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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 
study problems. 

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 
is it?” 

“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 
early readers. 

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-
oxygen environment. 

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 
of time. 

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 
some people. 

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 
for hours. 

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 
ever again. 

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 
listen to. 

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 
learning style. 

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.