Published November 19, 2015

Some parents seem to have it so easy.  They read nightly to their child and then…poof, their child can read.  Well, that is not how it works for most children.  That’s not how it even worked for my own children!  Think about if a colleague handed you the meeting notes written in Chinese characters.

chinese characters

(Chinese characters taken from the site chinesebynumbers.com)

Can you read the meeting notes?  No.

Now imagine that this is what a page of words can look like to a new reader. So, why would your child want to read if you hand them a book and all they see are a bunch of alphabet letters?

The key to LEARNING to read and LIKING to read are easy…only teach your child at their instructional level and in a non-overwhelming way.

HOW? Well, I like to teach my own children in many different types of environments, such as, in the car, on a walk, in the grocery store, in the bath. These are all places where learning seems “fun!” It’s fun, because your child won’t necessarily even know they are learning. For instance, if your child is unable to read simple short vowel words, then while they are in the bath, ask them to Stretch & Catch the word “cat” by using the soap suds to spell it on the wall. If they are unable to spell “cat” model for them the sounds in the word “cat” and then spell the word for them. Just continue with that one word for the entire time in the bath (NOT OBSESSIVELY OF COURSE, JUST IN A FUN WAY!). By the end of the bath, your child will know how to spell “cat”.

You can say to them, “Wow you learned to spell a new word!” In that instant, your child will begin to feel confident about learning to read. Now continue to slowly introduce another “at” word each day, while reminding them that they already know how to spell “cat” so then if they know that word, they can spell “bat.” Here are some more “at” words for your child to spell: sat, mat, hat, fat, pat, & rat.

It’s really that simple.

Once your child can spell a few short ă words, try to find a book that concentrates on the short ă words only. For example, the BOB book series has great developmentally appropriate books for this stage of reading. You can also read Dr. Seuss books. Sit with your child at bedtime and when you get to a short vowel ă word in the book, ask them to Stretch & Catch it.

Now those alphabet letters don’t feel so overwhelming to your child! In fact, they now make complete sense.

You can find more information about teaching your child how to read in my book, Teach Your Child To Read In Less Than 10 Minutes A Day! Stretch & Catch Words.