Teaching Your Child to Read With Online Resources
Reading is an absolutely critical skill that all children are supposed to learn at the very beginning of their education—in early elementary school. However, some schools fail certain children—and some can get all the way through high school without learning to read.
Children who do not learn to read early can develop surprisingly clever coping skills—but not being able to read will continue to hold them back throughout life.
So if you’ve realized your child can’t read long after his or her peers are reading, what do you do? Teaching a child to read isn’t easy. However, there are several online resources that can help you do it.
Here are the steps to take—and a few online resources that will make your job easier.
First: Read together
Teaching a child to read is not easy—especially if your child has been falling through the cracks at school. However, it is possible.
Second: Teach phonics
There are several online resources that teach phonics—the study of sounds and how they connect to letters and words, an essential building block in learning to read. One is Starfall, which teaches phonics skills in a list of clear steps, starting from the ABC’s and moving to stories and reading exercises of varying complexity. There’s also ABC Fast Phonics and Fonics.org. Or check out the School Time Phonics Program online course.
Third: Play word games
The PBS Kids website offers word games that enhance kids’ understanding of key reading skills—including the dynamics of beginning and ending consonants and rhyming. ABCYa.com and FunBrain.com also provide free word and reading games that help kids build these skills. These sites are designed both for kids to go in and play on their own, and for parents and teachers to design lessons for their kids.
Fourth: Guided reading
Check out Literactive for a wide variety of reading material for kids of all ages and reading levels. Stay with your child through these exercises, and make sure he or she understands the reading material. You should also monitor progress and help your child whenever there’s a snag in understanding.
Fifth: Don’t forget about offline resources
Online resources are great, but there are also plenty of offline resources that can help your child develop stronger reading skills. In particular, be sure your child has a card at your local library. Children’s librarians are adept at finding out what children like to read—and picking out books that are both age- and level-appropriate and cater to the child’s interests. Often, generating a love of reading is merely a matter of finding out what the child likes to read—rather than forcing kids to read the books that are used most often at school.
Teaching a child to read is not easy—especially if your child has been falling through the cracks at school. However, it is possible. There are plenty of online resources that will help you get started. In addition, be sure to use all the offline resources available—including your community library and your child’s school librarian—to be sure your child gets the reading help he or she needs. In some cases, parents and guardians have to be advocates for their children within the school system to make sure they get the help they need—but the effort will be felt throughout the child’s life.
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