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Helping a Child Learn to Read

The Keys to Reading Success

Helping a child learn to read is one of the critical roles of every parent. School can build the foundation to a child’s reading, but usually the practice needed happens at home.

So here are the essential elements that you need to keep in mind when you are helping your child:

Stay Calm

This can be easier said than done! I know, because I have been there. Helping a child to read can be frustrating and sometimes a bit traumatic for both of you if it is going badly.

So step 1, is to look at some Arabic or Greek text and remember that English is equally confusing when you first look at it.

We then recommend aiming for the Rule of Five. That means you have to grab five moments to give your child a little bit of affirmation and encouragement for every one time you have to correct or help. You will be amazed by how powerful that is. Your voice is no longer a source of stress and everything becomes more relaxed.

And when your child makes a mistake, aim to empathize with the difficulty rather than saying anything negative. So we suggest phrases like “That was a tricky word. Let’s look at it again” rather than “No!”.

Check the Text Size

When a child is reading they have to be able to see the words clearly. So be sure the print of the book or the print on the screen is big enough for your child to be comfortable.

Quite often that is much bigger than you would expect. The reason is that children often struggle with getting their eyes to converge on a point and track that point of focus along some text.

If you think that this is a problem for your child, get in touch to ask about how to fix that. We normally see good improvement in 7-10 days, if you use the exercise regime that we recommend.

Decode Every Word

A lot of children are drawn towards memorizing whole words as they learn to read. That can seem to get good progress in the early stages, but leads to a host of problems as the vocabulary being used goes from tens of words to hundreds and thousands of words.

You will begin to see more and more guessing, especially with the short words. And your child will never learn to spell properly.

So every word in the text should be a decoding exercise, until that decoding because completely fluent.

The easiest way to achieve that is to use Trainertext: