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How to Teach Kids to Read and Write

By Matthew Schirm ; Updated June 13, 2017

As a parent, you are responsible for helping your kids learn to read and write. These are essential skills that affect how well they perform in school and will help them land lucrative jobs as an adult. You can take steps to teach your kids how to read and write proficiently beginning when they are very young. This will help prepare them for preschool and kindergarten so they don’t fall behind.

Teaching Kids to Read

Sing the alphabet song with your child often when she is a toddler. Encourage her to sing it without your help.

Show your child alphabet flashcards and ask him to tell you the letters on them. If he can’t name a letter on any particular card, tell him the correct answer so he begins to associate the letters with their appropriate written forms.

Make or purchase cards with a picture on one side and the word naming the picture on the other. Show your child the picture, ask him to name it, then turn the card around and say the word naming the picture, moving your finger from left to right under the word as you read it.

Write a word on a piece of paper. Read the word to your child and have her repeat it. Then ask her to make the beginning, middle and ending sounds of the word individually. Help her understand that vowels can represent a variety of sounds.

Read age-appropriate books to your child and have him sound out the words. Assist when he needs it, but let him read as much as possible without help. Use progressively more difficult books as he gets older.

Teaching Kids to Write

Demonstrate how to hold a pencil properly, pinching it between your index finger and thumb, with your middle finger on the side. Give the pencil to your child and have her try to hold it correctly.

Draw figures on a piece of paper, including a circle, cross, diagonal line, horizontal line, vertical line and more. Have your child trace over your figures, then make the same figure off to the side.

Write the letters of the alphabet in uppercase form. Ask your child to trace the letters, then make the same figure on his own. Repeat this process with lowercase letters.

Write a sentence or paragraph with perfect capitalization and punctuation. Have your child trace over your writing, then copy the sentence or paragraph farther down on the page.

Ask your child a question and have him write the answer on a piece of paper. Make him correct any writing mistakes he makes.

Tips

Learning to read and write takes a long time for kids. Enjoy the process, and remain patient with your child if she doesn’t make quick progress at any given time.

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