A Foundation for a Lifelong Reader

"Oh, magic hour; when a child first knows she can read printed words!"
Betty Smith
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Reading is one of life's basic necessities. Mastering the beginning reading skills will be the difference between your child being a well read person or someone who is functionally illiterate.

What will become of a child if she can't read? How does one find her way if she can't read street signs? OR make a cake if she can't read the directions? How does one fill out a job application?

As a parent, or guardian, you have great responsibility to see that your child acquires the reading skills that he or she will need to succeed in school and in life.

How do you know when your child is ready to learn?

How soon do you start teaching beginning reading skills?

What do you teach first?

You will find the answers to these questions in the following paragraphs.

Unfortunately, students with a learning or a reading disability, will need more practice than the schools have time for. It is up to you to see that you finish their job.

My favorite author of children's books is Mem Fox. She says this about reading:

"If every parent understood the huge educational benefits and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to children, and if every parent--and every adult caring for a child--read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation."

Children who are having difficulty reading will soon come to hate reading and think it is "stupid" if parents don't show them differently. One way to show your child that reading is important is to mentor reading. Let them catch you reading!

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Here are some questions that can help determine if the child is ready to read.

How is her alphabetic principal?

  • Can she write the letter corresponding to the sound of the letter?

  • Does she want to know how to spell her name?

  • Does she want to know how to write her name?

  • Does she asks to be read to?

  • Is she asking what letters are?

  • Does she want to know what signs say?

  • Or can she tell you what some signs say?


If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then YES, she is ready to start learning to read.

If you have a child that doesn't show much interest in learning to spell, read, or write, then ask yourself these questions:

  • Is big brother always speaking for her?

  • Is this the only child?

  • Are there books in the home?

  • Do the parents read much?

  • Is she being read to?

  • Is her speech delayed?

  • Does she have hearing or speech problem?

  • Does she know her letters and the sounds of letters?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then click on one of these links to help you with some reading activities to help your child start the reading process.


girls on books clip art

Many people have asked me, "HOW OLD SHOULD MY CHILD BE BEFORE I START TEACHING HER READ?" That will vary with each child.

AS SOON AS your child shows an interest in wanting to learn, than begin with these simple beginning reading skills activities.

For those of you who have pre-schoolers who are interested in the computer, there is a wonderful website with games that teach letters as well as animal sounds. It also has searches and lets the pre-schooler create pictures.

In fact, most parents have been helping to develop phonemic awareness in their children and didn't even recognize it as such! For instance remember the rhyme that most of you played with your child "Patty Cake, Patty Cake..."? You've started the first step in the reading process.

I'M EXCITED FOR YOU!! Do you need some help getting started? For a FREE CONSULTATION call Rene at 785-845-1201. Please call between 8am and 10PM CST (central standard time).

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