Sight Words along with Phonics
Sight words are an important part of speech that children need to be taught in order for them to read. These are common words that are not spelled how they are pronounced so it can be difficult to teach them to a child separately. Since you do not want a child to regress in their phonics skills when learning sight words, it is important to teach both of them carefully at the same time. Doing so will reinforce the skills needed to sound out words.
Most people think that talking is a speech-only skill which is not true. When you talk to a child, they are learning and absorbing all that you tell them. Talking with your child often helps increase their vocabulary, their ability to form sentences, and how to use context clues.
Keep It Light
It is important to teach a child how to read in a relaxed and focused way. Reading is meant to be imaginative and explorative. Children should not be stressed when learning how to read as it will inhibit their ability to learn and process the information. Focusing on quality over quantity will have a more positive effect on how a child reads.
While reading with a child ask them to repeat words or sentences back to you. Doing so will help reinforce what they have read, help them memorize words they are struggling with, and you can correct them on their pronunciation if necessary. This technique also gets your child more acquainted with the natural flow of reading. While they look at the pictures and listen happily to the story, they’ll begin to focus on the words they are reading and engage more with the book in front of them.
Play Word Games
Word games can be a great alternative way to get your kids involved and interested in reading. It is an effective method that can engage your child’s skills without reading a whole story at once.