Tips to Help Your Children Begin Reading

Parents can help their children as they begin reading. It's easy: you simply have to follow a few basic, common-sense rules.
Tips to Help Your Children Begin Reading
Azucena Fernández

Written and verified by the teacher Azucena Fernández.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Reading is one of the most important life skills for children to acquire. Here’s important advice for parents to follow during this crucial time as their children begin reading.

Regardless of the method used to learn, these tips are both universal and useful.

When your children begin reading, read together as often as possible

As a parent, it’s important to develop a routine in which you read a book with your child in the morning or at night. You can start by reading aloud, but have the child participate by moving a finger over the text.

As a result, even if your children cannot read at the same speed as you, they’ll feel like they’re part of the activity. In addition, they’ll start to identify the letters and words more and more easily.

Enjoy the time you spend reading together, and share the moment with your child. Remember to schedule a family reading time in which everyone feels a sense of closeness as they each read their own book.

Sometimes a half an hour is all you need, but be sure to read. Only then will you instill the habit in your child. This is much more effective than any strict reading activity.

Tips to Help Your Children Begin Reading

The reading material needs to interest your child

If your children have a favorite subject, find a book filled with related vocabulary to increase motivation. Look for reading material that includes their favorite interests and use this to cultivate their interest in books.

As your children begin reading, let them choose their own books

When children have the chance to make their own decisions, they can have a say in their learning process. As a result, they’ll be more likely to participate.

Bringing children to libraries and bookstores and encouraging them to explore the books can be a wonderful activity for children when they begin reading for the first time.

“Let them have the opportunity to decide what they want to read.”

Keep track of their reading progress

As children begin reading, you should try to encourage them to read more challenging books. They should progress from reading books with one word per page to ones featuring increasingly longer sentences. This should continue until they can handle full paragraphs.

If you have doubts about whether or not a book is right for your children’s reading level, try counting the number of words per page that they don’t understand. You can also take the opposite approach and count the number of Dolch words per page.

Talk about what you see on the page

Another helpful activity is to use books as a way of stimulating conversation on a given topic. After reading, talk for a while about what you read, or bring it up at another time.

“In addition, you can help increase your child’s vocabulary by focusing on words that are represented but not written.”

You can also, for example, keep a special diary in which you write down the new words that appear with illustrations or drawings, as well as words that aren’t written explicitly in the book.

This will make the words easier to remember because there will be a visual and chronological context.

Reading: avoid comparisons to their peers

Every child learns to read at their own pace. Reading is a personal and individual experience in which children begin to understand things for themselves and learn more about how narratives work as they develop stronger skills.

Therefore, comparing children to their peers isn’t at all helpful. These comparisons are unnecessary and ineffective. Each child learns at their own pace, which needs to be respected and understood.

Tips to Help Your Children Begin Reading

Don’t pressure them

Forcing children to begin reading before they’re ready can lead to negative reactions and do more harm than good. Pressure is always a demotivating force. Children without proper motivation won’t experience any activity pleasantly or profitably, and they may not want to do it again.

Talk to the child’s teacher

If your child doesn’t like reading and has problems with reading words at first sight, keep in mind that this may be due to a specific learning disability.

If you encounter such a situation, you should first talk with the child’s teacher. Teachers can assess the situation professionally, and may even recommend an evaluation with a specialist.

In summary, parents with children learning to read should, above all, read with them and make this activity a part of everyday life. Encourage children to choose their own reading material, and don’t press the issue.

By following these simple tips, you can make an important contribution to your child’s acquisition of this fundamental life skill.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • B. Bettelheim, K. Zelan,& J. Beltrán (1989). Aprender a leer. Crítica.
  • A.M.J. Herrera (2018). ¿De qué sirve leer y escribir? Transversalizar la lectura y escritura en la escuela para apostarle a la imaginación ya la creación. Análisis.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.