When a Child Starts to Read

What an exciting time! Your child is starting to read!

Who has good advice?

Reading Rockets has information and articles.
My website: Parent and Child Reading Assistance has advice on teaching reading and some helpful blog posts. Reading Help Blog



Reading Books More Than Once is Good for Early Readers?

Each time a familiar book is read it becomes easier for a child to combine reading skills. Rereading the same books is a lot like doing the same sports drill over and over.

Words that were difficult the first few times a book was read become easier each time. The process of sounding out becomes easier and words are stored in the reader's memory for future reading.

My own children had boxes of favorite books for rereading. You can help your child by having books your child likes available for rereading and encouraging your child to read everyday.

Some of the best places to find books are garage sales and used stores.

The trick to getting children to read books more that once is to have them choose their favorite books. Many books should be made available. If a child doesn't love a book, it won't be one they will want to read again.



Improve Reading Skills by Having Kids Listen to Stories

Reading is more than reading words correctly. I have seen many readers be able to read words, but not make sense of what is read. I was one of those readers when I was young. I didn't enjoy reading as a child or teenager. I was in my twenties before reading started to make sense for me and become enjoyable.

You can increase a child's ability to attach meaning to reading by providing many opportunities to hear stories and let a child get involved in the stories. Reading a book to a child yourself is probably the best since vocabulary and questions can be addressed immediately. If you'd like ideas to improve comprehension while reading with a child, you can check out this post.

Audio books are great for getting more stories and language to your kids. Listening to an audio book together on a road trip is a way to have a story to discuss and have a shared experience. Recently my family and I listened to My Brother Sam is Dead on a road trip. It did have a sad and graphic ending. My children are older, so they were able to handle it. I didn't plan the timing, but the story ended exactly when we pulled into the garage. It is a memory we all share, and a story we won't forget.


Parents Who Read Aloud to Their Children Set Them Up for Reading Success!

You can make a difference in this world by spreading this message and encouraging parents to read aloud to their children from birth.

My Parent and Child Reading Assistance business recently became a partner with Read Aloud 15 MINUTES. Here's a graphic Read Aloud 15 MINUTES produced.

I've come across a number of organizations that promote reading aloud. There are many ways you can help. You can support an organization financially or by spreading information through social media. You can make personal connections with parents you know. Share books or have encouraging conversations.

When my niece had a baby, the first thing I did was send her board books for babies and some books that would interest a toddler. I found most of them at a used store. Her parents and grandma read to her often. She is three years old now and loves when someone reads to her.



What Reading Skills Do Children Need?

A reader combines four reading skills.



A reader with good reading comprehension has a purpose for reading, monitors for understanding while reading, and checks for understanding after reading.

When you read with a child you can talk about thinking you do while reading. I personally struggled with this until I was twenty-five years old. I didn't naturally think before, during, or after reading. I read the words on the page and thought that was enough. I did not enjoy reading or do well in school until by some miracle I figured out how to think while reading in college.


Vocabulary knowledge is an important part of reading. It is built through experiences, conversations, and reading. New vocabulary words can be learned while reading by using word parts, attending to context clues, or using a dictionary.

Readers need to understand most of the words being read to understand their reading.


A reader with strong fluency skills quickly recognizes words, reads like a person speaks, and focuses on meaning.

It is normal for an early reader to sound choppy and take longer to read. It takes patience to listen to a beginning reader. Fluency comes with practice and combining reading skills. Telling a reader to read faster will not make a reader fluent.

Improve fluency by making sure sounding out has been taught and is happening. Then have plenty of books at your child's reading level that are enjoyable to read. Encourage your child to read out loud. I like to tell a child that their is a movie playing in my head when I listen to your reading. The movie gets fuzzy when something is read correctly. I ask them to please rewind the movie and play it again. If small errors are made and I can still understand the story, I don't stop a reader. Encourage your child to have a movie and make sure to get them to reread a sentence when the meaning gets fuzzy.


Decoding involves reading words by using sounds, phonics, and knowledge of phonics rules and exceptions.

Decoding words takes a lot of effort and time in the beginning stages of reading. Smooth reading will not happen until decoding becomes automatic. It takes time and practice for a child to decode words quickly. Your child will stumble over words when learning to decode. Think of the beginning stages of reading as a child learning to walk.

Teach Letter Sounds and Letter Combinations

After a child knows the alphabet and letter sounds, there are still a few letter combinations you can teach. I suggest you start by teaching a few letter combinations at a time. These letter combinations can be taught while you read books to your child. Stop and point out a few letters and letter combinations. Break the word apart by individual sounds with your voice.

You can check out Reading Bear. Reading Bear is a free online program that gives practice with letter sounds and letter combinations.



Sounding Out Words

When a child is first learning to read, it is important to give a little help and know a little about sounding out words yourself.  Reading Horizons has a free phonics course for parents.

Reading Bear is a free site that helps teach children to sound out words.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you know the story of how my daughter started reading by memorizing words and using picture clues. She didn't learn to sound out words until the middle of first grade and was falling behind her twin brother. Here's a link to her story and the story of how my other two children learned to read.

Should we be teaching children sight words?
There are many people who promote learning words by sight. Eventually words are known by sight. Often times when an early reader memorizes a few words it helps them read some simple books and increases confidence. I hope by sharing my story I can help a few children learn to sound out words and then commit words to memory. Here's a great article from The Reading Genie that helps explain the process of learning to read words and becoming a fluent reader.

Feel free to share any learning to read stories in a comment.