Reading is one of the most basic skills that every child needs to master as they progress through school. The earlier your child learns to read, the easier it’ll be for them to keep up with their lessons at the preschool level and higher. Around the 2 year mark seems to be a reasonable time to teach children the fundamentals of reading, so most parents start from there.
Teaching a 2-year-old to read is a lot easier said than done. It requires a great amount of planning, patience, and initiative on your part to teach your toddler how to read small words. The key here is to take it one step at a time and approach reading as a fun activity for your toddler rather than a task.
It’s never a good idea to push your child into learning something new if they’re simply not ready. This is especially true for a skill as important as reading. You want your child to be fully committed and enthusiastic about learning how to read. If they’re not willing to sit down for lessons, don’t force them to do so. Instead, go the extra mile and make the learning process enjoyable for them.
Reading is not something that children pick up naturally, and you’ll have to work at honing this skill at home before your child starts schooling. However, following a few simple tips and tricks should get you on the right path towards teaching your 2-year-old how to read properly.
Tips On Teaching A 2 Year Old To Read
In this section, we’ll explore the best methods you can follow at home to teach your 2-year-old how to read. Some of these tips are easier to follow than the rest, but they’re all very effective at developing your child’s reading skills at home. These tips aren’t listed in any particular order, and you can start with whichever one would work best for your toddler.
Know The Aspects Of Reading
Before you teach your child to read, you’ll first need to understand the skills that are involved in teaching children how to read. Different aspects of reading involve vocabulary, comprehension, phonics, and more. Once you have a fair idea of what each aspect entails, you’ll be able to tackle reading from different angles to teach your child well.
For instance, if you read to your child often and find that they have trouble remembering the meanings of different words, you’ll have to work on their vocabulary. If you try making them read and discover that they read the words out loud all wrong, you’ll need to work on their phonics.
Alternatively, if they can read words properly and understand what they mean but can’t make sense of the story as a whole, you’ll need to work on their comprehension.
If your child has ticked the boxes of vocabulary, phonics, and comprehension, you can work on their fluency. Working on their fluency entails helping them read a chunk of text out loud without hesitation and with the right pronunciation.
Now that we’ve briefly discussed the different aspects of reading, let’s explore how you can teach your 2-year-old to read before they begin preschool.
Read To Your Child
While it may take time for your child to master reading, there’s no reason you can’t start reading aloud to them as early as possible. After all, what better way could there be to get your 2-year-old interested in books? Now, we don’t mean that you should start by reading out educational books to toddlers.
You can start with simple bedtime stories and work your way up for them. If your toddler grows restless when you read to them and would rather spend their time playing (as most toddlers would), you could consider purchasing a storybook with illustrations. Illustrations in bright, warm colors are sure to intrigue your child and get them curious about the stories contained in a book.
Children that enjoy being read to are often those that grow up to be voracious readers. Therefore, reading aloud to them during the day between play sessions or before bedtime can get them interested in reading. And you know how 2-year-olds are – they want to do everything by themselves.
So it won’t be long before they grab the book right out of your hands and try to make sense of the letters on the page to read the story without your help. Besides, reading to your child helps them pick up on new words quicker since books contain better language than that you likely speak at home.
To help your child feel more involved in your reading sessions, you could invite them to choose which book you’ll be reading online or from a library.
Work On Phonemic Awareness
Phonemic awareness is a key skill that allows toddlers to recognize even the smallest units of the sounds made when pronouncing alphabets. Without great phonemic awareness, it’s not easy – or even possible – to teach your child how to read. This skill also helps them improve their phonics.
There are many ways in which you can teach your toddler about phonic awareness, the foremost of these is having them listen to phonic songs and phonic rhymes. These songs and rhymes are usually a part of phonic toys. Do you know those toys that make different sounds as you press different buttons on them?
These toys greatly help develop phonemic awareness in toddlers, which lays the foundation for their reading skills. Another way you can nurture this skill in your child is to pronounce words more slowly or break up words into their component syllables. If you pronounce each sound in a word slowly, your child will find it easier to identify sounds while reading.
The key to improving phonemic awareness among young children is explaining to them the link between letters and sounds. In understanding the underlying concept behind reading, your child will be able to pick up reading fairly quickly. If you’d like your child to master this skill before you start reading to them, you could use programs online specially designed for the same.
Practice Sight Words
There are many books and programs out there that can teach your child about sight words. However, the drawback with using these resources is that they encourage your child to rememorize sight words rather than learn them. While memorizing is a key learning skill, it’s not the most effective method of teaching toddlers new concepts.
Sight words are those words that cannot be memorized easily because they all sound quite different from each other (unlike rhyming words). These words are used very frequently in speaking, writing, and reading. A few examples of sight words are does had, you, to, am, etc. As you can see, there’s nothing about these words that makes them stand out, rather they’re words that blend into a block of text.
Sight words are so named because they’re words that should be recognized on sight. Your child shouldn’t be spending too much time trying to read these words; they should identify them right away and move on to the next words in a word or sentence. If your child isn’t able to read sight words easily, it’ll be very difficult for them to read fluently.
Since sight words are found in every piece of text, you’ll likely have plenty of resources on hand to teach your toddler these words. Besides, since many of these words consist of no more than 2 or 3 letters, it shouldn’t be too difficult to introduce them to 2-year-olds. There are several books for toddlers available online that have activities and games focused on teaching sight words, so you can check these out as well.
Make Some Flashcards
You can use plain sheets of colored chart paper to make flashcards for your 2-year-old to help them learn simple words of less than 3 letters. To make this activity a more interactive experience, consider asking your child to help you make these flashcards. You can use colored pens, glitter, and even stickers to make this activity more fun for them.
Once the cards are ready, ask your child to pick a card and attempt to read the word written on it. Help them put if they’re finding it difficult to read and keep practicing until they get it right. You could even ask them to pronounce each syllable in the word slowly, so they understand the sound each letter is supposed to make.
This essentially builds on their phonic skills, which is the precursor to reading successfully. Remember that teaching your child the names of the alphabet is not as important as teaching them how each letter sounds. Therefore, pronouncing the syllables in each word will prove to be more useful here than simply teaching them the alphabet.
The best part about using flashcards is that you can use them over and over again every day until your child can read them all confidently. Ideally, your flashcards should cover all the words that are used often in daily conversation and sight words. Introduce words that are more than 3 letters long only when you’re sure your child is comfortable reading them.
Play Word Games
Playing word games is one of the most fun ways in which you can teach your little one to read. These games should consist of simple words that your child has heard before in daily conversation. A good word game requires your toddler to pay close attention and recognize the different sounds in each word you give them.
Word games aim to encourage your child to identify the link between alphabets and sounds. So, these games are sort of an exercise in improving phonics. A good example of a word game is one in which you give your child a word and ask them which alphabet it starts and ends with.
To make word games more fun and challenging, you could focus on rhyming words. You could give your child a word like ‘hat’ that has many rhyming words and ask your child to list these rhyming words.
After your child has come up with all the rhyming words, make up a short poem or story using all these words to amuse your child. This will not only teach your child to recognize similar sounds but also nurture their imagination and encourage them to think out of the box.
To conclude, the tips and tricks we’ve listed out provide an outline for the activities you could come up with to teach your child how to read. Reading is not a particularly difficult skill to master, but it’s not a skill that can be learned overnight either. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to confine reading lessons to a classroom alone.
You should help your child navigate the basics of reading whenever you can at home to set down a strong foundation for preschool. The tips we’ve discussed above will also come in handy after your child begins their journey with formal schooling. After all, most kids don’t read entire blocks of text before they complete first grade, at the very least.
If you’d like to use some online resources that help in teaching a 2-year-old to read, you could check out this program that has helped scores of children learn to read from the comfort of their homes. The mini-series included with the program contains several useful tips on teaching toddlers how to read before preschool.
The program also includes a free subscription to a newsletter that features expert advice on helping young children to read. This learning resource is of the highest quality, which is apparent in the hundreds of positive reviews it has received from satisfied parents. However, if you give this program a shot and are unhappy with it, you’re entitled to receive 100% of your money back within 60 days of purchase.