As a homeschooling parent, the pressure to teach your kid to read is big. And to me it seemed like an enormous undertaking before I got going. A bit of a disclaimer here: only one of my twins can read confidently as I’m writing this. But I definitely feel much more equipped and confident now. So do you want to hear my secret? Well, I called in the big guns.
1. Teach your Kid to Read by Nurturing a Love for Books
We have a lot of books in our house. And the kids often get books as gifts. And apart from that, we still read a story together most nights because it’s such a special way to bond and to wind down after the day. I think their exposure to many lovely books (aren’t kids’ books amazing nowadays?!) and the closeness of communal reading, has done a lot to nurture their love for reading.
2. Teach your Kid to Read by Being Patient
I found that reading came quite suddenly. It took quite a while to get to that point with Dominic, but once the fire was sparked it grew into an inferno. He’s not reading Kafka, but he tries to read everything he can. And I can see he enjoys the power it gives him. It’s easy to try and force the issue. Because we often feel the pressure as homeschooling parents for our kids to reach milestones at the ‘correct’ time. But a gentle approach definitely worked better for us. This is one of the most important facts that I’ve learnt about homeschooling so far.
3. Teach your Kid to Read by Going at their Pace
As I mentioned above, only one of my kids can read now. But going at their pace is vital to ensure that reading remains a positive and enjoyable experience. The beginning of spelling out words can be tedious and you’ll have to grit your teeth. But just think of the joy and accomplishment your child feels from having achieved something so exciting. A whole new world opens up to them.
4. Teach your Kid to Read by Taking them to the Library
You’ll never be able to keep up with all the new books. If your kids are like mine, they can quickly memorize books. So you’re not really sure if they are reading or reciting the book. So your library is going to be your best friend. I let the kids choose what they want, even if the books are higher than their level. Once again, this is an important step in building independence. And children, like adults, tend to be more motivated to learn if they are interested in something.
5. Teach your Kid to Read with Technology
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with teaching your kid to read with something like Reading Eggs. The programme has a lot of research behind it. It is constantly being updated and improved. And it’s fun and engaging. Not to mention that fact that it will work at your child’s pace. As long as you reinforce what your child learns with readalouds and other positive reading experiences, then there is no need to feel bad about letting the experts teach your child! My children adore this programme. And they still love reading books. It’s a win win situation in my mind!