Teaching Your Child to Read

Why early reading is vital, and how to do it

Can your child read? Should your child learn to read? Should you teach your child yourself or wait till he or she joins school?

The answers to these questions are critical for parents around the world. Why? Because reading is the most important academic skill a young child can learn. Yet the question of when to teach children to read remains a controversial one. To help clarify the issue, let's examine both perspectives.

According to research carried out in the last 25 years, early reading develops a child's brain. It sensitizes the child to language patterns, expands vocabulary and improves memory. It encourages longer attention spans, improves concentration and lays the basis for sound learning skills. It increases the child's curiosity, sparks his or her imagination and encourages maturity. In short, from this perspective, by teaching your child to read at an early age, you are bestowing the gift of a lifetime and expanding his or her horizons.

What's more, children who learn to read earlier develop greater self-esteem. When young babies are held warmly and read to lovingly, they feel loved and cared for; as a result, they also develop a positive emotional bond with the parent. By making them more comfortable around books, early reading prepares children to become lifelong readers, which paves the way to academic success. Teaching your child to read can be one of the most important, gratifying and rewarding experiences you can share with your child.

Some experts believe in establishing this positive connection as early as possible- in some cases, even before the baby is born. Parents are encouraged to read to the unborn baby or expose him or her to classical music. Although the educational benefits are unclear, studies have shown that the fetal heart rates slow down when a baby hears the parent's calm and soothing voice. The bonding process has begun, forming the basis for a healthy parent-child relationship.

In spite of the research findings cited above, millions of children worldwide face a different reality. Their parents believe that early reading can harm the child; they believe they are "pushing" the child by expecting him or her to learn to read as a preschooler. Thus, they leave their children to learn reading in the school system, believing that the school is responsible for "education" and that they are responsible for parenting.

Although teaching effective reading skills is certainly a key goal of the primary school curriculum, many young children, already challenged by adapting themselves to an unfamiliar school environment, face serious challenges when learning to read. These children need personal attention and input to become competent readers; something that a sole, overworked kindergarten or first-grade teacher is hard-pressed to provide.

As a result, some children develop serious reading difficulties or are unable to read at all. Sadly, this one weakness can affect the child's entire life path. It can lead to lower academic performance in all subject areas, since all schooling depends on the ability to read easily, quickly, correctly and with comprehension. Children who learn to read later in life face more reading problems than those who learned early. Poor readers also have higher drop-outs rates than good readers.

It is our belief that you, as a parent, are your child's first, best and most influential teacher. You play a critical role in developing your child's potential. What you do – or don't do - in the early years can have a lasting impact on the quality of your child's life. If you teach your child to read with love and without pressure, you will be amazed at how much he or she can learn.

If you're not sure where to start, this website will help you in several ways:

  • explain the many benefits of early reading
  • show you how to create a literate environment
  • discuss what you can do while you're pregnant
  • show you how to teach your child to read, according to age
  • provide an overview of current reading methods
  • discuss the strengths and weaknesses of popular reading methods
  • recommend books to increase your child's intelligence & teach reading

Congratulations on taking this step to help your child. The fact that you're here shows that you're ready to invest time and effort to understand what's best for your child. Active and informed parental involvement can transform and stimulate a child's intellectual, language, motor and social development. In just 15 minutes a day, you can make a profound difference in your child's ability to read. In addition, you can boost your child's brain power, build self-confidence, expand general knowledge and improve thinking skills, placing your child on a path to life success.