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Teach Children Reading - Reading Development in Children

For a child (or any person) to learn to read - a rather complicated process of decoding and connecting printed symbols into sounds - the child learner must first gain an appreciation of the fact that most of the words in the spoken English language can be segmented and broken down into smaller units of sound, and these segmented units of sound can then be combined (blended) together to form the words we speak. The child must also learn of the fact that the phonemes (smallest units of sound) are represented by printed forms - the alphabet. This knowledge of segmenting and blending, and the learned ability to work with the phonemes is known as phonemic awareness, and it is through the process of developing phonemic awareness and learning systematic phonics that a young child can develop into a fast and fluent reader.

Developing phonemic awareness, learning letter sound relations, and the application of the aforementioned to the learning of phonics in reading and spelling are critical skills for reading development in children. Teaching children reading is much more than simply helping them learn how to "sound out" and "decode" words - it should also focus on helping the child develop proficiency and fluency in reading, where the child eventually develops a superb automatic word recognition skill such that it will not require heavy amounts of cognitive attention, thus freeing up their mental capacities for the key aspect of reading comprehension.

The ultimate goal is to not only helping children learn to read, but to also understand what they are reading.

Inadequate Reading Development in Children

There is sufficient evidence to suggest a cause for concern in children's reading development. In an ongoing survey done by the NAEP (national assessment of educational progress), it found that 67% of all grade 4 students cannot read at a proficient level, and of those 67%, 34% can't even read at the most basic level. The importance of reading is crystal clear, yet the implications of being unable to read are far reaching. Children who fall behind in the development of their reading abilities will have difficulties catching up, and will also encounter difficulties of varying degrees in other academic endeavors as well.

Typically, children who enter school with limited prior language and print exposure are the most at risk for reading difficulties. A child's eventual reading acquisition is highly correlated with prior knowledge of the concepts of phonemic awareness, letter name and sound knowledge, vocabulary, and print awareness.

Teaching Children Reading - How Reading Helps Children

Given this backdrop from above, it should be clear that reading not only helps children, but it is a critical skill that must be master for the child to succeed in school. So what can you do to help a child learn to read? Below are some helpful tips:

  • Provide a literacy rich environment for your children
  • Read a loud to your child starting at an early age - you can begin reading to your children as soon as they're born.
  • Reading a loud to children is a proven method for helping with their language development and vocabulary growth
  • Encourage young children to learn the alphabet letters and their corresponding sounds
  • Help children develop print awareness
  • Teach your child to read using a reading program that provides ample phonemic awareness instructions along with systematic phonics

As parents and caregivers, we should all make an effort to engage our children in language skills and literacy development very early in life - we need to involve our kids in reading and learning; help children develop print awareness and understand the purpose and importance of reading; engage children in language play using stories and rhymes; and pursue an active program of teaching reading through the development of phonemic awareness and using systematic phonics.

We had taught all of our children to read before they turned 3 years old. By the time our daughter was 4 years old, she was reading at a grade 3 level. We spend on average 10 minutes each day working on reading lessons with our children, and we have also helped thousands of other parents teach their children to read using our Children Learning Reading program.

To learn more about our super simple and effective reading program, please click here to watch a short presentation.


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