11 Painful Mistakes To Avoid When Teaching Kids Reading

Teaching your child to read can sometimes feel like navigating through a maze, filled with uncertainty and possible pitfalls. The process is more nuanced than simply reciting the alphabet or compiling word lists.

This article will shine a light on 11 common mistakes parents often make in their well-intentioned efforts to guide their young learners into the world of reading.

To ensure your child’s journey is as smooth as possible, keep reading and discover what to avoid when teaching kids how to read.

Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids Reading

Starting too early, before children have developed the necessary phonemic awareness and foundational skills, can hinder their progress in reading.

1. Starting too early

In the process of teaching children to read, many parents jump the gun and begin too soon. While enthusiasm is commendable, beginning your child’s reading education prematurely can lead to frustration and a lack of interest.

Children need a solid foundation in phonemic awareness before they’re prepared to tackle written words successfully. According to the children’s reading milestones guide, children begin to recognize the letters of the alphabet by the age of 3, so teaching reading before this age is generally considered too early.

Patience plays a key role in this important learning phase. Wait until your child shows natural curiosity towards books and letters, as this intrinsic motivation will promote a more positive learning experience overall.

Remember, each child learns at their own pace – there’s no one-size-fits-all timeline for acquiring reading skills.

2. Skipping phonics

One common mistake parents often make when teaching their children to read is skipping phonics. Think of phonics instruction as feeding your child’s mind with the essential basics of the language.

Phonemic awareness and phonics are crucial elements in effective reading instruction for developing kindergarten reading skills.

Neglecting this aspect of reading education can result in struggling readers. Mistaking or misunderstanding how different letter combinations sound can lead to problematic comprehension down the line, even if sight word recognition is high.

In fact, thorough comprehension skills hinge on a sturdy foundation built upon strong phonetic understanding.

Don’t let your eagerness to see quick results cause you to bypass this important component. It may seem an arduous task filled with repetitive activities, but it pays dividends in a child’s literacy journey later on.

Therefore, avoid taking shortcuts when it comes to teaching kids about sounds, rules, and patterns inherent in English letters and words.

3. Ignoring individual interests

One of the key mistakes to avoid when teaching kids reading is disregarding their individual interests. Each child possesses distinctive preferences, and these can play a major role in motivating their learning process.

For instance, if your kid shows an interest in animals, books about different creatures will likely entice them more than those on other subjects.

Ignoring this crucial aspect could lead to reduced enthusiasm for reading, making learning feel like a chore rather than an enjoyable activity. Tailoring lesson planning around your child’s specific interests encourages not only participation but also deep comprehension skills.

It nurtures inherent curiosity that helps children connect with stories and texts on a meaningful level. Striking this balance enhances effective teaching methods while fostering a genuine love for reading from the early stages.

4. Relying solely on textbooks

Many parents make the mistake of relying solely on textbooks when teaching their kids to read. While textbooks can provide structured lessons and exercises, it’s important to remember that reading is a skill that goes beyond what’s written on the pages.

Children need exposure to various types of literature, including storybooks, magazines, and newspapers, to develop a love for reading. They can also benefit from various reading tools, like apps and programs, as well as real-world experiences where they can apply their reading skills in context.

By limiting instruction to textbooks alone, parents miss out on opportunities to engage children in meaningful reading experiences and hinder their overall development as readers.

5. Neglecting read-aloud time

Reading aloud to children is a crucial aspect of their reading development, and neglecting this activity can hinder their progress. Research shows that read-aloud time not only enhances vocabulary and language skills but also promotes a love for books.

When parents skip read-aloud sessions, they miss out on the opportunity to engage with their child, spark curiosity, and expand their imagination.

Other studies have shown that children who are regularly read to develop better listening skills and attention spans. Reading aloud exposes them to new words and sentence structures, helping them build a strong foundation for reading comprehension later on.

Additionally, it creates an enjoyable bonding experience between parent and child.

Incorporating read-aloud time into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complicated – just set aside a few minutes each day or before bedtime. Choose books that align with your child’s interests or introduce them to new genres to broaden their horizons.

6. Lack of consistency

Consistency is key when it comes to teaching kids reading. Without a consistent approach, children can become confused and lose motivation. It’s important to establish a regular routine for reading instruction, whether it’s daily or several times a week.

This helps children develop good reading habits and reinforces their learning.

When parents are inconsistent in their approach to teaching reading, it can create gaps in the child’s understanding of phonics and other foundational skills. Children need repetition and practice to grasp these concepts fully, so consistency is crucial.

Additionally, inconsistency can make it difficult for children to progress effectively in their reading abilities. They need regular exposure to new words and texts to expand their vocabulary and comprehension skills.

If parents only sporadically provide these opportunities, children may not have enough practice or exposure to truly master these skills.

7. Not fostering a love for books

One crucial mistake to avoid when teaching kids how to read is not fostering a love for books. Building a positive relationship with reading is essential for children’s long-term literacy development.

When children develop a genuine interest in books, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in the learning process.

Research has shown that exposure to books at an early age can have significant benefits for children’s language and cognitive skills. By surrounding your child with books and making reading a regular part of their daily routine, you can help create a supportive environment where they feel excited about exploring stories and ideas.

Encourage your child to choose their own books based on their interests, whether it’s dinosaurs, princesses, or outer space. Show enthusiasm and excitement when reading together, using expressive voices and gestures to bring the story alive.

This will instill a sense of joy and anticipation in your child whenever they encounter new words on the page.

8. Putting too much pressure

Putting too much pressure

Putting too much pressure on children when teaching them how to read can have negative consequences. It’s important to remember that every child learns at their own pace, and forcing them to progress quickly can create unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Studies show that a nurturing and supportive approach is more effective in developing strong reading skills. Instead of pressuring your child, focus on creating a positive reading environment by providing engaging materials, celebrating small achievements, and promoting a love for books.

By fostering a relaxed atmosphere, you’ll help your child develop confidence and enjoyment in their reading journey.

9. Overcorrecting mistakes

Overcorrecting mistakes is a common mistake parents make when teaching kids to read. It’s important to remember that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process.

When children are constantly being corrected for every little mistake, it can make them feel discouraged and lose confidence in their abilities.

Instead, focus on providing positive reinforcement and offering gentle guidance when necessary. Encouraging them to keep trying and celebrating their progress will help foster a love for reading and create an environment where they feel safe to explore and learn at their own pace.

10. Neglecting reading comprehension

Many parents tend to focus primarily on decoding skills, such as phonics and sight word recognition when teaching their children how to read. While these skills are important, neglecting reading comprehension can hinder a child’s overall reading development.

Reading comprehension involves understanding the meaning and making sense of what is being read.

Research has shown that children who have strong reading comprehension skills perform better academically in all subjects. Without strong comprehension skills, children may struggle to understand the context, analyze text critically, and make connections between ideas.

To avoid neglecting reading comprehension instruction, it is vital to expose your child to a variety of texts and encourage them to think deeply about what they are reading. Encourage discussions about the story or topic, and ask questions that require more than just simple recall answers.

Additionally, provide opportunities for your child to summarize what they have read in their own words or even act out scenes from a book together. By practicing these strategies regularly with your child, you can help develop their ability to comprehend and engage with written material effectively.

11. Lack of patience and flexibility

Parents often make the mistake of lacking patience and flexibility when teaching their kids to read. It’s important to remember again that every child learns at their own pace, and rushing or getting frustrated can hinder their progress.

Children need time to grasp new concepts and skills, so it’s crucial for parents to be patient during the learning process.

Additionally, being flexible in your approach is key. Every child is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses. What works for one child may not work for another.

By being open-minded and adaptable, you can find alternative methods or strategies that better suit your child’s needs and learning style.


In conclusion, when it comes to teaching kids reading, avoiding common mistakes can make a world of difference. By starting at the right time and utilizing effective strategies like phonics instruction and read-aloud time, parents can set their children up for success.

It’s important to remember that patience, flexibility, and fostering a love for books are key components in nurturing young readers. So let’s steer clear of these 11 mistakes and help our little ones become confident and enthusiastic readers who will thrive academically and beyond.


1. What are some common mistakes to avoid when teaching kids reading?

Some common mistakes to avoid when teaching kids reading include using a one-size-fits-all approach, pushing too hard or expecting rapid progress, neglecting phonics instruction, not providing enough opportunities for practice and reinforcement, and not making reading enjoyable and engaging.

2. How can I prevent my child from getting frustrated with learning to read?

To prevent frustration while teaching your child to read, it’s important to make the process fun and interactive. Incorporate games, activities, and rewards into the learning experience. Break down difficult words into smaller parts and provide plenty of positive encouragement and praise for their efforts.

3. Is it necessary for my child to learn phonics when starting to read?

Yes, learning phonics is crucial for developing strong reading skills in children. Phonics helps them understand the relationship between letters and sounds, enabling them to decode words more easily. It provides a foundation for spelling as well.

4. What should I do if my child is struggling with reading despite my efforts?

If your child is struggling with reading despite your best efforts, it may be beneficial to seek additional support from a qualified tutor or teacher who specializes in literacy development. They can provide targeted interventions tailored to meet your child’s specific needs and help them overcome challenges more effectively.

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