Nothing impacts a child’s life more than the ability to read. According to UNICEF, the statistics are frightening, “Nearly a billion people will enter the 21st century unable to read a book ….” As your child’s first teacher, you are well positioned to give your child the early reading skills he or she needs to succeed in life.

This is how I taught my child to read. While I am no expert and am not a teacher, I successfully taught my child to read so that by the time he started preschool, he was eager, excited and confident in his ability to read. It didn’t cost a lot of money but the investment of time has yielded great rewards.

  1. Begin reading to your child as early as possible. I started the day we came home from the hospital.
  2. Read everything, all the time. I read books, magazines and newspapers. Nothing was off limits. I read labels and traffic signs, ads on buses and street signs. Wherever there were words to be read I read them out loud.  Don’t forget nursery rhymes and other rhyming poems too. Children will love the rhythm of your voice and the actions that you do as you recite them.
  3. Use music. Children love music. Don’t be afraid to sing songs even if you don’t have the greatest voice, your child will love the sound of your voice. If you sing the Alphabet Song often enough, in a very short while, your little one will be singing along. Don’t be alarmed if they sing the wrong letters at first, just keep singing. I even sang it at bedtime very quietly as a lullaby. It worked wonders. You might also want to invest in a CD with preschool songs for when you run out of ideas or simply Google it and see what you can download for free.
  4. Visit your local library for a variety of alphabet stories. My son’s favorite was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. Check your local Goodwill for cheap books that you can add to your collection.
  5. Use manipulatives such as alphabet puzzles to build literacy skills. This will help your child get a feel for the letters and makes the learning to read experience more meaningful. Look for the durable wood ones that can withstand hours of play and that you can pass on to a friend or your next little one.

As a stay at home mom, it was easy to implement these tips in my everyday routine. For working mothers or moms with more than one little one, it may be a bit trickier. Just do what you can because every little bit counts. Even if your child doesn’t respond to some or any of these methods; find your own special way to connect with your child. Remember that each child is different and each child learns differently. Time and patience are key.