Learning to read in 4 steps: how children learn to read and write

Learning to read is the focus of elementary school. Reading is especially important for children’s social skills. If the child masters reading and writing, then the whole world of knowledge opens up!

In any learning process, and especially in learning to read, positive motivation plays the most crucial role. To encourage and not overwhelm the child, parents and teachers should present new information and knowledge to the child in a didactically coordinated sequence: Always start with simple terms and increase the complexity of the language only slowly. Allow enough time for repetition of what has been learned.

"Repetition is the mother of learning."

For learning to read, the reader’s ability to comprehend what is being read and to concentrate while reading is crucial. Reading comprehension children develop by first learning and becoming good at various reading techniques: How do I connect letters to form syllables? How do you make a word out of syllables? How to make sentences out of words? (and so on)

For children to learn to read and learn written language easily in school, they need support in early childhood education. Parents and educators should monitor language development and support it with the following:

  • Pay attention to the child’s oral expression. At age 5, the child needs to communicate with the environment in clear sentences and with correct pronunciation.
  • Teach the child speech sounds and noises. Speech sounds are those uttered by a person in words; noises are sounds that can result from a person’s interaction with objects, for example, knocks, footsteps, coughs, creaks, etc.
  • Introduce the whole variety of play forms into the child’s daily routine. Technique games that develop motor skills and visual-spatial perception; games with rules that lead to rule acceptance; puzzles and painting with a focus on details and their differences.
  • Do not force children to attend class! Motivate the children to have fun while learning!

1. Step: At the beginning of learning to read are the sounds

The first step on the way to learning to read is getting to know the sounds: verbal and non-verbal sounds, vowels, semi-vowels and voiced or unvoiced consonants. Use the free phonetic table from eKidz for this purpose.eu is an excellent resource for teaching your child the vowel sounds in a fun way.

Playfully teach children that letters are used to write down verbal sounds that are heard and pronounced. Try counting the sounds in a word with your child or looking for words that begin with a particular sound. On this way the child is immersed in the world of sounds.

With the help of singing, children can learn to read.

Vowels can be sung. Vowels are sounds that have air flowing freely out of the mouth when pronounced, with no obstruction formed by the lips, teeth, or tongue in the oral cavity. To visually clarify the differences between vowels and consonants, explain to the child that vowels live in red "houses" or are marked with red circles/squares.

Consonants cannot be sung. When pronouncing, the air stream meets an obstacle in the oral cavity. Build blue "houses" for consonants.

Once you have taught the child the speech sounds, you can now analyze a word acoustically together:

  • Which sound is the first?
  • Which is the last or the second?
  • Count all the sounds in the word!
  • Then you can introduce the letters: With which letter do we write which sounds??

From the ca. 5. By the age of 1, most children can participate well in phonetic games. Each child develops individually in speech as well. Before that, the skills to distinguish the sounds are not yet fully developed.

2. Step: get to know the letters

Important for learning to read and write is: Letters are written sounds! They form words and thus sentences. To learn to read, a child must not only memorize the graphic design of a letter, but also remember the sounds it designates. This means that it must be learned how the letter is written and how it is pronounced.

Learning the letters: letters are learned one at a time, one at a time. Start with the vowels. Each letter consists of similar graphic elements, therefore the child should not be flooded by a large amount of letters.

Recommend introducing the letters step by step and not more than one letter per "learning session" or each time you practice learning to read with your child.

Learning to read in 4 steps: how children learn to read and write

"Games" or learning strategies for your child to learn to read

When working with a letter, use different learning strategies. Show the letter and name it. Now you can fantasize together with the child:

  • Ask the child what the letter reminds him/her of.
  • Model the shape of the letter together and let the child touch the model with closed eyes.
  • Draw the outline of a letter and give it to the child to color with colors, strokes, or circles.
  • Together, reconstruct the letter o with toothpicks. a.
  • Practice together writing the letter in the air or on sand.

This approach helps to learn the letters more effectively. The child is sensitized to writing and can later more easily build on this basis.

I give children the opportunity to try spelling a letter right after presenting it to them. The letter image is thus better memorized and the first introduction to writing takes place naturally.

3. Step: Learning to read syllables

Next, the child learns to combine letters into syllables. After getting to know several vowels, you can continue with consonants. The next big step is usually with reading in 1. Class connected, namely connecting letters to syllables, and then learning to read whole syllables.

It is unnecessary to keep the child too long memorizing the alphabet. The letters are the building blocks for building words, so let the child try them out early on.

Connecting the letters and learning to read syllables – by putting them together – is fun!

In the beginning, syllables make little sense to a child: "ua", "oa".

It is best to start with syllables of two vowels. Then you can continue with closed syllables such as "am", "om", "ol". The next step is to read the open syllables: "mo", "ma", "la". Now letters and syllable formation can be learned and practiced at the same time.

Reading syllables is an important skill that helps the child to remember and learn the individual letters more easily. Once the child has mastered syllable reading, small words can be read together: "mama", "grandma", "llama", "lila", "soda" and so on.

I recommend already at this early stage to focus the children on reading comprehension. To prevent reading from becoming a mechanical reproduction of words, encourage the child to engage playfully with the meaning of what is being read:

  • Connect the word with a picture.
  • Get the pictures and labels out of a jumble and into the right order.
  • The letters and their graphic features should continue to be practiced. Writing exercises may now deal with whole syllables and words.

4. Step: Learning to read itself (reading words and sentences fluently)

When transitioning from syllables to words, the child’s reading speed is slow. It reads in syllables and does not immediately understand the word read. It is very important to invest a lot of time and in no case to push the child to hurry up. Over time, it will begin to grasp the meaning of the word from the context more quickly and read familiar words more quickly and fluently, and last but not least learn to read.

Every day the number of known words will increase and the reading speed will increase. Maintain the pace of learning the alphabet and in no way try to speed up the learning process. Remember that each new letter is still very complex for the child and it takes time to learn it.

Now the child can read many words by himself and try it faster and faster. When reading quickly, many children learn to guess the word, but then they often read it incorrectly. If you notice that many word endings are not correct when reading and whole words are often replaced with guessed words, be sure to intervene: Reduce the pace of learning, repeat with the child what has already been learned.

Everything in peace – Let the learning to read some time

All children develop differently, learn to read and write at their own pace and also have different interests / motivations.

Make sure that the texts are understandable and interesting for the child. Do not follow the development of children of the same age. Some children spend longer on syllable reading, others can quickly move on to more complicated text and read with a smaller font size. Encourage children individually to learn to read!

Reading fluency is achieved only with good reading comprehension. Mastering a reading technique enables reading comprehension, but should not be the focus of instruction. Of course, all letters must be learned and also introduced in learning to read before the young reader can master reading.

Learning to read in the game:

Again, I recommend that you help your child learn and practice reading and writing through play:

  • Swap the syllables in a word.
  • Replace a letter or syllable.
  • Create a new word from the letter salad.

Whether your child learns to read in a few months or in a year doesn’t matter: the main thing is that the child learns to read successfully! I wish you successful and motivated practice of learning to read with your child.

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