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Learning to Read - Teaching Your Child At Home

It's never too early to begin teaching your child how to read. This is one of the more important and rewarding gifts you can give to your child. By encouraging children to read, you will open the doors to a whole world of information and knowledge.

Children first learn to love reading by having stories read to them aloud. They soon want to learn how to read them selves, and you can encourage this by pointing out the pictures in the books and calling them by their names. You will soon find that your child loves to join in. You can also follow each word with your finger, this way your child will start to recognize the letters of the alphabet and what each letter sounds like.

Why read to my child?
The more you talk to your child, the better it is for their communication development. Reading to your child helps build their vocabulary and imagination. It also develops your child's self-confidence, and leads to success in school. A child's language skills are related to the words they hear every day, so children whose parents talk to them every day develop their communication skills quicker than others. Children really enjoy story time as "quality time" with their parents focusing on them.

How do I teach my child to read?
Learning the alphabet forms the basics of your child's reading, writing and language skills. Children learn to read by relating a sound to a letter. Pre-kindergarten children can learn the names, shapes and sounds of each letter at home. If you have more than one child, it is important to spend some time reading to each child individually and at their own level.

You can teach your child the alphabet using books, flash cards and toys. Make reading fun by teaching your child to draw each letter. Also get your child to say the names and sounds of each letter. Remember though, it is more important to teach your child to enjoy reading at an early age, rather than focusing on learning phonics.

What type of books should I read?
It is important that your child enjoys reading, so be patient and encourage them to interact. Very young babies learn the rhythm of language by listening to their parents reading aloud, so at this stage you can ready any of your own books, magazines or Newspapers. As your child grows you can start reading picture books to them. If some days your child seems to be distracted and loses interested, take a break and next time try another story.

Many children enjoy hearing the same stories over and over again. Don't get frustrated with repetition, it is great your child is showing an interest and something in this story is obliviously appealing to your child's imagination. Once your child has learned some of the basics of the alphabet you can continue to read books aloud that are beyond your child's reading level, this encourages your child to learn further.

How to quickly print these notes and guidelines:
Use your mouse to highlight all of  text that you want to print out.  Then copy/paste that text into a text-only editor on your computer. For example, Notepad, a common text editor included with all versions of Microsoft Windows, and found in Start, All Programs, Accessories. Then click on "File" in the top left corner of the Notepad document, and click on "Print".