Teach Your Child to Read

I’m taking a partial maternity leave from this blog as we we recently welcomed a sweet baby boy into our home. Today I am happy to be sharing a guest post from my awesome sister-in-law Becky.

One of the most satisfying things I have done as a mother is to teach my children to read. While many mothering tasks are quickly undone (how many times did I sweep the floor today?!) I see reading as something that will last and bring unmeasurable joy to my children. Here are five simple things I have done to teach my children to love reading.

1) Find a good book to help. One of my sisters suggested Teach Your Child to Read as a great book. I have used this book with all my children so far and love the simplicity of the lessons. It breaks down the learning process so that it becomes almost embarrassingly easy. There are many different ways to learn to read, but each theory usually requires a time commitment for the parent teaching the child to read. I try to make our reading lessons a fun time that I spend one on one with the child.
2) Make or buy some “high frequency word” flashcards. Most of my children didn’t become fluent readers until they had mastered many of the high frequency words. It seems like there is a point when reading switches from sounding out words to just reading. For my children, the reading point was usually very close to when they learned many of the high frequency words.

3) Put your children to bed ½ hour early. Putting children in bed early is my tricky way of teaching them to love reading. The children do not know they have an early bedtime- but once in bed they are allowed to read for an extra ½ hour or so. What child would turn down a chance to stay up after bedtime?!
4) Fill your house with good books and magazines. I have found that it is useful to have a good supply of books in your home so that children always have something to read. I love to collect books and have many in my home. However, many people may not care to lug around several hundred books or have space constraints. A visit to the public library is a lovely way to fill your home with books without storage or other problems.

5) Read to your children.
Although a bit overused, I do love this poem:

The Reading Mother
Strickland Gillilan

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath.
I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.
I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be —
I had a Mother who read to me.

Becky is the mother of six “bookend children” (one boy, four girls, one boy). She enjoys living in the shadow of Timpanogos Mountain but still gets homesick for the Arizona desert. When she is not doing damage control, Becky enjoys books, gardening, and running. She can be found (more not than often) at Consider the Lilies.
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4 thoughts to “Teach Your Child to Read”

  1. love a good post on teaching kiddos to read!

    congratulations on the new bambino–best wishes, nuture mama!


  2. I love your points!! This is something I need to make a better effort at doing.

    …and another thing (that I know Becky is good at!) be a reader yourself. 🙂

  3. I can say that teaching my kids to love reading is something I have succeed at. My kids are real nerds and I couldn't be prouder. Teaching them to love eating healthy- now that is another story.
    In addition to your great points I would add some good library or book store time. I have treated going to these places like it was better than the park and my kids have followed suite.
    Thanks for the great reminders of the importance of reading with kids.

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