The fact is that homeschoolers seem to have many anxieties but chief among them is the worry about whether their child will learn to read. It’s such a mysterious process and such a scary idea that the kids might not learn to read. So, here’s a few thoughts to help parents deal with this anxiety.
- Learning to read is NOT a race. Early readers don’t turn out to be better readers, happier people, or more successful in school. Don’t race and worry just because some other kid learned earlier.
- If there does seem to be a problem, get some professional guidance. Hearing problems visual acuity problems, and other underlying medical conditions (ie dyslexia) can exist and understanding them will help.
- Learning to read is a process. It should start with word play and reading aloud to the kids. Why?
- Word play in which the sounds in words are highlighted will help the students understand that words are made of sounds. This is a key awareness and while obvious to adults, is a breakthrough for each kid. Understanding that bat, fat, and cat share at at sound but not the initial sound is the point of many games. Play these rhyming games and other sound and word games with your kids. Do Poetry. Play Hink Pink. etc etc
- Reading Aloud. Kids love listening to stories. They will soon get that the text on the page tells a story. The book goes from left to right, top of page to bottom, and all the other print awareness concepts.
- Study the process of learning to read. This is easily understood through the Reading Skills Pyramid.
- That’s enough for the start. If you have questions about teaching your kids how to read, I’d invite you to ask them here. Also, I’d rely on some good programs to help with the process. For example:
- Time4Learning is a big rich program that includes a fabulous language arts program. The PreK to 3rd language arts program is a good foundation for learning to read.
- For practice on specific skills, there are other useful programs. For instance VocabSpellingCity has some great prereading and early reading skills practice games such as Sound It Out.