Reading is an important skill for all students to learn. It is
essentially the basis of nearly all learning, and a basic requirement
to progress in life. However, for students just beginning to explore
reading, it can be an intimidating process. By building a strong
foundation of reading, teachers will be able to help students
to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
1. Teach an appreciation of words
Sharing stories is the easiest way to get students interested
in reading. Whether it is the magic of a fiction story or interesting
new facts, reading opens the door to information.
2. Create language awareness.
Before students can even begin to read, they have to understand
how books work. Show them the proper way to hold a book, how the
story is read from left to right and top to bottom, and use books
with large print to get children accustomed to seeing words. You
can also use worksheets or label objects around the classroom
and the home.
3. Building blocks of ABCs.
The ABCs are an important part of learning to read. Help children to recognize
letters and the sounds that they make through creative methods.
Use printable worksheets that combine the letter with words that
begin with that letter, such as A is for apple, alligator, and
angel. Teach them how the letters can be used to form their name
and simple words.
4. Explain phonology.
When we have a conversation, we pay more attention to the meaning
of the words than how they sound. However, to learn to read, we
must understand the sound. Explain how sentences are made up of
words, and how word order matters. For instance, the sentence
"Cats eat mice" does not mean the same thing if "cats" and "mice"
are switched around. Have students clap out syllables and listen
for rhyming words.
5. Instill phonemic awareness.
Phonemic awareness is the idea that words are composed of sequences
of sounds. Focus on how words are pronounced, focusing on the
constant sounds, as well as long and short vowel sounds. Have
them sound out different words on teacher worksheets and identify
the different sounds in simple words.
6. Share the relationship between sounds and letters.
Once students are aware that words are made of sounds, you can
introduce how each different letter makes a different sound or
sounds. Start with commonly used letters like M or T, which are
more distinct to pronounce.
7. Sound out words.
As students learn that different letters make different sounds,
they can start to sound out small familiar words. Start at the
left of the word, sounding out each letter and gradually blending
them together until they can recognize the word.
8. Teach proper spelling.
As students are beginning to recognize that words are made up
of letters and letters represent sounds, you can start to teach
spelling. Start out with simple words with standard spelling conventions,
words that do not have consonant blends, and words that use the
most common sound that the letter makes.
9. Encourage proper reading.
Have students read or reread favorite stories in class. Ask questions
about books that they have read. Help them to use the context
clues of sentences to sound a word out and figure out what it
10. Read daily.
By encouraging children to read often, they will develop their
own love of books. Get a library card, and teach children how
to check out books. Help them find books in topics in which they
are interested. Like any other skill, the more students read,
the better they will become.