Every parent wants to help their children learn to read and to foster a love of reading in their children. Unfortunately, teaching children to read is not always intuitive and despite the best of intentions, parents sometimes make mistakes. Knowing what the most commonly made mistakes can help you avoid making them.
Top mistakes parents make in teaching reading to children
- Asking too many questions when reading to your child or when your child reads: Children often experience this as an interrogation. A far better technique is to comment in a way that captures an important point and then see if your children comment. If they don’t, continue by adding to your comment and having child then complete your incomplete thought. This technique is more productive, more relaxed and gets out more language from child — it’s a win-win situation!
- Repeatedly asking your child to “sound it out”:Kids hate this and lots of words cannot be sounded out. (Try sounding out “SOUND”.) Consequently, this approach is not helpful and it causes kids lots of grief. It’s far better to tell them the word and have them say it. Then, re-start the reading of the sentence from the beginning.Another approach is to give your child a speaker speller where your child can type in the word and hear how it is pronounced.
- Having fights about spelling homework: Try to give your child more help to avoid these fights. For example, if your child has to write sentences with certain spelling words (which is a very common task), you should start the sentence – including the spelling word — and then have your child complete it and then write the sentence. For example if the spelling word is “house” you could say…“The lady could not find the house because it was ….”
or, if your child’s language skills are not as advanced you could choose a simpler sentence, such as “the house was on a ….”
- Reading alternate lines when reading a book together: If you read one line of a book to your child and then having your child read the next line, stop. This approach doesn’t allow a child to do sustained reading and sustained reading is the key to effective reading. It’s far better for a parent to read a full page (while you and your child are both looking at the page) and then have your child read the same page. If your child’s reading skills aren’t yet strong enough to do this, practice this method at the paragraph level.
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