Q:

How do you teach a child to read?

A:

Quick Answer

Teach a child to read by delivering logically sequenced, cumulative lessons that introduce individual vowel and consonant sounds, and then combine the sounds to build and blend from individual letters to whole words. In this way, the child experiences success in incremental steps by moving from foundational to more complex skills.

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Full Answer

The idea is to begin instruction by teaching the basic, underlying phonetic structures so the child’s chances of becoming a successful reader are maximized. Also important is frequent assessment to monitor progress and guide lesson planning.

Basic instruction should offer phonemic awareness, which is the ability to identify, manipulate and substitute sounds, along with phonics, which associates spoken sounds with written letters. Examples of phonemic lessons include rhyming, substituting sounds, and identifying initial, medial and final sounds.

After the child has mastered consonant-vowel-consonant combinations, teach a decoding system that enables the learner to sound out new words based on other common spelling patterns. Follow this with the remaining sounds, including digraphs, diphthongs and r-controlled vowels, until the child knows all forty-two sounds in the English language.

Also include lessons in vocabulary and comprehensive, along with syllabication techniques, so the child is able to read words of any length by breaking them into sections and applying previously learned skills. Instruction should also include exercises in reading fluency, which is the ability to read text quickly and accurately.

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