The 21 Helpful Hints
1. Learning To Read Has A Ton Of Competition
2. How Long Can You Spend Teaching Your Child
3. Learning The Alphabet Is A Waste Of Time
4. Wait Before You Give Up
5. What Are The Best Books To Use
6. How Long Can The Kid Read For
7. Use Every Spare Minute
8. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
9. Then The Questions Start
10. Your Brain Lives Of Oxygen
11. Another Way To Teach Reading
12. The Mysterious Mozart Effect
13. Superlearning And Accelerated Learning
14. The VAK Learning Model
15. Reading Aloud Is One Of The Best Ways
16. Never Force Your Child To Read
17. The Three Times Reading Or The “To, With, By”
18. Your Kid Has To Start Sometime So Why Not Now
19. Let Your Kid Decide
20. A Problem With Picture Books
21. What Not To Do
Reading: What You Need To Know
In today’s world, reading is the most important part of
learning, and I mean we have to learn it. It is not
something we pick up like speaking.
The ability to read and read rapidly is what makes or
breaks a student in the school system of today. Everything
else hinges on this one ability. It is the weakest link in
the learning chain. That is what makes it the most
important, because it affects all other aspects of
If the child is lagging behind in reading skills then they
will get left behind. That is it. There are no ‘buts’,
‘ands’ or ‘ifs’. That’s about the truth of it. If the kid
can’t read, that’s it. They slowly and steadily fall behind
until they are so far behind they cannot catch up. Then
Learned Hopelessness takes over and the kids just give up.
In most cases the children can improve their reading
skills, but it takes time and effort. You have to put in
the time to get results.
To get ahead in life, in love, or what ever you call it you
have to be able to read. And your children have to be
taught how to read.
Anthropologist surmised that speaking evolved as a survival
mechanism. Mankind somehow managed to take speaking to
another level as compared to the other animals that inhabit
this planet. Most animals can call their young whether cubs
or pups or whatever, and the offspring come running. Some
can call some kind of warning. But that is where it stops.
We, mankind, have somehow managed to get above this, and we
carried on talking to inform our offspring about the
dangers of life in the cave.
Reading is completely different, we have to learn it. Or
more correctly we have to be taught it. It is not something
we just pick up like speaking. We have to be taught what
the letters all mean. And that is where us parents come in,
or us teachers as the case may be.
Learning To Read Has A Ton Of Competition
With learning there seems to be no magic bullet. If there
is a magic bullet I think the magic bullet would be time.
The more time you put in the more you learn, but the
problem is time itself. We do not have enough time.
Nowadays the kids have more distractions. Things we never
had, like the computer and its games and DVDs. They still
have the television and radio, and now MP3 as opposed to
the tape players we had. We only had the TV to worry about.
Then along came videos and that was about the limit to our
So learning is also about time management and the best way
to use time.
Parents and kids with good time management skills, get
things done. But alas, time management is also something
that needs to be learned. Therefore we have to learn before
we can teach.
Goals and goal setting always pop up when the gurus start
talking. Anybody can set goals but accomplishing the goals
is what it is all about, and that is where the problem
With teaching reading the easiest goals to set are with
time. “Every night we will read 20 minutes together.” That
is a reasonable goal but can you stick to it.
That is where time management comes in, so it is all
related. Finding time, then doing something constructive in
that time is the key to success. Finding 5 to 10 minute
slots throughout the day is also very helpful. Reading
labels in the supermarket or reading billboard
advertisements. These all add up and all help. Finding
things to read in your environment can be a fun and
rewarding thing to do. “Don’t feed the bears.”
How Long Can You Spend Teaching Your Child
I recommend 15 to 30 minutes a day minimum. If that is all
you can do, then it will be a great help. What I do is: if
the kid is interested I will keep reading until the kid
starts to show signs of restlessness, then I will stop.
Sometimes I will get tired before the kid, but I will force
myself to keep reading. At the moment I still have the
kid’s attention and that is something that can be very
difficult to get.
It all depends on the kid and how interested the kid is. If
you can do two 15-minute blocks a day that is even better,
but in today’s world can you do it. On the weekends and
holidays you could give reading in the morning a go. Most
kids have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, so why
not stay there and read for a bit.
There are a lot of distractions out there. And learning how
to read is very easy to get distracted from. So to make it
harder for the distractions to set in, you need to get your
kids interested in some very interesting books.
And they are usually about things the kid is already
interested in. If they like dinosaurs, get dinosaur books.
And if they like cars get them car books.
One thing I ask the students is. “What cartoon or movie do
you like?” Then I would recommend reading the book that
usually comes with the movie. One kid liked the “Ice Age”
movie so I said get the book, but she didn’t like the book.
It was a bit of a drag reading it so I changed to something
The golden rule “If the kid doesn’t like, it forget it and
get something they like.” We are up against the latest
games and cartoons, so whatever you are reading must be as
interesting or more so than the competition. And the
competition nowadays is quite exciting.
When reading always POINT your finger under or over the
word you are saying, so the kid can figure out what word
sounds matches what written word. I think it is a waste of
time just reading. The kid must associate the sound with
the word. And the easiest way to do that is to underline
the word with your finger or a pencil as you say it.
Learning The Alphabet Is A Waste Of Time
You need the alphabet for writing not reading.
It can be very confusing for young children when they learn
the alphabet. Then when they start to read they have to say
the letters differently. They cannot understand why they
have to learn to say the letters in the alphabet, if they
have to say them differently when they read.
Just a little example, the word “the.” How can you say the
word “the” just by using the sounds of the letters in the
alphabet. That is why I keep away from the alphabet.
I will show them how to say the phonetic sound of the
letters. This way, at least the letters match the sounds of
the words. I prefer to do this while reading a little book
that the child wants me to read. I don’t like reading
through lists of words to phonetically say each letter, so
the kid can pronounce the word correctly. I will admit it
is a good way to learn. I will do this, but only until the
kid gets bored. Then I will go back to reading the story.
I usually forget about teaching the alphabet, as the
individual sounds of the letters do not always match the
way it is spoken.
But I do like phonetics. If the kid can sound out the word
correctly, and they know what the spoken word is, then they
know what the written word is. And that is the advantage of
I don’t go overboard on phonetics. I sound out the words
and sometimes I will put a pencil stroke between the
syllables. So the kids can figure out what each different
combination of letters sounds like. Phonetics helps to
decode a word so the kid can say it. Then once they hear
it, they should know the meaning.
Phonetics ties the language together, so the sound of the
words matches what is written.
Wait Before You Give Up
After the kid gets bored or loses concentration it is time
to give up, and come back at a later time.
If they are not interested you could be wasting your time.
Also, sometimes it can take a long time-- perhaps 5, 10 or
even 15 minutes-- before the kid starts to show an interest
in what you are reading. Hang in there because the kid will
usually come around. It takes a bit longer for them to
unwind and change to a new topic. Then they will be right
for hopefully a good half hour or so.
If the kid’s vocabulary is pretty limited, use pictures
with the word printed on the paper. Then they can learn the
word and how to say it.
I like printing out the color pages the kid likes from the
internet. I write on the picture what it is, like “cat” or
“bird’ or whatever. Then I get the kid to copy the letters
to make the word, as we say the word together. I
phonetically say each letter so the kid gets a grasp of
what the letters and the word sounds like.
Also we are back to repeat, repeat and repeat again. As
long as the kid writes the words I will keep printing out
new pages and new words to color in.
What Are The Best Books To Use
I grew up with Disney and Disney is still around today. We
had the Read Along books. They were good. The text was on
the book as well as on the tape. But the problem was-- it
was very difficult to match the written word with the
spoken word, unless mummy was reading and pointing with her
Now Disney has the Read Along book as an attachment to the
DVD, so you have to read it on the TV. But there is still
the problem with pointing to the word, so the kid still
does not know what word is spoken.
Disney has nearly brought back all the old cartoons, so my
kids are enjoying what I was brought up with.
Also, books made up of nursery rhymes are very good. For
some reason, most experts agree that rhyming is a very
important part of reading. These types of nursery rhymes
help to build phonics and that is one of the bases of
learning to read. I learnt under the phonics system and my
reading level is quite fast.
I think because of tradition, it must be very important.
The nursery rhymes I teach my kid nowadays are the same
nursery rhymes my mother read to me when I was a little
boy. And possibly they are the same nursery rhymes my
grandmother read to my mother, when she was a little girl.
Anything that has stood the test of time and lasted that
long must be beneficial and helpful.
My mother brought a beautiful picture book of nursery
rhymes for my kid, and the rhymes had not changed in 30
years, they were exactly the same, so there must be
something in nursery rhymes.
How Long Can The Kid Read For
One of the major factors in learning is concentration. It
has been proved time and time again that heavy-duty
concentration for a short time is more beneficial than
light learning. Experts say our concentration span lasts
about 20 minutes then the brain starts to wonder.
I don’t know if that is the result of having advertisements
on TV every 15 minutes or the programs are broken up into
15-minute segments to fit into out attention span.
Anyway we could think about muting the TV during the ads
and getting into some real heavy duty study while we wait
for the program to return. Most people would not recommend
this but I’m sure that is how some good students do their
homework. That is what I call ‘good study habits.’
Kids are bombarded on all sides with distractions and it is
up to us to lead them into periods of extreme concentration
so they can get more done is less time.
Use Every Spare Minute
As a primary school teacher I have seen many kids excel,
and I think one of the major factors is good study habits.
I’ve seen kids with a spare ten minutes do some school,
homework or exercises. They don’t waste any time.
And that is what you should be doing when you have a few
spare minutes. Grab a book and start reading or pointing
out some new words and saying them so your kid can match
the sound with the written word.
Some experts mention that the children will follow the
parents, so if the child sees her mother or father reading
they will also. Nowadays I think that is debatable.
Before the computer I would agree with that, but the
computer has changed everything. When we, the parents are
reading the computer, do our children see us as reading or
playing on the computer.
And these days there are many different things to entertain
our children other than a good book.
To keep children interested in reading we have to read very
interesting books to them. And we have to read with
animation-- to make it more lively-- so our kids will want
us to finish the story.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
I ask every class this question. “Our brains, minds or
whatever you call it, is extremely good at many things, but
one thing it excels at. What is it?”
I ask all my classes this question and I can get any number
of answers, some strange and bazaar and others quite normal
like numbers, math, watching TV, playing computer games
The answer to “Your brain is very good at one thing. What
“FORGETTING. Your brain is extremely good at forgetting.”
Most kids, parents and teachers will agree with that.
Very few students come up with that answer. They all think
of something else and it gets a few laughs after it sinks
We have to re-program ourselves to remember, and that
usually means, repeat, repeat, repeat.
There is a lot of truth in the saying “In one ear and out
the other” But there is one way to keep the information in
your head without sticking one hand over one ear, and that
is to repeat, repeat, repeat.
Then The Questions Start
Kids, especially very young kids--possible under 6 or 7
years-old--love you to just read the same story over and
over again. I don’t really know why but they love it. I
think it might have something to do with how much of the
story they understand.
Then the questions start. You must answer all the questions
as best you can. It doesn’t matter how stupid these
questions are, you must answer them anyway. This builds
vocabulary and understanding.
Because the kid’s vocabulary is limited there might be a
new word or something in a sentence they do not understand.
Do not try and pass the questions over by saying. “You will
learn as you get older.” You must try to answer them.
Your kids are looking up to you because they think you know
it all. Anyway by answering questions you will undo any
confusion and misunderstanding that is quite common for
For really young learners it is better to use picture
books. As they say “One picture tells a thousand words.”
Your Brain Lives Of Oxygen
I used to believe in Supplementary Oxygen but I have gone
off that lately. Mainly because when you orally take
oxygen, it must affect the bacteria in your stomach.
Therefore changing the natural composition of your stomach.
So I give up on that one.
Your brain needs oxygen to function, so the theory was, if
you took Supplementary Oxygen you could enhance your mental
activity. That is true, but by taking Supplementary Oxygen
both the good and bad bacteria living in your stomach could
be killed off by the oxygen, as they survive in a non-
To get more oxygen into your system it is better to do some
vigorous exercises. I like the fast--slow approach, which
is: do some really hard exercise like fast running for
about 10 minutes then do a slow exercise for 10 minutes,
like slow jogging, then back to the fast and then slow
again. That way you get a good workout in a shorter period
Doing exercises will increase the oxygen levels in your
blood therefore pumping more oxygen into your brain. If
your kids can get into some heavy-duty exercise, that will
do them a world of good.
Another Way To Teach Reading
One very modern method of teaching reading is to find a
computer game that prints the conversation as opposed to
speaking it. Some computer game language is very limited
and repetitive. So you need a game where the written
conversation is quite large and varied.
One game I use for teaching reading is the game “Aveyond.”
I like this game as it can be used for very little kids as
well as older students who have fallen behind. The graphics
are very simple and very good and seem to appeal to younger
viewers. When you look at the game, the little figures in
the game look like little kids but when the dialogue comes
on the faces are of older children possible teenagers.
Therefore the game should interest both age groups.
The dialogue is very good, a bit simple, but on wide screen
the words are big so you can both see and read them
together. Also some dialogues are quite long so you can get
in a good reading session before you have to play the game.
One problem is you can’t go back with the dialogue. I think
this is a problem because if the student does not
understand what is happening in the dialogue, you cannot go
back to re read it. If there is a way to go back I have not
found it yet.
Reading this way is very helpful as you are being given
instructions as well as background information so you have
to understand what is going on. Also the reading part is
not continuous and only one person speaks at a time so
there is only one dialogue on the screen at one time. .
Because the dialogue is between the game, the kid does not
get distracted or bored easily. But I must admit, I can get
quite bored just waiting for the kid to finish playing so
the dialogue will come on again.
As with all reading you must use your finger to point to
the word you are saying. That is standard so the kid knows
what sound means what word.
As the game uses some very old English words for names I
have to use phonetics to sound out the words. I think they
are using Gaelic or old Irish for the name of towns and
Just a recommendation: You must control the mouse and the
space bar or the kid could just keep clicking through the
dialogue to get back to the game instead of reading. As you
can’t go back once you have clicked on the dialogue then it
is finished. So make sure you control the game and after
the kid has read the sentence move onto the next sentence.
This way the kid has an incentive to read so they can get
back into the game.
I would recommend just doing the reading for about 20
minutes as some experts say our concentration span is about
20 minutes. These experts haven’t watched kids play
computer games because then their attention span can last
Anyway that is about my attention span as I can’t last much
longer than that.
With this method it is better to let the kid decide whether
to read or play the game. Actually the reading breaks up
the game. Most segments of the game are not to long so the
kid has a bit of a break between readings.
If you are worried about your kid’s concentration levels,
just see how well they concentrate on the game. Even though
the game is not difficult and this game is unusual as it is
not overly violent. I don’t play I just watch and it is
good to watch but a bit slow.
Over time the kid could lose interest in the game, so if
this happens just read for about 15 minutes then let them
play by themselves.
When you are teaching reading this way it is a good idea to
try and juggle between work and play. If you have too much
work and not enough play the kid could become disinterested
quite quickly and then they might not want to play the game
The Mysterious Mozart Effect
This Mozart Effect came out of an experiment at UCLA in the
1980s sometime, where one class did an exam with Mozart
Music in the background and another class had no music.
The class with the music scored higher, so the Mozart
Effect was born and now we have Tapes, CDs and MP3 with
different Mozart compositions to listen too. It was
actually very popular back in the 80s and 90s, but now it
has worn off.
I personal like to listen to Mozart music and I’ve heard
some pretty extraordinary claims about what it can do. But
the main problem with new learning systems is-- they are
very difficult to test to see if they work. So I think that
is why Mozart music has fallen by the wayside.
I am listening to Mozart now while I typing this, mainly
because I like listening to music, but I do not know if
makes my writing better.
Some experts have come up with the idea that the high-
pitched sounds, mainly produced by the piano and the
violin, affect you brain. Because of the high-pitched
sounds your ears open up and the music stimulates your
brain. And as the stimulated effect takes over your brain,
you go into creative overdrive. And in that state you
somehow manage to learn more and retain more, and for some
reason you can regurgitate what you know on an exam paper.
I do not know if it is true. I have been listening to
Mozart music for years now, and I do not know if I am a
better teacher or better learner because of it.
I have never tried it in the mainstream classroom. Too much
red tape, so I use it myself and wonder. I tried it in a
weekend add-on pay class and some students asked me to
switch off the music, as they couldn’t stand the old
sounds. These were young kids about 10 years old I think.
So I switched it off and have never tried it since.
Superlearning And Accelerated Learning
The listening to classical music effect spilled over into
“Superlearning” and “Accelerated Learning.” They use 40 to
60 beats a minute Baroque music. This music is supposed to
take you into the Alpha state, which is a brain rhythm
state where you naturally learn.
“Superlearning” and “Accelerated Learning” are two systems
based on a learning system that came out of Russia that
used special Baroque music. They were very popular back in
the 1980s and 90s but now not so much. The Russian system
never really took off in the West. It was mainly used for
learning foreign languages. I haven’t heard about it for
years now, but the Mozart and Baroque music is still being
I think the problem with these systems were-- people had
trouble believing some of the claims and don’t even try
them out. I used Baroque music, 60 beats a minute, when I
was trying to learn a foreign language, but I don’t know if
it made a difference.
Learning a language is like learning to read. It takes time
and more time and lots of persistence. There are so many
setbacks. You have to have fixed, reachable goals that you
stick too, even when it goes in one ear and out the other.
If your persistence dies, so does the language, and it
doesn’t matter how much Baroque music or Mozart music you
When reading I think having some music, preferable Mozart,
on in the background is a good idea as it breaks up the
silence when the child is trying to say the words. And we
never know, it might make a difference, but if the child
doesn’t want any music switch it off.
Let them decide about how they want to learn. It’s their
time so let them be the boss.
The VAK Learning Model
Everybody learns differently. A few years ago we had the
VAK model of learning. I like the model as it is quite
simple, and most students fit quite easily into one of the
Most people in the western world are ‘V’ which is visual.
These people learn by looking. They learn through their
eyes. That is probably why TV and movies are so popular, or
that could be the reason why Visual is so popular. TV has
caused us to become more visually orientated.
The schooling system in most places in the world is based
on a visual system. The teacher and blackboard at the
front, and everybody looks at the teacher. As they say ‘One
picture is worth a thousand words.’ And that is very true
of visual people.
Next in line is ‘A’ for auditory. These students learn
predominately by listening, so they listen to the teacher
as opposed to looking at her or him.
Now we have a bit of a paradox here, as learning to read is
a listening skill not a looking skill. Even though we are
reading by looking at words we are actually reading in our
ears. We have to start by hearing the words, to match them
with words we have heard when we speak.
Some reading problems are actually hearing problems.
The child cannot hear the words properly so she is jumbling
them up. If you suspect there is something wrong with the
kid’s hearing, get their ears checked. That might be the
root of the problem but it doesn’t end there. You still
have to teach them to read.
The last one is K for Kinetic, which in a nutshell means
the kid likes to do things using their hands or body. They
love to make things so this group would love to make the
book as opposed to reading it.
These are the people who can easily get left behind in the
education system of today. As they like to move around.
They have lots of trouble sitting still behind desks while
watching somebody writing on a blackboard. These kids excel
at kindergarten but as soon as they end up in a classroom,
problems start to rise. They just don’t like to sit still.
When kids that belong to this group have problems it is
usually movement problems, so walk around reading the book.
I think this group might learn better on a computer as they
have a mouse to play with. Get them to make their own books
then teach them from their book. Have a big blackboard in
their bedroom and copy a nursery rhyme onto it, then let
the kid walk, run or jump around while they read it.
The main reason I introduced the VAK model is because if
you can work out which learning style your kid is, you can
teach to it. And according to the experts the kid should
learn faster and retain more. Also it is easier for the
kids to learn when they are taught to their dominate
If your kid is dominate in Kinetic then you should let the
kid hold the book and turn the pages, as well as follow the
words with his or her finger. This way they are using their
body and that is what Kinetic people like to do.
Kinetic kids can sometimes be labeled as problem children,
because they cannot sit still and they keep fidgeting. I
hate to say it, but I would say some kinetic kids could
also be labeled as LD (learning disabled) kids and then
onto LDHD, so kinetic kids are disadvantaged in the school
system of today.
Reading Aloud Is One Of The Best Ways
Actually reading aloud uses all these three learning
styles. For Visual you are looking at the words. For
Auditory you are listening to the words and Kinetic you are
doing something by speaking the words and following the
word with your finger or a pencil. So it doesn’t matter
which style you a dominate in, you are still learning
according to the style that suits you.
When you read aloud, you must underline the words you are
speaking with your finger. This way the kid can figure out
what the word sounds like. What the kid has to do--inside
his or her head--is decode the word. That is they have to
match the spoken word with the written word. When they can
do that, then their reading will improve.
The kid must be able to hear the word. That is why, if you
suspect a hearing problem get their ears checked.
Reading starts in your ears. First you hear the word then
you match it with what you see. That is why you always
point to the word you are saying. If you are just reading
aloud--without pointing—the kid doesn’t know what sound
matches what word.
Never Force Your Child To Read
Another Golden Rule “Never force the child to read.” If the
kid doesn’t want to read and is doing nothing else, just
start to read a reasonable interesting book. Then usually,
before you know it, the kid will be sliding up next to you,
so they can read the book too.
If the kid is watching TV or playing a computer game, it is
nearly impossible to get the kid to read so pick another
time. The best time is in bed before going to sleep. The
bedtime story type of thing, and it works.
On the weekends or holidays try reading before they get up.
Use the same approach, start reading then they will come
around. And read as long as possible, because trying to
find good moments to read gets harder and harder. The key
is a good interesting book, something that excites them.
Something that is better than the TV or computer games. As
I said before let the child pick what she wants to hear.
There are a number of different ways to actually read a
book to teach reading. But as I have always said -- always
use your finger as a pointer, so the kid knows what the
word you are pointing to sounds like.
The Three Times Reading Or The “To, With, By”
Some teachers recommend the three time reading method,
which is often referred as the “to, with, by” First you
read the sentence or short paragraph twice to your child,
that is the ‘to’ bit. Now you both read the sentence or
paragraph twice together, that is the ‘with’ part. And
lastly the kid reads the part by himself, that is the ‘by’
Very effective if you can get the kid to read the same
sentence or paragraph five times. But what happens when the
kid doesn’t want to read the same passage over and over
again. Well I let the kid decide. It is his or her reading
lesson, so if she doesn’t want to do that, that’s okay with
I do what she wants to do. If that is to read together
first then we read together first. If the kid doesn’t want
to read by herself, I still point to the word and wait to
see if she will start to read. If not I will read it and
then move on. I will stop reading before a word the kid
should know, so he can hopefully say the word. If the kid
doesn’t want to do anything, I just keep reading, still
pausing to let the kid join in if he wants to.
I prefer to read the same passage, paragraph or book three
or four days in a row or until the kid gets sick of it and
wants to change. I think that is better over the long term.
Reading the same passage five times in one sitting, has
more to do with storing the passage in the kid’s short term
I can nearly guarantee that if you read something five
times, some kids can recite it word for word without
looking at the book. But the next day they can’t read the
passage. That is why I like reading the same book over
three or four days. Then you are storing the passage in the
long-term memory, and that is where learning is all about.
Your Kid Has To Start Sometime So Why Not Now
The main part about reading is getting the kid to read and
that means starting with words, then sentences and
paragraphs, and finally onto pages, chapters and hopefully
Learning to read takes time and a lot of reading, so be
prepared to read as often as you can. But as I have said
before, make sure you are pointing at the word you are
saying, and most important, the kid MUST be looking at the
book and following your finger.
A lot of parents have been told that reading bedtime
stories to their children will help the kids learn to read.
It has actually been stated many times that that is one of
the best things you can do for your children.
Then the parents wonder why their kids reading is not all
that good. When reading bedtime stories you are improving
vocabulary, you are increasing their word knowledge and
number of words, which is a very good thing. That is one of
the few things I like about the TV and movies, they
increase the vocabulary of the kids. Where do you think
swear words come from, if you do not say them yourself.
Old Disney movies and cartoons are very good at bringing
new words to children. Video games are useless at
increasing vocabulary as they keep repeating the same lines
over and over again.
Now back to bedtime stories. When you are reading them and
the kids are lying in bed beside you, staring mesmerized to
the page, POINT to the words as you say them. Then
hopefully the kids will associate the sound with the word.
And that is what reading is all about.
Let Your Kid Decide
Some parents are under the misguided assumption that kids
are only learning when they are sitting at a desk, with an
open book in front of them and a pencil in one hand. I’m
not saying this is not always the case, but with reading
let your kid decide what to read as well as where to read.
Reading is something you don’t normally do while sitting at
a desk. In real life you can read anywhere, as long as
there is enough light. That could mean under the apple tree
in the garden. Some kids come alive while they are
stretched out on the sofa, so the moral of the story, is
let your kid read where they want to. You want to make
reading an enjoyable experience.
If the kid wants to read on the porch let them. It is their
time so let them have the upper hand and let them control
where and what. This way reading should be more enjoyable.
As opposed to telling them what to read and you standing
behind them making sure they read it, while seated at a
A Problem With Picture Books
Pictures sell books. That is why there are plenty of
picture books available. But for teaching reading they can
distract the kid from following your finger.
When you are reading, keep an eye on the kid to make sure
she is actually looking at the words and not the pictures.
Also read slowly as the kid’s brain is not as fast as ours.
It takes some time for the word to register on the kid’s
brain. You will sometimes see your kid looking at a
different word from what you are saying. That is usual
because they are trying to decode the word.
That is another reason why you should point to the word.
When the kid is finished looking at one word, they can
easily find where you are reading. That can be why some
kids want you to read the same passage over and over again.
So they can find the words they know and also learn new
What Not To Do
Also, and this is very important: NEVER and I mean NEVER
ever criticize. Always encourage your kids because they
thrive on encouragement and it makes them come alive.
Criticism is a motivation killer and that is the last thing
you want. Getting kids motivated to learn is hard enough
without adding to it.
Also I’ll let you into a little secret. Your kids do what
you say. If you say, “Your reading is terrible” or “You
will never learn to read” your kids will act out what you
say. And sure enough they will never learn to read because
you told them that they couldn’t.
Always praise the good learning experiences and say nothing
about the bad times.
Kids are very sensitive to tones, so be careful what tone
you use as they will pick up the critical tones as easy as
if you said something. And never ever make a sarcastic
remake about your child’s ability because that cuts like a
knife. That is the last thing you want.
And while we are on the subject of what not to do add this
one, NEVER, another NEVER, compare your kids to anybody,
not even their brothers or sisters. Sometimes that is very
hard not to do but refrain as it can have a dramatic effect
on your child. Making them feel they are not as good as
their siblings. And that Effect can last a lifetime.
Also never compare your child to other kids in her class,
who you have never met. That has a terrible effect on the
kid, as they know the person and you do not, and they might
think that is the worst person in the class. So be careful
about what you say to your kid and how you say it. What you
say can destroy the joy of reading, and that is the last
thing you want.
So PRAISE, PRAISE and more PRAISE goes a long way to
instill in your child the ultimate joy of reading.