Teach your Three-Year-Old to Read! (It’s easy.)

I have a secret. My three-year-olds read. My four-year-old read on a first-grade level.* This cost-free program can get your child reading too!

Best of all? It’s easy… here’s how.

  1. Read aloud every day.
    6-month-old babies gnaw on board books. One-year-olds look at the pictures (for ten seconds before they run off). Two-year-olds, at least mine, LOVE the snuggle time reading provides. Even my active boy listens well through several stories (although he’s sometimes standing on his head during the process).We want our kids to LOVE books. What better way to teach them to read than to captivate their imaginations? One day, when you read the first chapter in a book, your child will pick up out of curiosity and push him or herself to learn to read–for curiosity and passion’s sake!
  2. Model reading.
    Read your magazines, junk mail, Bible, a fiction book, whatever in front of your littles! Your kids want to be just like you. They emulate you every day. If you are a reader, they will see the value and want to read.
  3. Make the library the BEST THING EVER.
    Talk it up like you’re headed to Disney. Enthusiasm is catching.Let them select their own books; when kids choose their own books, they are taking ownership for their reading and more interested in the selection. I ask, “What do you want to learn this week?” as we peruse the non-fiction books. Then, we find an age appropriate book about natural disasters, outer space or whatever has their curiosity piqued. I generally let mine select a fiction and a non-fiction book.Story hour at the library is a fun and engaging way to teach children to love books.
  4. Watch this ABC video on YouTube over and over…. and over.
    You’ll sing it in your sleep, but your child will know all the consonant and short vowel sounds.In the future, when your child can’t remember what “b” says, you simply begin to sing, “B is for ball…” and the child will finish the song, “/b/, /b/ ball!”
  5. Starfall.com.
    Whoever created this website knew what they were doing. My kids spend hours playing with their online books and games.
  6. Combine letters into words.
    Once your child knows the letter sounds, start combining them into word families. Get on Pinterest, and search for “word family activities.” Click here for a good one by Icanteachmychild. Go to the “Learn to Read” section on Starfall.com.Children learn best with hands-on activities, so pull the Scrabble tiles out of your game or purchase some on Amazon. Make letter tiles from cardstock. Draw letters outside in chalk and have the kids jump on them while saying the sound they make. You get the idea.
  7. BOB books.
    Not necessary, but if you’re willing to spend a little money, purchase a set of BOB books on Amazon.com. They’re inexpensive, yet worth their weight in gold. They start VERY simply and build using the word family concept. Your child can quickly learn to read the first book, and that success motivates them to continue.
  8. Make a big deal about the first word.
    When your child reads his or her first word, no matter how small, make a big deal about it…. for them, and for you. Congratulations, your child is a reader!
  9. When you’re ready for the next step, go here

*My four-year-old girl, that is. My four-year-old boy is a wiggle worm. He was decoding basic words (cat, bob) at three, but it looks like it’s going to be a bit before his focus allows him to grow much further as a reader.

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