Teach Your Child to Read

Read about the different approaches to teaching reading and learn which methods are most effective.  Improve your child’s vocabulary and comprehension.

Many parents are researching how to teach kids to read online these days.  And although it’s easy to find tips for teaching children to read, there are differing opinions about the best ways to do it. 

You might already be aware of phonics, but did you know that there are different approaches to teaching phonics and that some systems are more effective than others?  For example, what is synthetic phonics and how does it differ from analytic phonics? 

The information in this section will help you decide which method is most suitable for teaching your child to read at home.  We also provide guidance about improving your child’s vocabulary and comprehension.

Please see the descriptions below for information about each article.

How Can I Teach My Child to Read?

This article outlines the four main methods used for teaching children to read, including the different approaches to phonics instruction.

Is Phonics the Best Way to Teach a Child to Read?

Here, you can look at some of the research comparing the effectiveness of phonics with other types of reading instruction.  You can also find out the best way to teach phonics according to the evidence.

Should I Be Teaching My Child to Read Whole Words?

This approach encourages children to learn words as whole units rather than focussing on the letters. 

A number of infant reading programmes use this method and some teachers get children to learn so-called ‘sight words’ this way.  Find out what the research says about the effectiveness of this method.

Phonics vs Whole Language

Whole Language was the preferred method of reading instruction in many schools until relatively recently.  Although there is now a greater emphasis on phonics, many teachers still use Whole Language strategies.  Learn about the potential benefits and drawbacks of this approach…

Can Children Teach Themselves to Read?

Supporters of native reading believe children don’t need formal instruction and can pick up the rules of written language in much the same way as they learn to understand spoken language.  You can read our assessment of these claims here…

How to Teach Phonics: a Step-by-Step Guide for Parents and Teachers

Our simple 6-step guide provides you with essential strategies for teaching the most effective type of phonics.  Includes free resources.

Common Objections to Phonics

Phonics is now a central part of reading instruction in most English speaking countries.  However, there are still a number of vocal critics who challenge the benefits of phonics.  You can read our evaluation of some of the common objections in this article.

Does Phonics Help With Reading Comprehension?

Some critics say that phonics instruction can hinder a child’s ability to understand written text.  Find out if there’s any truth to this claim…

Reading Comprehension Basics

Find out the essential things you need to do if you want your child to develop good comprehension skills.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

There are a number of specific reading comprehension strategies that have been shown to be effective in classroom studies.  We explain how you can use these with your child at home.

How Can I Improve My Child’s Vocabulary?

Developing a wide vocabulary is really important for good reading comprehension and it’s also vital for understanding the concepts in a wide range of academic subjects.  Learn about some simple tactics you can use to help your child learn new words.

Word Mapping

Learn how to improve children’s vocabulary using word maps as graphic organizers.  See a variety examples and blank word map templates.  Free to download.

Should I Teach Sight Words?

Numerous articles on the internet stress the importance of teaching sight words to beginning readers.  But what are sight words and are they really so important?  Should you teach them to your child and if so, what’s the best way to do this?

What Are the Best Books for Beginning Readers?

Find out the sorts of books your child should be reading and which ones are best avoided.  We also discuss how you can give your child the support they need when they are reading.

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