Reading begins in a child's ears. When you talk to your child, you are putting the sounds of the English language into his brain. His brain is properly wired to learn to talk back to you. Over time his speaking vocabulary grows to thousands of words. The more you talk, sing, and read to your child, the bigger his speaking vocabulary will become. Here is the surprise: children's brains are not automatically wired for reading. Your child needs your help to become a successful reader. Learning how to read begins when your child's ears are ready. There are several things you can do to get your child's ears ready. Teach him how to rhyme by playing rhyming games, or reading rhyming poems to him. Play some of the other games presented in this website. His ears are ready when he can rhyme and play the games successfully.
Teach your child alphabet letter names and sounds. This is the beginning of phonics. Phonics is learning what letters and letter combinations "say." It is an essential part of learning how to read. Don't assume that your child learned all the letter sounds in school. It is likely that she does not know the vowel sounds because they sound so similar. Other important phonic combinations are listed in the sidebar. When your child learns letter sounds, teach her to "blend" them together to "sound out" new words. Knowledge of phonics will help her to read many words that follow phonic rules. The best way to incorporate phonics is to find a short reading selection that has a lot of "sh" words, for example, and read those words to him. Ask your child to say some words beginning with the "sh" sound. Then teach him to read the short selection. Continue teaching phonics by finding other short reading selections, each highlighting one of the letter combinations from the phonic list. Please notice that letters and letter combinations appear in different places in words. Vowels often occur in the middle of words. "Wh" occurs at the beginning of words and "Ch" appears at the beginning or end of words.