Helping Your Child to Read

As you help your child to read, you may find it to be rather challenging. In light of this, Here are some strategies that may help you as you help your child to read. Learning to read is not only the decoding of the text, it also involves writing to help solidify the process of learning to read.

Click on each topic to learn more.

Phonemic Awareness

Phonics is knowing that sounds and letters have a relationship. In other words, it is the link between what we say and what we read and write. Learning the sounds of each letter helps to identify that there is a relationship between the individual sounds, spoken language and the letters of the written language. The following are some strategies that address Phonemic Awareness:

  • Naming Letters

  • Identifying upper case an lower case letters

  • Singing the Alphabet Song

  • Play “I Spy” with a book. “I spy with my little eye the letter “s”. The child then points out every letter “s”.

  • Forming letters with materials such as: sand, dough, flour, crafts

  • Stamping letters using sponges or stamps

  • Modeling when reading with the child

  • Identifying letter and letter sounds with objects. This is an apple. Apple start with “a”, “ahh-pple.” What letter does apple start with? What sound does the letter “a” make?

  • Color pictures that start with that sound

  • Letter puzzles

  • Letter magnets used on a cookie sheet organizing the letters into the alphabet

  • Worksheets

  • Tracing letters

  • Computer games and activities

  • Reading to the child

  • Write, draw, and/or color the alphabet


Each letter has its own sound. In decoding, individual letter sounds are blended together in order to sound out the word. The following are some strategies to encourage decoding:

  • When reading, track each letter and sounding out each letter at the same time. Then track the whole word while sounding out the letters. Ending with the pronunciation of the whole word. (Eg: “c" “a” “t”.....“ccc-aaa-ttt”.....“cat”). Have the child practice what you have just modeled.

  • When practicing, speed up the letter, sound, word tracking. Concluding with, emphasizing the word.

  • Build a word using magnets on a cookie sheet

  • Draw a picture of the word and label the picture with the word.

  • Letter beads. Get letter beads and have the child create the word by stringing the letters onto the string.

  • Read to and with the child

  • Write, draw, and/or color the word

  • Write the word in a sentence

Sight Words

Increase a child's familiarity with the high frequency words they will encounter. The following are some strategies that address Sight Words:

  • Play “I Spy” with a book. “I Spy with my eye the word “the”. The child then points out all of the words that spell “the”.

  • Label items in a room to create a print rich environment.

  • Have the child write sentences.

  • Have the child create a journal.

  • Flash cards

  • Make a grade appropriate list of high frequency words for the child to read.

  • Use dry erase board to spell high frequency words.

  • Using magnetic letters on a cookie sheet, spell out a high frequency word leaving one or two letters out. The child then has to figure out what the missing letters are so they can place it into the blank(s).

  • Use an index card to cover up the word. Then reveal it one letter at a time. Have your child name each letter and sound as it is uncovered.

  • Word Wall- provide a wall with post its or index cards and post high frequency words.

  • Play the game “Concentration”. Write or print each word on two cards, shuffle, and lay face down to play.

  • Word Search

  • Read a book and make cards for the words that your child recognized.

  • Sight word cups-Write different sight words on the top of each paper cup and hide a pom pom, snack, or object under the cups. The child must be able to say the word in order to lift up the cup. As they are able to say the word on the top of the cup, they may collect the objects.

  • Use play dough to spell out the high frequency word.

  • Worksheets

  • Computer games and activities

  • Reading to/with the child

  • Write, draw and/or color the sight word


Reading accurately, smoothly, with good phrasing, intonation, and expression. The following are some strategies that address Fluency:

  • Picture Walk-before reading, go through the book beginning to the end looking at the pictures to predict what the story will be about.

  • Have the child listen and read along with an audio book.

  • Model reading (what the text should sound like)

  • Echo Read-read aloud first then have the child read the same text back to you.

  • Pair Read-read aloud the text together.

  • Act out the story

  • Depending on the level of reader, text can be read by sentence or by passage.

  • Repeated reading-having the child read the same text more than once.

  • Discuss/define vocabulary before reading.

  • Have the child write a story and have them read it aloud.

  • Computer activities and programs


Making sense of words that are being read. The following are some strategies that address Vocabulary:

  • Have conversations with your child

  • Involve your child in activities that may provide new vocabulary (gardening, cooking, etc.)

  • Talk about the story that was read

  • Use “larger” words in everyday conversation

  • Have the child keep track of new words with a journal or index cards

  • Discuss words that the child may not know/understand

  • See It, Say It, Write It-when a child comes across a word they “see” that they don’t know, pronounce it or “say” the word for the child. Have them “say” it, then write it down. (Have them keep a list, journal, or index cards of the new vocabulary words.) By writing it down, they will “see” the word again.

  • Have the child draw a picture of the word’s definition.

  • See if the child can “take a guess” at the definition of the word by using clues in the sentence(s) or paragraphs.

  • Provide a Word of the Day

  • Write a sentence using the vocabulary word


Understanding what is read. The following are some strategies that address Comprehension:

  • Background Knowledge: Activate background knowledge or experiences the child may have about the topic or subject. Children connect background knowledge with new knowledge. Therefore, the more experiences they have, the easier it will be to connect new Knowledge.

  • Prediction: Have the child predict what they think the story will be about. Have them make predictions based on the title, illustrations, and the author of the book. As the child reads the book, have them predict what they think will happen next.

  • Summarizing: Have the child explain what they read in their own words. They can tell you, write it down, act it out, draw a picture, make an analogy, list it in steps, and/or make a Storyboard.

  • Questioning: Have the child ask any questions they had about the text, their reactions to it, and the author’s purpose for writing it.

  • Visualizing: Making mental images to help understand what is read. Graphic Organizers can be used to help organize what was read. Examples below:

      • Venn Diagrams (Compare and Contrast/Similar and Different characters, books, subjects, etc.)

      • Storyboards/Chain of Events

      • Who, What, When, Why, How

      • Story Map

      • Sequencing

Venn Diagram

Storyboard/Chain of Events

Who, When, When, Why, How

Story Map