Homeschoolers Can Teach Their Children to Read No Matter What Age They Are

by on December 24th, 2010
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If you as homeschooling parents are looking for a simple method to teach your children how to read, here’s a great idea I used often when our own family was homeschooling. Even toddlers and preschoolers can learn to read when using this technique and they’ll have a great deal of fun doing it.

The purpose is to teach your children how to sound out the letters on small words (phonics), and how to identify larger words by sight without needing to sound out all the letters (sight words). As they become more proficient with sounding out smaller words, it will be much easier for them to understand how to use that same process with larger words because they’ll already recognize them as sight words. Here’s how it works.

Using only poster board, permanent markers, and scotch tape, you can make your own word cards to teach reading. First, cut your poster board into strips about 2 inches wide. Then cut the strips into various lengths from 6 to 12 inches long. These are your word “cards”. Use the marker to write words on the appropriate sized cards which should be items in your home. (Examples would be “chair”, “stove”, “refrigerator”, or “table”.) Of course, longer words will require longer cards.

When teaching, start with three easier words and tape the correct card to the matching item. With your kids, walk them to each item and show them what the word looks like so they can identify the actual item with the word. Once having done that a number of times, take the cards down, mix them up, and have the kids put them back. They’ll soon associate the word with the item.

The next day, test their memory by having them put the cards back on the items. Once they learn those three, add new words and repeat the process. Each day you should add a few more words to expand their vocabulary. If they get stuck or forget, review the old words but add only one new word. You don’t want to overwhelm them but you do want to keep it interesting so their reading vocabulary continues to grow.

You can also add incentives. Give homemade badges or stickers for every ten words learned, cook a favorite meal, or plan a family popcorn night.

To increase thinking skills, go to the next step. For example, tape the word “chair” on a chair. Later, add the color as a new word. For example, have your child tape the word “chair” but also tape the new word “blue” to the chair. (Use whatever color the chair is.) The word “chair” can be applied to any chair, but when you add the color, it can only be correct if the proper color is added to the right chair.

Personalize this technique to adapt it to your own homeschool. Then enjoy watching your readers blossom.

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