Teaching Reading Tips for Parents

I have been homeschooling for going on four years now. The first year was more of a yo-yo motion with putting Jimmy in a various range of schools trying to find a school where he could go in our local area to no avail. During us trying to put him into a private school, we found out that he was really behind in his reading skills. Of course, I swore to the teachers he was just nervous and could read a lot better than he was letting on. In order to get him in that private school we had to have him spend an entire summer working on a reading program they recommended.

We did that. This program is called Raz-Kids. Now I swear by this program!! Come to find out Jimmy wasn’t just nervous, he really couldn’t read up to a 2nd grade level. He was more at the in between K-1st grade level.

I ended up devoting 2-3 hours a day with Jimmy that entire summer. The reading tutor gave me some tips to do with him as he was working on this program too.


Teaching Reading Tips

1.)    Find some books that interest them and have them read it to you. Rotate the reading, another words, you read the odd pages and he reads the even or vice versa. If he struggles with the words just help him read them so that he can continue to enjoy reading his favorite books. This way they still maintain their love of reading.

2.)    Use an online program that offers books for you to read online and also print out. Raz-Kids is perfect for this because they actually have the ability to click on the words and have it read to them. Plus they can print out the books and read them to you. They also gain rewards for their efforts too. (There are actually thousands of other programs that also work great too, but this one holds a special spot in my heart because we used it. Plus I just found out our current school also uses it as a part of their programs they work with too. Delbert will be signed up for it at the beginning of next year!!)

3.)    Help him break down the words. I suffer with dyslexia and I can’t learn to read like most people. I had to learn to group sounds together and then create a word. I now teach my kids to group words together. I literally take a particular sound like (ink) and then make a HUGE list of all the words that I can think of that have ink in it. This helps them to sound out the words better. They can also visualize the words that rhyme with the word they are trying to sound out a lot easier too.

4.)    Make them restart the sentence. This trick is vital! If they are reading and come across a word that they can’t read, help them break it down and sound it out. Then once they figure out the word, have them go back to the very beginning of the sentence and read it again. This helps them with confidence, retaining what the story is about, and also with their reading speed too.

5.)    Don’t lose your patience with them. This one is so hard to do. At least it was for me because I’d have to listen to the same sentence so many times over. Plus Jimmy would read slower than a robot. There were also periods of time where he just didn’t want to try.

By using this method, Jimmy went from not only a 1st grade reading level to being able to read ANYTHING and I do mean ANYTHING I give him.

These tips actually sound easy and they truly are. It’s just time consuming. By the end of the summer my boy was able to read easily. It was the most remarkable thing to watch him grow in his independence. His confidence level grew. He now helps with teaching his siblings to read the same way I taught him.

Of course, now I have to watch what he looks at over my shoulder. He’s a little speed reader now too. He also has turned into our household spelling king. He feels like his whole world is opened up to him. He can learn anything that he reads too. It’s just absolutely the most remarkable feeling knowing I helped him get to that point.

What are some tips you’d like to add to this list? 




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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

69 comments on “Teaching Reading Tips for Parents”

  1. These are wonderful tips, Crystal! My 5yo is jealous of my 7yo and wants to learn, I might try this to help start him off before he starts kindergarten 😉

  2. First time hearing about this, but it sounds like a fun way to teach reading. I just remember playing a lot of rhyming games and letter games with my nephew when trying to help him learn how to read. I also incorporate art too – like drawing things that start with a certain letter.

    • Those are some really good ways of teaching reading too. The drawing certain things with letters is a very common way of teaching reading.

    • I didn’t think I’d ever be ready to teach my child to read, but I’m so glad that I’m a part of the process now.

    • I’m glad to know that it works in other families too. I never thought it was that important until I seen a huge difference in my kids reading ability.

  3. What you said about patience is completely true. There’s a lot of waiting involved. Excellent tips here! I like the starting the sentence over tip.

    • There is a lot of patience involved with dealing with kids PERIOD. However, I felt like teaching him to read required more of my patience than anything else I’d done with my kids thus far.

  4. Our youngest is headed to Kindergarten. He is picking out dinosaur books to try to read … I see a lot more dinosaur books in our future!

    • That’s a great thing to have him want to read. Some of those dinosaur names are even hard for me to pronounce.

    • That is a great tip. I find that it makes a huge difference in their desire to learn to read if they get to read something they enjoy.

  5. Patience when teaching reading is essential. They get frustrated, but parents must remain calm and encourage them to continue trying until they learn how to read.

    • If they aren’t reading something that interests them then they aren’t going to care about it.

    • You’re more than welcome. I have tried many programs through the years from Reading Eggs, Head Sprout, Starfall.com, and so many more. I recommend a lot of them all for different reasons, but this program and these tips has by far been the one that WORKED in our home.

    • It is a fundamental skill for sure. I wish my kids learned to read earlier in their lives. My two year old is always asking to be read to, and if she can she has a book in her hand. I can see her little wheels turning as she’s looking at the pages.

    • It’s the most remarkable feeling in the world. It opens so many doors. Now my son and I can share a love of reading together. We can each read the same book now and then have full discussions on it. It’s so wonderful.

  6. Finding books that interest them is huge. My oldest son, who has always been a fantastic reader thankfully, will read a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book from start to finish in just a few hours, but won’t even look at most others.

    • We LOVE the Diary of the Wimpy Kid series! Have you all read the Diary of the Dork series yet?

  7. We make C read an hour a day, she just moans about it every day. I am hoping she snaps out eventually because she really needs to pick it up.

    • I hope that she does snap out of it quickly. I know how frustrating it is when they don’t do that.

  8. The reading program they are doing at my son’s school is amazing and has helped him SO SO much. We let him have a couple of weeks “off” for summer, but we are going to start asking that he read outloud one book every night, and then bump it up to two to keep him on track.

    • That’s a wise idea about having him continue to read over the summer. I’m curious to know which program your school uses. I have found that having a wide range of programs to choose from makes a huge difference too.

    • I love that idea. Shoot I want my own reading nook!! I’d love to have a place to escape to in order to read and watch the birds.

    • It’s good that she has those resources. I don’t know much about autism at all, but I do know that parents state it’s challenging to deal with.

    • I didn’t find out our school did it until the school year was over, but I will be enlisting Delbert in it first thing in August!!

  9. What I found to be quite important with my 7 year old is not to correct her right away.. If she stumbles on a word she usually knows it and will eventually come back to it to get it right. It’s hard sometimes for me to bite my tongue but I’ve learned how empowering it is for her to work it out on her own. She is learning to read in French and English at the same time and somehow manages to keep the tow languages apart and always knows which one she is reading in.

    • That’s a great tip to include. I struggle with that one too, but it does honestly make a world of a difference.

  10. Thank you for the tips. My little ones just turned five. I read to them everyday and we work on letters regularly but they aren’t reading yet. Sometimes I get discouraged as I have some friends who brag about their kids reading and I know they don’t read everyday!! It kills me. I know my little ones will learn, but these tips are helpful. I think it is helpful to remember that pressure and pushing only cause kids to not like reading. We read because it is fun, enjoyable, and we learn things!! I have to take the pressure off me and just enjoy the snuggle time. They will grow out of that too soon!

    • They do grow out of it too soon. Of course, in my case I had to stop my oldest from cuddling because he’s just to big. I still give him loads of hugs though.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the tips. One thing that I’ve learned is that kids all do things in their own time. All of my kids didn’t start talking until they were 3.5 years old. They didn’t really get the full gist of reading until they were 6-7 years old even though they were read too and using Internet programs from an early age. As parents, I do think we strive to “Keep Up With The Jones” in terms of how our kids are doing far more than we realize. At least that’s the case for me. I’m glad you stopped by and commented.

  11. I recommend reading a mix of old and new books, ones that you read growing up and ones that are currently popular

    • I’m glad you found it to be helpful. I know I didn’t know these tips when I was trying to teach my oldest to read, and until I did we were suffering.

  12. Great tips! I am a huge proponent of phonics education. When I was in college we were taught to teach kids with the “whole language approach”. It was horrible and it didn’t give kids tools to decode words. I actually failed my first “teaching reading” because I refused to agree that whole language was best. I later re-took the class with a professor that was pro-phonics and then I got an A.

    • I had to find different methods to teach my kids to read. I’ve got dyslexia so it makes it hard for me to teach my kids to read.

  13. During my teaching internship, I worked with a team of first grade teachers who took me through a wonderful reading instruction program that used much of what you share here. I think context plays a huge part in learning to read. By taking time to look at the pictures and then reading back through the sentence as you suggested, we can then use ‘chunks’ to figure out the words. GREAT tips!


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