Teaching My Son to Read

Updated on June 10, 2011
S.C. asks from South Dartmouth, MA
14 answers

i am interested in starting to teach my just turned 5 year old how to read but im not sure where to begin. we have lots of those easy reader books and he' s been in nursery school for two years so he knows his letters and everything. should we just be reading these books or try flashcards or anything else??? he seems very interested in the idea so i'm trying to go with it, i'm just not sure where to go! just looking for some suggestions of what worked for you!

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answers from Richmond on

Start by reading to him! I've been reading to my daughters since they were infants. Sometimes, when I'm too busy to read RIGHT NOW, they'll go pick up a book they're already familiar with and muddle through it, because the words are familiar. Now, my 5 and 7 year old (okay, sibling rivalry played a role here, the 5 year HAS to do what the 7 year old does) are both reading chapter books, at about a 4 to 5th grade reading level. It all begins with you reading to the child :) HAVE FUN!!

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answers from Nashville on

I have a son who just turned 5 this past weekend. He is really interested in learning to read, so much so that he asked me to sign him up for a reading tutor who tutors his cousins so for the past month and for this summer he is going to a reading tutor and he loves it. Before he officially started tutoring, the tutor would give me activities for him to practice with including objects that are 3 letter words he can sound out and he needs to put the letters together to make the word. For instance, cat, hat, rat etc. He needs to know what sounds all of these letters make and then he can put them together into a word. I purchased the BOB books for my son which are simple sentences that contain mostly words he can sound out, but he doesn't like them because he says they are weird -- too simple. He wants to be able to read the level 1 readers which are really too hard for a beginning reader. You can either buy or make cards with letters on them and start having him put together words that he sounds out with the sounds of the letters. Soon enough he will be able to put them together in sentences if he doesn't already know.

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answers from Houston on

You can get reading workbooks at any store like Walmart or Walgreens or even ToysRUs. They are really good and very age appropriate. I think they start off w/letter recognition, then sound recognition (what sound does "dog" start w/?) and then eventually rhyming words and site words (the, a, in, was, of, etc). My son has been in preschool the past 3 years but in the summer I've always used these workbooks.

gl! hope your boy has a great summer.

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answers from St. Louis on

I have two readers now (both were reading on their own at age 4 and 4.5), and the best thing I can tell you is simply read to him, and a lot! But, don't push it. If he seems uninterested one day, just don't read at that time and pick back up the next day.

Reading to them, letting them turn the pages and making funny noises/voices as you read - all these things allow them to really get into the story and be involved. I also ran my finger along under each word as I read. He will eventually catch on!

Good luck! Such a fun stage! =)

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answers from Austin on

He just turned 5 and knows his letters, he is doing great!

Does he recognize the letters by sight? Does he know the sounds they each make?
He may already know how to read. Do you have the BOB books? Have you let him read them by himself?

If you do not have the first set, check them out at the library. He may surprise you. I actually purchased the first set and on the way home in the car, our daughter read all of them, I turned the car around and exchanged that set for the second set! I had no idea she could read and neither did she!

I personally hate flash cards. My dad used them with me and they made me totally stressed. To see the pile of all the "missed and wrong cards" was upsetting.. But to sit and be read to and asked, "what is the first letter in this word?, What sound does it make? , seemed like more fun.

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answers from Dallas on

Start by matching the letters to the sounds they make. Once this is mastered, work on putting two together. /a/ plus /n/ says an, for example. 'An' is a great place to start since you can put lots of letters in front and make lots of words. Get plastic letters and physically move them around on the table. Having your child see, hear, say, and touch the letters will really help him retain the information. Starfall.com is a fantastic website that will let him interact with the letters. Make it fun and DON'T push him. If he feels frustrated it could set him back when he starts school.
D. (former kindergarten teacher)

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answers from New York on

My son who just turned 5 years old has started reading two-three letter words. It's great. We don't do it every day since I don't want to stress him out. He's got an idea how vowels sound (long, short). I created flash cards. My suggestion is not to get overly involved in this since he'll be doing this in kindergarten. A friend who did the same thing said her daughter got bored in kindergarten since she knew her letters and numbers ahead of time. It also depends on the school he'll be attending.

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answers from Daytona Beach on

my son is 4, and he is reading already. i can't take the credit as he was also in preschool since he was 3 p/t and then 4 he went for free VPK. anyways, they start off with phonics of the letters. how they sound. once you know how they sound then you can start off with flashcards of the sightwords (the, a, as, and, you, was, have, has, he, she, him, her, to, it, is, if, of, etc.) once they know that then you can start with reading. most children can't read until they get into kindergarden. check out the website www.starfall.com. it has the reading rules on there also. Like "silent e at the end of the word make o a long sound", and such. it's very helpful. they use it in kindergarden and preschool. my son does the rookie readers like "Rain, Rain," "Please, Wind?", "Hello, Sun", "Paul the Pitcher" "Hot Rod Harry", etc. they have repetitive words and a word list in the back. You can read a page, and then your son can read a page. Run your finger under the words so that he can follow along as you read.


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answers from Jacksonville on

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

I used it with both my kids. They were younger than your son is (neither were 4 yrs yet) and they didn't know many of their letters yet, but they didn't NEED to know the names of the letters to be able to learn the sounds they make.
The book breaks down every every sound and teaches them one at a time, and gives YOU word for word instructions on what to say (and NOT say) to your child as you go through the lessons. Each daily lesson takes 30 minutes or LESS (the earlier lessons are shorter) and you can probably do two lessons per day in the beginning since your child is older and interested. My daughter did 2 a day and she was only 3.5 yrs at the time. When you get farther along in the book (lesson 30 or so?) it might be better to revert to one lesson per day.

HIGHLY recommend it.
If you would like more info, PM me. My kids were reading chapter books with comprehension by the time they completed this book (100 days of lessons plus days off, sooooo 5 months?).



answers from Boston on

We spend a lot of time at the library.... so we get a variety of books. Some beautiful picture books just for the enjoyment of the stories and their illustrations.... some because they're on a topic my kids love (like their favorite animals)... and some to help them learn to read. Don't make reading seem like so much work that he doesn't enjoy it!!

My 4-year-old twins LOVE Dick & Jane. They're really great confidence-boosters, because they learn a new word on each page. And it's great for teaching them some of the sight words. Not so great for phonics though.

The Elephant & Piggie books, and Piggy & Dad books, were big hits with all my kids too. And don't forget about Dr. Seuss!



answers from Providence on

I agree with Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Great book.



answers from New London on

You need to teach your child the sounds of the letters.
Vowels make long and short sounds. Once your child know
all the sounds, start with simply three letter words And short stories.


answers from New York on

See if he like the website learntoreadfree. If he likes it great, if he doesnt don't push it. It looks boring to me but my son really likes it.



answers from Boston on

My kids really liked the Letter Factory videos where they teach you the sounds of the letters (they're by Leapfrog). After they knew the sounds the letters make I got the BOB books - they were a great starter and they were so proud when they could actually read a whole book by themselves it gave them the confidence to do harder books.

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