This is one of the great tragedies of the American school system. It is even more heartbreaking when you talk to scientists about how the human brain reads. Researchers estimate that somewhere between 2 and 5 percent of children, most of whom have developmental disorders or profound neurological problems, will never learn to read. The rest? If they are given what experts say is the right kind of instruction, they will learn to read, and most of them will be able to read well.

Even if your child is one of the lucky ones and is doing fine in reading, students who are poorly served by their primary schools end up being a drain on the public education system. Reading problems are the overwhelming reason why students are identified as having learning disabilities and assigned to special education, often an instructional ghetto of the worst kind.
Early Literacy Concepts activities Phonological Awareness activities Letter Knowledge activities Letter Sound Relationships activities Spelling activities High Frequency Words activities Word Meaning activities Word Structure activities Reading Fiction activities Reading Non-Fiction activities Writing Process activities Spacing activities Capitalization activities Punctuation activities Grammar activities
Parents of infants and toddlers lay the foundation for reading success long before there's a need for systematic instruction. While some gung-ho moms and dads get seduced by products that claim to promote early reading, they should resist the temptation to buy them. Introducing formal instruction too early may actually backfire—making youngsters see reading as a task that wins parental favor, not as a pleasurable activity unto itself. Studies show that youngsters who receive early instruction are less likely to read for enjoyment when they get older.
Encourage your child to sound out each word. If she is getting frustrated, show her how to blend the letter sounds together or explain the phonics rule that applies to that word. Unless the problem word is a sight word for which normal phonics rules do not apply, try not to simply tell her the word because this does not help her figure it out for herself next time.
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Tikatok StorySpark. From book behemoth Barnes & Noble, Tikatok StorySpark is aimed at your family’s pint-sized publisher. Kids write and illustrate their own books, using a catalog of art or their own photos or digital drawings for the backgrounds. When it’s ready, books are “published” under a chosen pen name and posted online at Tikatok.com. iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android; app is free, books are $3 each. 

Other activities that support the child's growing intelligence and curiosity are activities designed to apply previously learned knowledge. So if the child learned shapes before, now he can match and group objects of the same shape. If she learned colors, she should be able to do the same. Puzzles are another useful toy at this age, as they improve hand-eye coordination as well as develop problem-solving skills.

Between the ages of 2 and 3, reading becomes a crucial part of your child's healthy development. The baby is growing into a child and communicating a little more each day. He is beginning to express his personality, indicate his preferences and assert his will. In fact, during this period, your child will experience a dramatic increase in language abilities. Many children can comprehend up to 400 words by their 3rd birthday. They can also speak in simple sentences and begin using correct grammar. For this reason, children love having the same books read to them at this age. In fact they thrive on repetition, and use the experience to memorize their favourite phrases and expressions from the book. Supporting your child's expanding language skills through reading becomes even more important.
Could it just be possible that if babies learn to speak from listening to words? Can children learn to read by listening to letters? How successful your child becomes in life, all comes down to these first few years? Are you worried about your child delayed learning disability and completely skeptical? Instead of teaching your child to read the word as a whole what if we separated each letter. Here, Reading Head Start creates even more advanced theories on how to quickly teach any child to read. This system is for teaching any child to read at any age 3 more weeks passed by still only spending 15 minutes per night, only 3 nights per week using this system. This system to make the reading system available to every single parent who loves their child wanting nothing but the best head start they can give them, to being successful in both school and life.
Last year, I spent lots of time with our brand new granddaughter, Emily. I drowned her in language. Although “just a baby,” I talked — and sang — to her about everything. I talked about her eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and fingers. I told her all about her family — her mom, dad, and older brother. I talked to her about whatever she did (yawning, sleeping, eating, burping). I talked to her so much that her parents thought I was nuts; she couldn’t possibly understand me yet. But reading is a language activity, and if you want to learn language, you’d better hear it, and eventually, speak it. Too many moms and dads feel a bit dopey talking to a baby or young child, but studies have shown that exposing your child to a variety of words helps in her development of literacy skills.

Makaela is in grade two. She was reading below grade level expectations. That disheartening report told me Makaela needed reading help - now! That's when I found your program. We have recently completed Lesson 18 in Stage Two. She just got her March Progress Report and it states: "Makaela is reading at a beginning grade 2 level. Last week, we were told she would no longer be receiving reading intervention.

My child hated reading and used to fight me when it was time to do her reading assignments. I’m ashamed to say it took me awhile to realize she wasn’t being disobedient—she was frustrated by the fact she was struggling to read and simply too young to express it. I researched online and found Reading Head Start. I’m always skeptical about things on the internet, but I was at my wit’s end at not knowing how to help my child. I’m glad I took a chance. The program worked for us!


Reluctance to try something new. The early chapter book mega-series franchises also hog up valuable shelf space in libraries and bookstores, so make an effort to introduce your little fan to newer, lesser known series, many of which are more literary, nuanced reads, with better art and more interesting language. The books in some of these series are best read in order, but with many your child can jump in at any point.

@B. Leekley, thank you for your very insightful comment. I must say that did not intend to imply that once a child knows how to read there will be no more work to be done, what I simply meant in my article is that once a child knows HOW to read then he or she will have the most basic tool for learning. Thank you for your recommendation as well, I downloaded a pdf copy this weekend and am looking forward to reading it and implementing it into my son’s schooling. I really enjoyed your comments and am very grateful for your support.
Forever friends, complex plot. Remember Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins, Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown, Fern, Charlotte and Stuart Little? Chapter books are where your child meets characters who will be important friends — they will play big, ongoing roles in a reader’s life as he or she grows into a more independent, self-sufficient person. In these books, children also begin to follow longer, twistier stories, to enter into enchanting and breathtaking literary fantasy worlds with their own rules and logic, and to discover stories that will help them work through the many changes they are experiencing in their world and in themselves.
Yes, it certainly is a balance! No greater emphasis should be put on one area over the others (with the exception of reading comprehension). Sight words are typically extremely beneficial for early readers who get frustrated when words don’t follow the “rules”. This is the only area of reading where I feel like memorization is beneficial, in context with all the other reading strategies, of course.

Learning to read should be an enjoyable process in order to keep kids motivated to improve. Sometimes a child might be full of excitement and eagerness to learn at the beginning, but once they hit a wall can feel overwhelmed and give up easily. As a parent, it can feel impossible to pick up again and know where to fill in any gaps that may be causing frustration.


Hi, my daughter is 3 years old (turning 4 in 2 months) she also knows the letter’s names and sounds, and some sight words, and she reads a lot of simple words, but with words that are not very familiar for her, she will only say the sounds of the letters of the word, but can’t actually say the word and sound all the letters together :-( like she would see the word “glass” and would say the sounds of each letter separately not being able to say the word.. Should I just tell her the words so she can try and remember for next time, or should I wait until she gets it by herself?
The federal program Even Start is also a wonderful availability to families where children receive early childhood education while their parents participate in parenting, adult education (GED), parent and child interactive time, and PAT. Even Start is usually much more readily accessible to families than Head Start. Program information is available at famlit.org. I would encourage you to provide information on your website for Even Start as well.
If you’re looking for a book that is not your typical alphabet book, this one is for you. The author introduces each letter with an image that starts with that letter surrounded by a black frame. When you lift the frame, the image transforms into the letter. While no more complex than any other alphabet book, this one’s illustrations and interactive nature will surely delight your child.

I love this! I am a preschool teacher who has been stressing a little! My 4.5 year old son has been challenging me… he is clearly showing signs that he is ready to read and I have no idea where to start! You have no idea how happy I am to have come across your blog about reading… the fact that its not memorize ABC’s, memorize sounds, etc but rather comes from a more natural learning has made me so happy! I have come across so many teachers that are no longer worried about letting children learn through their interests and it has turned into a very formal rote learning which makes me cringe. So YAY!!! Thank you thank you thank you! Tomorrow my son and I have a game planned where he is going to think of a word, which we will sound and and decide what letters are in it… and I will write out words that he will try and sound out to read! We are both very excited!

Hi. I came across your page quite by accident as I was so frustrated with trying to get my son to read. He received absolutely no instruction in Kinder and now, in first grade, is terribly behind and I am at a loss as to how to help him. He will see a word, can sound it out, but if you turn the page, it becomes a totally new word. He doesn’t remember what he has just read. He can spell his word wall words like a champ, can write dictation like a hero, but reading? He is failing miserably. I am so worried he will fail first grade because he can’t read. I don’t know how to help him. I have just purchased your book, but it seems as though I have failed him already as we did NONE of this prior to school as I had no idea about any of this. How can I help him learn to read at this late stage in the game and save him from failing first grade?

Respect your child’s preferences. Your child is already surprising you with independent tastes and opinions. Just as your child doesn’t like your kale salad, he or she may not appreciate the exquisite black-and-white crosshatching of Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” as much as you did as a child. You may not be all that excited about fairies or talking trucks, but your child might be. Encourage children to express what they like about their books, and find more books like those.
Thanks so much for posting this! Our son just turned 2 and LOVES reading books. He would have us read to him for hours…in fact when his grandma comes over I think she really does read to him for multiple hours through the day. We read board books about trucks and tractors and animals and also read a lot of Dr. Seuss and Bible stories and Curious George. For many months now I have set aside time for him to color with crayons and I would write down the alphabet or short words and go over the letters. We sing the ABC’s a lot and have worked on his saying vowels. He began to recognize the letter “A” in many places at the beginning of the year. Last week we were at the doctors office and there was an alphabet rug and he began naming them through “F”. And he just got an etch a sketch for his birthday, so as I wrote down the first few letters of the alphabet or wrote down his name he began naming them! I was amazed! Not that he does it perfectly but I really didn’t know the capabilities of a 2 year old. I’m really wanting to find more fun ways to encourage him but not push him too hard in it. I look forward to putting your suggestions into practice as he continues to learn!
Teaching your child to read requires consistent effort. It has to be done every day (be it for only a few minutes) but the secret lies in doing it consistently. It therefore requires your (the adult’s) full commitment and you will have to be disciplined and consistent in your efforts. It’s okay if you miss the odd day, but you should endeavour to do a lesson at least 5 days per week.

According to Shane Michaels, “The entire premise of Reading Head Start really just makes sense—like how babies learn to speak by listening, Sarah Shephard uses the same principles of teaching kids how to read by having them listen to the sounds the individual letters make, rather than them just memorizing the association between words and certain images, the method most kids learn to read by in school. But perhaps what is most impressive about this system is that it is designed in a way to get parents involved with their child’s learning process in reading, so their child gets much more of a benefit than simply learning how to read words. They get a complete learning experience that is positive, encouraging, and gratifying.”


Many people consider middle-grade books the best of children’s literature, because they focus on the golden years of childhood, before the transformations, challenges and responsibilities of adolescence. These books don’t contain the level of violence or sexuality acceptable in young adult novels, though some middle-grade books intended for the older end of the spectrum may include mildly violent scenes or a first kiss.
“Phonemes” are the smallest sounds in the English language (go here for a complete list of phonemes).  These sounds are made up of consonants, short vowels, long vowels, and digraphs.  “Phonemic Awareness” consists of learning those sounds and how to manipulate them within a word.  Digraphs are unique sounds comprised of individual letters like /th/, /sh/, /ch/, etc.
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