16 answers

Teaching a 4-Year-old to Read

The older of my two beautiful sons turned 4 in April. He is been very interested in being read tp since he was 20 months old. At 2 1/2 he started showing significant signs of pre-reading, like memorizing books so he could finish my sentences. His first year in pre-school he learned to recognize all his letters (all capitals, not lowercase). I had hoped in his second year of pre-school he would make the leap to simple reading, but the school wasn't into pushing one kid faster than the rest, even one who was ready (we moved cities and therefore changed schools, not for the better). But, just this week, I realized he made the next leap on his own, which is sounding out words. Yay!
I want to help him become a good reader, but I realized that I really know nothing about teaching someone, even a four-year-old, how to read. We read with him every day. We put labels up around the house that say "wall" and "door" and "bed" and "crib" etc. But I would like to do more. I would love suggestions of how to help him make the leap into real reading.

A simple request: please don't suggest DVDs or computer games like "My Baby Can Read." It's not our style. Thanks.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for all the encouragement and advice. We haven't bought or borrowed any new materials yet, still just reading with him every day and seeing what he can and wants to sound out. I totally agree--it has to be fun!
Thanks again everyone!

Featured Answers

There are two major "groups" of reading methods. Whole-word & phonics. The "preferred" method for teaching reading has flip-flopped between both for a long time. Personally, I prefer phonics: teaching letter/letter combination sounds by themselves. I think it makes it easier for kids to sound out more difficult words later. You can find phonics worksheets/workbooks online to help you out. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Sounds like you are doing good. Just keep reading to him every day, and let him follow along. No need to push, just support his growing interest and let him lead the way!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Just keep reading to him and with him and it will come naturally.

Take him to the library and check out an array of books. Return them and get new. I feel that by not reading the same thing all the time it exposes them to more words and subjects and they learn the words rather than memorizing them.

3 moms found this helpful

I taught my 4 year old how to read using the book "Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". The book uses phonics and within 60 days my daughter could read any of the simple readers in the book store. FYI... We spent about 15 -20 minutes per day doing one lesson a day. It was actually really fun and my daughter went into kindergarten reading chapter books and to this day she prefers reading a good book to watching TV.

3 moms found this helpful

Have fun, dont make it stressful and he'll be reading in no time. As a teacher i have to remind not to forget talking about the books and stories you read together. Many kids come to kindergarten reading but most of them cant answer questions about the books or discuss them in any way, so the teachers call that decoding and memorizing without comprehension. Start right now asking him which books he likes best and why? after reading a story to him ask him to tell or show you his favorite part.. model linking the book to your own life "that reminds me of when we got our pet" or "that reminds me of when we took a trip"

3 moms found this helpful

There are two major "groups" of reading methods. Whole-word & phonics. The "preferred" method for teaching reading has flip-flopped between both for a long time. Personally, I prefer phonics: teaching letter/letter combination sounds by themselves. I think it makes it easier for kids to sound out more difficult words later. You can find phonics worksheets/workbooks online to help you out. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Phonetics is the key here.

Read with him, still and talk about word sounds and letter combinations, like vowel sounds (short vowel vs long vowel sounds), or "th" vs. t, "sp" vs s sounds, etc. Ask your local librarian for help on books.

We just starting reading Mercer Mayer books (Little Critter series), and there are 3 levels of readers for his books. The back of the books have fun, easy exercises for beginning readers of various levels. You might check them out. I'm sure the librarian can recommend similar series or titles that can help.

I've heard good recommendations from a couple of people for "Hooked on Phonics" so that might also be a place to look.

1 mom found this helpful

You are doing the right thing so far....you did not say if you are using the library, but I would look for primary, simple books and read them to him, and even take turns with him reading the pages....keep labeling everything, and encourage him to write/spell the labels himself. Have him dicatate stories to you, or a letter to Grandma, and read it back with him.
If it is a story, have him illustrate it. Keep the stories in a special notebook or folder. Take them out from time to time and reread them with him. Read signs when you are in the car.....take advantage of every opportunity. Always ask him to spell words he is not sure of .....encourage him to look for clues in the pictures on the page too....reading takes practice, just like any skill, and fortunately there are loads of books to practice with. Keep reading to him, of course....have him read to you when he has knows a book well. Again, take turns reading the pages. You are doing the right thing.....keep up the good work......

1 mom found this helpful

My youngest son read before starting kindegarten. He and his older brother read in bed every night. Nothing fancy...just read, read, read. He will read on his own when he is ready. I guess I would just keep reading with him, encouraging him to read to you mostly. Help him to learn how to sound out words. I don't think that they use phonics in schools anymore but I think that is the best way to start with.

Good luck...have fun and don't worry about getting him to start reading sooner. Sounds like he is way ahead of his peers anyway. The family reading together instilling a life-long love of reading is want you want to achieve. That he can read is not nearly important as comprehension of what he reads. That might be a great activity to do with him...read and then ask him to tell the story in his own words. Be well, D.

1 mom found this helpful

I know you aren't into computer programs, but my daughter loves playing the "letter game" on www.starfall.com.

Another thing we have is a word whammer, which lives on our fridge. It's from leapfrog, her old daycare lady got it for her for Christmas. She loves it! It helps sound out letters and will either ask her to spell words or will sound them out when she puts letters in.

1 mom found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.