Reading is an important step in our children’s education because it opens up the door to limitless learning opportunities. Our goal in teaching reading is to put our children in contact with many living ideas with which to nourish their minds!
With that in mind, we need to convey to our children not only the mechanics of reading but also the enjoyment and delight that reading a great book brings.
Some children learn to read easily while others struggle. Cultivating a love of books is crucial for all children, but especially so for struggling readers. To that end, we can provide them with a rich auditory environment through reading aloud to them and listening to audiobooks.
As to the mechanics of reading, learning to read is part of a natural progression of language skills that develop in a specified order. It begins when we are first learning to talk. As speaking skills develop, children often begin narrating which expands their comprehension. Once children are able comprehend language and develop some of the finer nuances of spoken language (like rhyming and sequencing), they are ready to learn to read (on average about 6 years old).
Teaching a child to read is an activity that often seems shrouded in mystery as very few parents remember being taught to read themselves. However, as long as you wait until a child is developmentally ready to learn, most of the time it is relatively easy to teach a child to read. For a free breakdown of how you might teach a child to read without purchasing any curriculum see: Part 5 Chapters 4-6 of Home Education Volume 1. You can also choose one of the curricula listed below.
Once the child is reading, he slowly progresses to reading more and more difficult books on his own. At the same time, he can also continue to benefit from being read to and audiobooks, especially for books that are above his reading level but not his comprehension level. Some form of narration should also be included each day, as this is how we build language comprehension, memory, and auditory processing skills.
Hooked On Phonics: Learn to Read K-2nd Grade Deluxe Edition — a traditional approach to reading
CapIt Learning — works amazingly well for all children, including those with dyslexia and other learning disabilities
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons — book breaks down teaching reading into basic easy steps that works well for traditional learners.
Project Read (the manual is sufficient) — a curriculum specifically recommended for those with dyslexia but also works well for all learners
Early Reader Booklist — a list of books for early readers that our children have enjoyed