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How to Teach Reading Skills

You Can Teach Your Child Reading Skills at Home with These Strategies


Updated June 11, 2014

Improve Reading Skills

Teach Reading Skills

You can teach your child reading skills with these easy strategies for home. Parents are sometimes wary of attempting to teach their children reading skills at home. Even if you have never taught reading skills before, you can use these strategies to help your child improve reading.
  1. Visit Your Library: Most libraries offer organized reading programs during school breaks for students based on their school levels. Librarians are usually happy to help your child and can help find ways to involve all levels of readers within an age group.
  2. Use Books and Audiobooks: Check out works in both their book forms and audiobooks. Using both, the student sees and hears words and phrases together, a good way to reinforce sight-word recognition.
  3. Compare Books to Film: Have your child read a book and then check out the video version of a book. Talk about the similarities and differences in the two.
  4. Study Reading Vocabulary: As your student reads books, make a list of words that were new or difficult. Make flashcards of these words, and look them up in the dictionary. Take turns showing the cards and guessing the words and meanings. As your child learns each word, take it out of the pile. Review the words occasionally until your child feels comfortable with them.
  5. Teach Spelling Skills: Use the same deck created in number 3 above. Have your child learn the spelling of each word. Practice the spelling. When your child feels ready, have him write the words on paper. Encourage your child for correcting mistakes with encouragement or positive reinforcement.
  6. Read the old fashioned way. This is one of the best ways to encourage reading and help your child learn to enjoy reading. Take turns reading passages, or allow your child to follow along as you read.

    Most important, remember to keep your reading activities at home stress free. Use mistakes as teachable moments. If your child gets tired of reading, take turns, or take a break. For most elementary aged students with learning disabilities, about fifteen to twenty minutes of reading at least three days a week is a good place to begin. If your child wants more time, then allow that to happen. If your child becomes frustrated, and has difficulty focusing for that amount of time, shorten the time, and consider a shorter text or a lower reading level. Establish a cozy and nurturing environment when reading. A bed time snuggle or a mid-afternoon read on the porch swing are some ideas. Involve your child in planning your reading sessions, and enjoy your time together as you get ready for school and get ready to read.

    Activities like these are important for children with learning disabilities because they involve reading in a low-stress, enjoyable situation. Using these strategies regularly with your child will build skills and encourage them to see reading as a rewarding activity. It is important to remember that struggling readers face failure almost every day in school when they are faced with reading tasks. Naturally, they may become reluctant to read in their own free time and may even develop a fear of reading. Keeping reading activities brief, fun, and interesting can help you overcome some of your child's reluctance.

    Is your child still reluctant to read? If so, try these tested and effective strategies.

    Choose reading material that is interesting to your child, covering subjects he enjoys such as favorite hobbies, sports, or other activities.
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