Teaching a Toddler to Read

My little one will be 2 1/2 in a couple of weeks. She loves it when I read to her, telling stories and playing like any normal toddler. I’m focusing in more on teaching her the basic necessities of life: reading, counting, being polite, sharing, etc., etc. Not at all an easy task. I must say she does catch on quick which makes things nice. It is hard though to “teach” anything to a person with an extremely short attention span.

Lately, I’ve been singing the alphabet song to her in English and Spanish while signing the letters to her at the same time. She tries to mimic the signs and I hope that this will impress in her brain which letters in both spoken languages go with each sign. I have yet to work with her on individual letter sounds though. She seems to get bored very quickly looking at something written so I’m trying to find new ways to change it up a bit so she learns to recognize the letters by thinking it’s a game. I, though, am not a creative person.

We have an eye level alphabet chart taped to her bedroom door that has babies on it so she likes to play with that sometimes. She can recognized her name, first and last, when it is spelled out. I read to her daily in both English and Spanish. Both my husband and I have been trying to teach her how to recognize words when they are spelled out loud. Recent words we’ve used frequently are I-C-E C-R-E-A-M, G-U-M-M-I-E-S, and P-O-P-C-O-R-N. You can tell why we spell these out in front of her. Of course once she figures out what they are we are sunk, but good for her I say.

One tip I did read was that in teaching a child the letter sounds we need to be very careful not to add an “-uh” sound to the end of consonants. Such as the letter s; it is “sssss” not “suh”. The other example given was the word cat. If you teach the sounds as “kuh”, “aah”, and “tuh” the word will not come out sounding like cat when the child begins to read.

There are basic things that we all need to do as parents –

– Read to your child every day; even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes. Every impression we make now will last a lifetime.

– Talk to your children all the time. Not just discipline and giving direction, but play with them or ask them how their day was. Children learn by mimicking what adults around them do and say. They are sponges and pick up everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, around them.

– Be affectionate. When a child feels that he/she is loved there is no anxiety there to block their ability or desire to learn.

I am no psychologist or even an experienced mother, but in viewing successful families I’ve gleaned a lot of useful tidbits. Do that yourself. It is amazing the things you can learn.

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