Thursday, April 10, 2008

Child Teaching Reading at Home from Birth On

Reading instruction begins at home, long before the child receives any formal teaching. Whether you are interested in home schooling for the long term, or simply want to prepare your child for his school days, home school reading activities must start before the child enters Kindergarten. Here are some tips you can use to teach your child to read.

Reading and Babies

Child development begins at birth, and so does reading instruction. From the moment babies are born they are learning the different sounds of the human language. Even before they can understand a single word, their ears are listening to the sounds and their brains are processing them. This is the first step a child takes along the path of learning to read.

If you have a baby, you should talk to your baby and read to her in order to prepare her for later reading activities. Once she is a toddler and can talk and sing, she can begin learning letters and their sounds. This comes earlier than most parents think. Children as young as two can recognize letters and associate sounds with them, with proper instruction. Pre-reading activities include reading aloud to children, singing the alphabet song, and pointing out letters to the children.

Reading, Writing, and Preschoolers

Three and four year olds are ready to begin learning a little more about how to read. After children have mastered the names of the letters in the alphabet and learned some sounds, they are ready to begin doing reading activities at home. This is the time to introduce phonics.

Phonics is a system of reading instruction that emphasizes the sounds that letters and letter combinations make. Children are taught to associate sounds with letters, and therefore can use those sounds to read and write words. You can spend ten minutes a day working with letter sounds and three-letter words, thus preparing your child for longer sessions in school.

Children are also learning to write at this age. When your child begins to show interest in holding a pen or crayon, you should help him learn to hold it correctly. As soon as he has mastered scribbling, help him form simple letters, like O or T. Reading and writing are taught side by side in school, so you can do the same thing when you are helping your youngster with reading activities at home.

Reading and School Age Children

With this good foundation, your child will be ready for her traditional education. Do not be surprised if she is ahead of her classmates when she first enters school. You may decide to home school her to keep her working ahead. Either way, she will feel comfortable when school starts because she will already know the basics. Many four-year-olds who are taught phonics can read before entering Kindergarten.

Once your child enters school, be sure to continue working with her at home. Do some reading activities every day. Even if all you do is read with your child, taking turns reading age appropriate material, you will be reinforcing what she is learning in school. This is the time to make reading fun, because the memorization and drills will be happening in school.

Another way to reinforce what is being taught in the school is to use the computer. Programs like Child Font can help your child practice and solidify the phonics skills that are necessary when learning to read. The computer is interesting to children, so utilize it as much as possible when helping your child with reading. Remember, to most children learning on the computer is playing, not education, so they will want to spend time working on their reading skills with the right reading program.

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Child Development

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