Teaching Reading Skills at Home With Simple Methods

A boy reads in a library.
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Teaching your child reading skills at home is easy with simple strategies such as audiobooks, library trips, and flashcards. Even if you have never taught literacy before, you can use these strategies to help your child improve how she reads.

Visit Your Library

Most libraries offer organized reading programs during school breaks for students based on their school levels.

Librarians are usually happy to help your child and can help find ways to involve all levels of readers within an age group.

Use Books and Audiobooks

Check out works in both their book forms and audiobooks. Using both, the student sees and hears words and phrases together, a good way to reinforce sight word recognition.

You can also have your child read a book and then check out the video version of it. Then discuss the similarities and differences between the two.

Reading Vocabulary and Spelling Skills

As your child reads books, make a list of words that were new or difficult. Make flashcards of these words, and look them up in the dictionary. Take turns showing the cards and guessing the words and meanings. As your child learns each word, take it out of the pile. Review the words occasionally until your child feels comfortable with them.

Use the same deck to have your child learn the spelling of each word. Practice the spelling. When your child feels ready, have him write the words on paper. Encourage your child to correct mistakes by using positive reinforcement.

Read the Old Fashioned Way

This is one of the best ways to encourage reading and help your child learn to enjoy reading. Take turns reading passages, or allow your child to follow along as you read.

Most important, remember to keep your reading activities at home stress-free. Use mistakes as teachable moments. If your child gets tired of reading, take turns or take a break. For most elementary-aged students with learning disabilities, about 15 to 20 minutes of reading at least three days a week is a good place to begin. If your child wants more time, then allow that to happen.

If your child becomes frustrated and has difficulty focusing for that amount of time, shorten the time, and consider a shorter text or a lower reading level.

Establish a cozy and nurturing environment when reading. A bedtime snuggle or a mid-afternoon read on the porch swing may be helpful. Involve your child in planning your reading sessions, and enjoy your time together as you get ready for school and get ready to read.

Wrapping Up

The above activities are important for children with learning disabilities because they involve reading in a low-stress, enjoyable situation. Using these strategies regularly with your child will build skills and encourage her to see reading as a rewarding activity.

It is important to remember that struggling readers face failure almost every day in school when they are faced with reading tasks. Naturally, they may become reluctant to read in their own free time and may even develop a fear of reading. Keeping reading activities brief, fun and interesting can help you counter your child's reluctance.

Is your child still reluctant to read? If so, try these tested and effective strategies.

Choose reading material that is interesting to your child, covering subjects he enjoys such as favorite hobbies or sports.

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