To learn how to read, it is necessary to learn the shapes and sounds of the letters, how to decode and blend letter sounds, and how to read sight words. Students should become familiar with exceptions, such as words that do not follow the rules of phonics, to read complex materials successfully. Learning to read requires up to several months, or longer, depending on the student's progress.
- Learn to recognize letter shapes and sounds
Learn the basic shapes and sounds of each letter by studying the alphabet. Phonics learning systems are one method used to learn the sound of each letter. Students should be familiar with the shapes of both upper- and lower-case letters, and should be able to write the letters with practice.
- Practice decoding words
Practice decoding words by blending letter sounds together. Many reading programs begin by teaching students how to decode short consonant-vowel-consonant words, such as "sat" or "dog." Students should also learn the sounds of letter blends.
- Learn sight words and exceptions
Learn sight words and words with spelling exceptions to read longer and more complex words.
- Read often
Learning to read requires frequent practice. Teachers should focus on reading comprehension and retention of the materials after basic reading mastery is achieved.