The recommended age range for a middle-grade novel is not usually apparent on the book itself. You can find it on a publisher’s site (sometimes!) or in a reputable review, but keep in mind that your child may — or may not — be ready for a book with some content that skews older. If your child brings home a book you object to, you will have to decide where you stand on censoring your child’s reading choices. But keep in mind that with books — as opposed to movies or TV shows — children can easily tune out or skip over material they’re not emotionally ready for.
I am fully confident she will learn to read when she learns to read, but as a parent, I sometimes wonder if I should be trying to speed up the process. I’ve followed the advice of friends and purchased BOB Books for beginning readers, and I often prompt her to sound words out. I can tell that she almost gets it, but I can also tell that I’m not much help. So when Daniel T. Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and the author of Raising Kids Who Read, told me that parents don’t need to worry about teaching young kids the mechanics of reading—and in fact, he warns against doing so—I felt free.

My husband is kind of a helicopter dad since he’s the stay-at-home parent while I work a high-stress job. I didn’t take his concerns over our son’s reading issues seriously, because I thought he’d simply been reading too many parenting blogs. Now, I wish I hadn’t been so dismissive. My husband took the initiative and got Cooper Reading Head Start, and I’m writing this testimony as a mea culpa, to let everyone know that sometimes, when your spouse spends more time with your child than you do, they ultimately see things that you don’t. So glad Cooper is reading better and feeling more confident!
A language is made up mostly of common words. These are words like and, as, at, the, etc. The 100 most common words appear in English literature (like books, newspapers, blogs, etc) more than 50% of the time. This means that, if your child can read these 100 words, then they are able to read half of everything that is written in English; and it doesn’t matter if it is a beginner children’s book, the Bible or a medical textbook.

But for information to zap from the visual area to the auditory area and finally to the angular gyrus, the connection between these three  -- a special circuit that develops only with time and practice  -- must be fully functional, says Reid Lyon, Ph.D., chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Eventually, as a child grows older and develops both his vocabulary and his letter-recognition skills, information travels that circuit almost instantaneously, and reading becomes second nature.

Hi :) First of all, that’s a bunch of useful tips you posted here Jenae! I have a lovely six-year-old daughter and I’ve been trying to start teaching her how to read for a few months now. I went through a lot of parenting forums and tried so many things, but what seems to work for her is simply playing educational games on our iPad ;) She’s got loads of them but the one she likes the most is called ‘Flincky Mouse’ and I’m even happier since we’re using Polish at home (my husband is British, but I’m from Poland) and the app comes in Polish as well. We’re also trying to read to her as much as possible and I hope she’ll appreciate it in the future! Anyway, thanks so much for the article and see you around.
Dear Anna, thank you so much for always sharing amazing works with us, you can’t believe if I tell you I spend much time reading your notes and ideas every day, today I was reading it and suddenly found out that I am on net for about 4 hours, wow your job is amazing, I really love teaching and great ideas and fun which you show us make reading very interesting, God bless you and your family, I wish all your dreams come true, amen. My lil kids will pray for you because you make them happy I will tell them about you all the time.
Hi Trinity M. Very nice hub about the importance of reading. I agree that children can memorize words, but I also think that they can learn phonics really early as well. I wrote a hub about a website called Starfall that uses phonics as early as infants teaching recognizing letters then getting into sounding out words. My 6 year old was reading words and simple sentences at 3, reading books at 4, and by kindergarten was reading chapter books. The website is amazing.
I didn't make him repeat stuff as much as the book said, unless he was having trouble with a particular word. I let him set the learning pace so that he didn't get bored or overly frustrated. Only made it to lesson 70-something where the lessons start to repeat but without the special writing to help you pronounce the words. But he is reading books himself no ...more

She might be too young to understand what's being read to her, but she makes profound connections that will last a lifetime: reading is love, reading is security, and reading feels good. To teach a child how to read, parents should remember these 3 simple mantras: 1) Start with the heart. 2) When you're out and about, sound it out and 3) Comprehension is the key that turns sounding out into reading.
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Thank you for your response and suggestions. There are times that we both feel frustrated and lost. I’m glad that kinder teacher isn’t at his school any longer else whole class will have the same issues. I failed to mention that there are 4 other children in his class that can’t read either and they had the same kinder teacher. I will read your book and being to implement the suggestions from your book and email. Thanks again.


When your four-year-old knows the alphabet and shows an interest in language, he might be ready to read. You can teach this essential life skill at home, without expensive curriculum or a degree in early childhood education. You have already taught your child many life skills, such as dressing and using the toilet. Teaching your child to read simply takes time, patience and an awareness of your child's readiness.

He says that parents can help kids read by taking advantage of situations where reading has some utility. “In our house, for a brief period of time, my youngest just thought it was hilarious fun when we’d ask her to clean her room but would do so by writing down on a slip of paper each task. ‘Put away all your toys.’ She would read the slip of paper, then go off and do it, and then come back for another slip of paper.” (UM, brilliant.)


It seems gimmicky, but I highly recommend this book! I have two very good readers after having worked through this book. This was recommended to me by several homeschooling moms that I know, all of which have good readers. It must be understood, though, that this is not a grammar book. This is simply teaching a child to read the words in front of him. It uses mainly phonics, but also incorporates memorization of “funny words”. 

The problem I have with them is they are great for the later parts of the program, but not well suited to the first stages. Yes, they are illustrated nicely, but all the text is bunched up on one page. This doesn't make them easy for early readers to follow. And the text starts in a pretty complex way, meaning they are only really good for children that have learned all their phonic sounds already.
A very good and informative book for homeschoolers. Actually, one doesn't have to be a homeschooler to appreciate the information, ideas, suggestions, recommendations listed there and brought to you in a nice conversational fashion.I did a lot of highlighting and felt inspired to go and look up the recommended curricula and purchase the math manipulatives and start teaching my child right then and there :). Very well written and helpful.
My tip is to incorporate learning into play instead of trying to get him to sit at the table. If you are teaching letter sounds, for example, make a game out of it. Write them on the driveway and have him jump to them. Write the letters on paper plates, tape them to the wall, and have him throw a ball on the letter you call, etc. If he is learning to read, put the letters on connecting blocks and show him how when you connect the blocks you can make a word. You can easily take math outdoors in a variety of ways, and there are many ways to make math activities fun without using worksheets.
I agree this is an awesome price, and in general I admire This Reading Mama a lot! I wish I knew about her curriculum 3 years ago when I taught my daughter to read starting before she was even 3. I used http://progressivephonics.com/. It’s also free, and comes with the same hassle of downloading and printing all the material. It was totally worth it though as Ms Smarty Pants was reading fluently at 3.5. So, yes, I am very much with you – you CAN teach your preschooler to read.

You don’t need a Ph.D. to raise a happy, healthy, smart child. Parents have been doing it for thousands of years. Mothers and fathers successfully teach their kids to eat with a spoon, use a potty, keep their fingers out of their noses, and say “please.” These things can be taught pleasantly, or they can be made into a painful chore. Being unpleasant (e.g. yelling, punishing, pressuring) doesn’t work, and it can be frustrating for everyone. This notion applies to teaching literacy, too. If you show your 18-month-old a book and she shows no interest, then put it away and come back to it later. If your child tries to write her name and ends up with a backwards “D,” no problem. No pressure. No hassle. You should enjoy the journey, and so should your child.
Parents have 3 mantras to remember when teaching their children how to read: 1) Start with the heart. 2) When you're out and about, sound it out and 3) Comprehension is the key that turns sounding out into reading. By keeping these in mind, parents have what they need to turn children into proficient readers who love books and will turn to them for both pleasure and knowledge.
A child who's really reading does more than just sound out a word like "cat." He must also be able to know whether a "cat" is a person, place, or thing; to comprehend the grammar in each sentence (Does the cat wear the hat or does the hat wear the cat?); to dramatize and contextualize the story in his head (cats don't normally talk and wear hats, do they?); and to empathize with the story's characters and understand the ramifications of their actions (that mom is sure going to be mad when she finds the mess made by that silly cat).

Parents and teachers are often overly impressed with children who have decoding skills, incorrectly labeling them as “readers.” But, of course, reading involves much more than merely sounding out words on a page; it also includes comprehension, which is more complex and harder to teach. To comprehend successfully, children must not only have solid decoding skills, they must read fluently and find meaning in the printed text. Once again, when it comes to teaching comprehension, parents are best suited to the task.
As children decode words with more frequency, they will become more proficient at automatically identifying that word.  Sometimes this task is tedious, though, so it’s important to find creative ways to make it fun.  When I taught first grade, I used to buy little finger puppets that my students could use to point to the letters as they were decoding.  This was a huge hit and made this process so much fun!
When children flow right through easy readers, they may start to talk about chapter books. If not, introduce the idea yourself — they’re probably ready, or will be soon. It’s an exciting moment! Something about the feat of working through a bunch of chapters makes a young elementary school student feel gloriously grown up. Early chapter books are mostly published in series, because new readers who finish a book frequently want more time with the characters.

Incorporate writing in with the reading. Reading is a necessary precursor to writing, but as your child develops reading skills have them practice their writing in conjunction. Children learn to read faster and easier if they learn to write at the same time. The motor memory of the letters, listening to their sounds and seeing them in writing will reinforce new learning. So, teach your child to write letters and words.
Is your child halfway through first grade and still unable to read? Is your preschooler bored with coloring and ready for reading? Do you want to help your child read, but are afraid you'll do something wrong? RAs DISTARreg; is the most successful beginning reading program available to schools across the country. Research has proven that children taught by the DISTARreg; method outperform their peers who receive instruction from other programs. Now for the first time, this program has been adapted for parent and child to use at home. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a complete, step-by-step program that shows parents simply and clearly how to teach their children to read. Twenty minutes a day is all you need, and within 100 teaching days your child will be reading on a solid second-grade reading level. It's a sensible, easy-to-follow, and enjoyable way to help your child gain the essential skills of reading. Everything you need is here -- no paste, no scissors, no flash cards, no complicated directions -- just you and your child learning together. One hundred lessons, fully illustrated and color-coded for clarity, give your child the basic and more advanced skills needed to become a good reader.Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons will bring you and your child closer together, while giving your child the reading skills needed now, for a better chance at tomorrow.
When your child is able to read books, you can fine tune their reading more easily. You can also spend more time on the basics, ensuring that they read better than even children who are older than them. This will ensure that when they get to school (if you’re not home schooling), they will be fully prepared and can have more fun and be more relaxed in their classes; and when learning is fun it is more easily retained.

The Voyager programs are most often used by reading specialists in addition to the general education reading program. Voyager Passport is a small-group program for grades K–5. It includes letter-sound understanding, sight words and vocabulary. Voyager Passport Reading Journeys is for teens who struggle with reading. The program is taught in a group using science and social studies topics. There is also a Voyager Universal Literacy System. This is a K–3 curriculum that includes a program for struggling readers.
Introduce your own taste. You’ve been reading a long time, and you have a sense of what you like in grown-up books. As a parent, you have the chance to rediscover your taste in children’s books. Pull out your old favorites, and find what’s new that catches your eye when you’re in bookstores, libraries or friends’ homes. The good news is that the best authors and illustrators of children’s books aim to please their grown-up audience, too. Try it: Tweak the text when you’re reading out loud. Many classic children’s books are now considered sexist, racist, outdated and, in certain ways, downright awful. Feel free to make them better.
They are made by talented authors, illustrators and author/Illustrators. Some of the very best picture books are by author/illustrators like Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, Leo Lionni, Jerry Pinkney, Lois Ehlert and Taro Gomi. These masters of the form can make a picture book seem like a whole world. But books written and illustrated by separate people can be just as amazing, combining a word-centric talent with a highly visual one — and you’ll often find well-known author/illustrators performing just one of those roles. Maurice Sendak and Ruth Krauss collaborated on the classic “A Hole Is to Dig,” for example. More recently, Adam Rex and Christian Robinson split duties on the charming “School’s First Day of School.” Tip: Get to know the names of well-regarded picture book authors, illustrators and author/illustrators.
When children classify a book into a certain genre, they have to first summarize the book in their head and recall details.  Then they have to use that information to decide which type of genre that particular books fits into.  Finally, your child will be recalling details from other books in the same genre, making connections between the two.  This simple activity that might take 5-10 seconds of your time after reading a book but it certainly packs a punch of thought and processing in that young brain!
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