Teaching Reading at Home

Reading instruction does not have to take place solely at school, and for teaching to only be done by teachers. Teachers follow curricula that are dictated by schools and base their lesson plans on the assumption that students of a certain level are typically developing

Since the covid-19 pandemic, a lot of families have shifted to homeschooling. Those who have been homeschooling before the pandemic might want to consider these suggestions. This article provides an opportunity for parents to give differentiated instruction, especially if their child needs it. 

In this article, we identify stages of reading development and recommend activities and materials that adults can do at home with their children. When teaching children, keep in mind the two components of reading: oral language and decoding. Oral language refers to the vocabulary words, while decoding refers to the relationship between letters and sounds. When designing activities, make sure that you include both components. 

The Stages

1.      Preschool to Early Kindergarten

At this age, children cannot read yet, and learning is more visual for them. Children will be able to recognize letters and words, but they cannot decode them just yet. Adults should support the child’s learning so that the child can play, recognize all letters of the alphabet, associate letter sounds to written letters, and phonological awareness.

Teaching tip: prioritize teaching children how to associate the letters with sounds. Teach children through play so that they can enjoy the process. Hopefully, they can see learning as something fun and good to look forward to.

2.      Kindergarten to Early First Grade

Kids learn about words at this stage. They may have memorized words from the rhymes and books that you have been reading to them. They start out focusing on the first and last letters of words. At this stage, they should learn how to sound out the letter sounds for simple words (e.g., yes, no). This process will be quicker if they were able to master the alphabet and the corresponding letter sounds before they get to this stage. Children at this age need explicit instruction. Parents need to be patient as they read storybooks slowly and sound out each letter. It might seem tedious and boring, but this effort will pay off as the child grows up and gets better at reading.

Teaching tip: make games that include sounding out each letter in a word. You can use flashcards. It is best to keep reading time short and focused. Try having several ten-minute sessions spread out throughout the day.

3.      First to Second Grade

Once the child masters connecting letters to their corresponding sound, reading will become easier for them. They might be able to sound out letters much faster. Children will be able to start on basic spelling. At this stage, children might be able to carry simple conversations, and comprehension increases.

Teaching tip: Teach children how to read with expression. Build on the child’s habit of reading. Introduce other types of books that you think they would like. Let them practice writing the alphabet.

Final Thoughts

The suggestions above provide short descriptions of the developmental milestone that the child has to achieve at each stage. Please keep in mind that these are just approximations. We aim to provide a starting point for your lesson planning—do not use this as a basis to diagnose learning delays or disorders. Some children might be a little behind or advanced, so make sure to plan activities that consider those factors. The beauty of teaching reading at home is that you can be more hands-on with your child. You can plan activities so that it feels more like a bonding experience rather than some rudimentary instruction time.

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