Learning to read is one of the most important skills our children will ever learn, yet as parents, most of us have no idea how to begin!
Keep reading and I will walk you through the 3 simple steps and show you how to teach your 4 year old to read!
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This article is written from my own experience. By the age of 4, my son was reading fluently. Now at 5 years-old, he can pick up almost any book, read it and enjoy it. At the moment he’s especially keen on our encyclopedia!
And that’s what it’s all about for me; opening up the world of books to them whenever they’re ready.
Whether you home educate, or your children go to school, these simple steps will help you to teach your 4 year old to read. insha’Allah.
Not all children are developmentally ready to read at 4 years-old.
PLEASE PLEASE don’t force a child who is not ready!!! It will do more harm than good!
However, if you’re child is ready and eager to learn to read, this article will show you how I did it, so you can ‘Teach YOUR Four year old to Read In 3 Easy Steps.’
1. Develop their Love of Books and Stories
If a child love books, the he will love to read. If he loves to read, he will love to learn. Insha’Allah.
This is by far the most important factor in teaching your child to read and if you take nothing else away from this article please take this…
A child who is self-motivated will learn to read, and learn any other skill that they want to learn, much quicker and more easily than a child who is not self-motivated.
If you have to force your child to read, it will be much harder for both of you, take longer, and may even cause your child to dislike reading altogether.
So how can you encourage this self motivation?
There are several ways that you can nurture a passion for reading in your children.
– Read to your 4 year old
Set aside time everyday to regularly read aloud to your children. Make that time special for them. Cuddle up under a blanket by the fire, drink hot chocolate or just let her sit on your lap. She should look forward to that time with you. Make it magical. Give her your undivided attention, full of your love and affection, and read her incredible stories that will feed her imagination.
– Surround them with books
Fill your home with as many books as you can afford. There should be a small collection of books in every room for your children freely to look at.
If you have space, you may even make a little ‘reading nook’ for your home, a specially designated space, used only for reading and enjoying books.
However you decide to implement this principle, it will teach your child to give importance to books, and thereby give importance to learning and seeking knowledge.
– Take a regular field trips
Trips to libraries and other places of knowledge can show your kids that your family’s passion for reading is not in isolation, but there are many like minded people who share your enthusiasm. When they see other children excited by books, they will join in!
STEP 2: Turn Off the TV
If your television is on all day, the books will most likely be left on the shelves. Not only is TV highly addictive for small children, becoming a bad habit that is hard to break, but it will also teach them that the TV is important; and more worryingly, that what the TV says is important!
There are many benefits to turning off the TV, but the most relevant to this article is that it WILL cause your children to read more. I have seen it in my own home. With no other distractions, children will pick up the books you have put in each room and read for fun.
My children do have restricted daily screen-time, but I work hard to make sure that the TV and other devices are off for most of the day.
So, even if you can’t remove the television completely, try to at least restrict how much TV they watch. Limit the hours that the television is put on, and keep it off the rest of the time.
STEP 3: Buy the right books!
If you feel your child is ready to start learning to read (often referred to as Reading Readiness) you will need to invest/borrow some books to help you to begin.
The first thing you will need is a ‘Primer.’
We have used the Primer: The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Wise and Buffington
Another highly recommended alternative is
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
A primer teaches the rules of reading, beginning with the phonetic sounds of each letter. It then progressing to blending, through to difficult multi-syllabic words.
By the time your child finishes one of these primers, you can be completely confident that they can tackle any other book out there.
Although the books above are printed in the U.S. they are suitable for children in the U.K.
Once your child has learnt the sounds of the letters, they can also begin reading short books called ‘Easy Readers’, whilst continuing the later lessons in the primer.
For the early stages I would recommend the easy readers: Bob Books First!
Read With Biff, Chip And Kipper
Having progressed through one of these box sets you can move onto more challenging readers. There are many sets and curriculum available that you can follow if you wish.
My advice would be to choose books according to your child’s interests rather than following a rigid curriculum.
Whether its fairies, cars, horses or monsters, there are a multitude of easy readers available to buy online and borrow from the library.
Do not worry that you are not completing every book in the series, or reading them in the correct order, because if you are working through a primer, then your child will not miss any of the ‘rules’ they need to know.
What is more important at this stage is that they continue to love reading and books, and the act of reading does not become a chore to them.
After the ‘Easy Reader’ stage they can read anything they want to, with some guidance from Mum!
Related: Day in the Life | What Homeschooling is REALLY LIKE!
Further Book Recommendations
For more comprehensive reading lists, ordered by age, ability and topic, I would recommend Honey for a Child’s Heart
by Gladys Hunt.
If at any point your child seems to loose interest, just take a break for a few weeks.
Pinterest is full of fun activities for you to do with your child to improve her reading skills without opening up a book. She will be learning to read without realising it!
On those days when the kids are sick, or they just don’t want to cooperate, we love using Reading Eggs, an online reading programme full of games and songs.
Related: Full review of the Reading Eggs programme HERE!
At this young age it is vital that you remain flexible and take a relaxed approach to teaching reading. Make it enjoyable and have fun!
So that How to Teach your Four-year-old to READ in 3 Easy Steps!
Of all three steps it is step one, instilling a love for books, that is the most important.
Without it you will face a constant struggle with your child, in an effort make them cooperate and do something they have no desire to do. If they love books, they will want to read.
Please leave me a comment below and tell me how you are teaching your children to read. What resources have you used? What are some of your children’s favourite books?
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